Monday, May 11, 2009

Hello, Land of Lincoln

I'm breastfeeding in the parking lot of a Super 8 in Hampshire, Illinois.

I'm not on the run, or anything. It's a road trip. The first long one with the baby.

We are headed back to Massachusetts and Pennsylvania so that Finn can meet his great-grandparents. We will be visiting with many extended family members as well as Pete's folks.

We left the driveway at 12:41 p.m. and zero miles. I had been thinking that if we left by noon, we would be doing pretty well. The only thing I did not do is vaccuum. A quick stop at the library and a friend's house to drop off a key, and we were off. It only took 4.3 miles before I realized I had forgotten something. The road atlas. Sure, I have a map to cover every inch of our trip, but I like to follow along and I like to flip ahead. But we did not go back. I have the breast pump, and I have the baby.

Packing for a trip with a baby is absurd. I feel like we are bound for the southern hemisphere with all the crap we have. Pete, who packed the car, says it's not that bad, but I wish we had less with us. Still, I think we have less than most people with a baby. I hope. It's amazing how much you can fit into a Corolla.

The boy fell asleep pretty quickly. I have no expectations as to how he will do on a half cross country road trip. We would normally do this trip in two days; I allowed for three.

This is Finn's first trip out of state. Hello,Wisconsin!

At 4:44, we stopped in Madison at a park for a diaper change and a boob snack. A side, but related note: few things can ruin a relatively lovely urban scene than foul mouths and cigarette smoke. Don't get me wrong, I can toss around a few profanities when necessary and interesting, but I think it's wildly crass in public.

Finn woke up a couple of times, but he played a little and then fell back asleep. After a picnic table diaper change and some swing and slide time, we boob snacked in the car because I am unsure of Wisconsin's public breast feeding laws. It's so bizarre that feeding a baby can be subject to such things, but there you have it.

I used to travel by the gas tank. When I needed gas, I stopped, filled up, peed, and hit the road. Those days are long gone, have been, actually, since I started traveling with Pete. Now, even more frequent, even longer stops are going to be my life. As the grown up, it's my job to adapt and, above all, chill out.

Like now. Normally, I drive until I drop, trying to get as far as I can, as quickly as I can without speeding. We had been hoping to get to the other side of Chicago, maybe as far as South Bend, Indiana. But just inside the border of Illinois, Finn started screaming. I don't think it's the fault of The Land of Lincoln. Maybe it's because of the department of highways, and our little man does not like toll roads. In any case, I am now living outside the law because we wound up in the pass lane on the first toll, and so did not pay. Now I am expecting to be pulled over and slapped into cuffs over one dollar.

You see, I am the person for whom deterrents work. I don't like to get into trouble, and I don't like to look foolish, so I usually obey laws and rules. This incident plus the screaming fit put me into a foul mood. Luckily, Pete was amenable to stopping, because I thought that the screaming would spiral out of control, and we would be stuck limping to Gary. We sat in the sunset, spooning pear sauce into Finn's mouth, and the red wing blackbird chirrup, and I could think of nothing better than a hotel room and a relatively normal schedule for the boy.

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