Monday, November 15, 2010

Back to where it all began

Dear Scarlett,
As I type this, the sound of boiling water in a teapot is coming from your room. Except there is no boiling water and no teapot. It's just you, in your crib, and the new high-pitched squealing sound that you've been making for a few days. This must be something you picked up while we were in New York.

We got back from our trip late on Friday night. You and I were completely exhausted, since you no longer like to sleep on planes. Dad picked us up at the airport, and as soon as we claimed our baggage, I realized I had left your stroller on the plane. So I had to get a security note, wait in the security line yet again, and head back to the gate. This is what happens when I am up for nearly 24 hours, and have just spent the past 6 wrestling with you in a miniature United Airlines chair as you try to eat every plastic bag that enters your line of sight.

New York was many things: wonderful, stressful, busy, and fun. There were days of missing you while I was working, and moments of holding you close when I came home. It was odd to think that if we'd never left New York, this is what life might be like for us--subway rides and cabs, strolling along the Hudson River, swinging in parks surrounded by immense buildings. I realized I hadn't been back to the city in an entire year, and I missed it. But I also know that we're in the right place in San Francisco, and I feel lucky that I had the chance to live in New York when I did.

We started our trip in Tribeca at Lem and Derek's. You met Max, their Boston Terrier, and the two of you crawled around together like old pals. Max licked your face, which surprised--but did not scare--you. Aunt Beverley and Vincent came over to see you and brought you a beautiful book of fairy tales called Once Upon a Time. You also met Roan, of Robotic Uprising fame, and took an immediate liking to him. The two of you ate lunch together in Brooklyn, and you frequently reached out to grab Roan's arm, staring at him with unabated interest. Big kids seem to thrill you.

You tried baby food in a jar for the first time, and after a very impressive showing with 4oz of sweet potatoes on our first night, you basically went on a hunger strike. We were able to get some food in you, but mostly it was just mashed bananas. You ignored almost everything else.

Nonnie joined us on Sunday night and the two of you spent the week exploring Manhattan and Jersey City while I was at work. You went to Grand Central Station and craned your neck to look at the ceiling, the public library where you met lots of other kids, and Eataly--Mario Batali's new, crowded food emporium.

Nonnie says you are crawling on your hands and knees now, but I haven't really seen it. You still move quickly on your tummy and like to cruise around that way the most. Your teeth are very visible now, and very sharp. Please stop biting me.

Dad had to leave on Tuesday, and you and Nonnie and I moved to a new hotel in New Jersey the next day. There you met many of my coworkers and clients, and you were calm and smiley the whole time. You continue to surprise me and Dad with your ability to handle travel. Even if you won't sleep on the plane, even if you eat nothing but bananas and milk, even if we are all sharing one small hotel room, you are almost constantly in a good mood.

Although...I would be in a good mood, too, if I was the ruler of that small hotel room. I want you to know that Nonnie and I spent one entire evening reading in the bathroom so that you could get your beauty sleep. Between that and the plane rides, I could really use a massage.

Ah, the teapot has stopped boiling and there again is the sound I love. The sound of your little breaths and snores as you sleep, maybe dreaming about skyscrapers and a massive river, a big window overlooking an entirely unfamiliar city, and that New York baby in the mirror.