Orange County Debut

Today is our 10th day in California, and also the day of our flight home. Julia has managed to invoke a serious case of cuteness overload in most of the family members that she’s met over the last week and a half, as well as a dozen or more strangers at grocery stores, airports, and the zoo. It’s been a great trip, and for her first pseudo-vacation involving air travel, I am pleased with how everything transpired. I mean, I figured things would go well outside of the time spent traveling, but she managed to make even the travel part easy on us.

We still have half of the second flight home to make it through, but so far, Julia’s behavior has won her still more new friends. We discovered that she just really likes seeing people smiling back at her, and so we used that to our advantage. While Courtney and I remained strapped in our seats, I gave Julia the lift-and-lower elevator treatment for as long as my sad-looking thin programmer arms could hold out. Every time her view got above the back of my head rest, her eyes would lock onto some presumably staring passenger (because really, how distracting would a bouncing baby a row or two in front of you be?) and then develop a big grin on her face. She’s been essentially happy almost the entire time.

One interesting observation that has nothing at all to do with Julia except that she was the means by which I encountered it: when you’re descending in an airplane, everything is noticeably lighter to carry. In retrospect, this is obvious, since astronaut weightlessness is simulated by the extreme version of exactly the same thing (free fall in an airplane). Due to the typical speed of altitude change, you can’t feel the weight difference much if you only have light things to hold onto. But when you’re hefting a 15-pound baby up every few seconds, it becomes a whole lot more apparent. Furthermore, when the pilot stops descending for a moment, that seemingly 10-pound baby suddenly weighs 20 pounds as your arms slow down her descent. It’s wild.

I’ve also been introduced to the wondrous adventure that is the baby changing station in a four-across commuter jet’s rear bathroom. It’s a challenge under any circumstances, but especially so when the baby is inconsolably crying and has a diaper with…well, plenty more than just pee in it. But Julia and I managed to come out alive and without leaving a terrible mess for the next passenger, so as long as she avoids any further episodes until we land, we’ll be in good shape!

This trip has been great, but I’m definitely excited to get back home and return to a predictable routine. Only an hour or so to go!