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In late August, we went to South Carolina to visit Amelia's parents--Bruce and Patricia--and Amelia's friend Molly, who had recently had a baby of her own. On the drive up from Orlando, Tommy's first tooth magically appeared. He was better behaved during the drive than any parent should hope to expect, having fun just playing with whatever was in front of him, whether it be rings, a toy, or a Diet Coke bottle.|
Once in South Carolina, Tommy was of course thrilled to see his Grandma and Grandpa, but since we arrived so late in the day, the first order of business was getting to the hotel and going to sleep. Amelia and I were exhausted, but Tommy was not. So, hoping for the best, we put him in his play-pen and turned out the lights. Tommy's reaction was unexpected; he didn't go to sleep, but he didn't start screaming either. Instead, he started laughing. It wasn't just regular everyday laughing, either, it was the kind of laughter that follows being told the funniest joke you've ever heard. He eventually went to sleep, happy as can be, and we followed suit.
The next night, we went to visit his great grandmother (Bruce's mother Maud), Aunt Nancy, and Uncle Victor. Tommy was too tired to be excited by these new people, though he was happy to be thrown around by Uncle Victor and carried around by his Aunt Nancy. The day after that was spent exclusively with Bruce, Patricia, and their cats. Tommy was particularly fond of Tiger and his tail.
That night, we went to an Indian restaraunt, but on the way, there was an incident. Tommy had an explosive bowel movement and made a huge mess all over his carseat and the backseat of the car. I bring this up because it was an important challenge for us as parents, one of those things they don't talk much about in parenting books and magazines. For those of you who have not experienced the joy of children, just picture the scene: there you are, far away from home, in your car, when an intense smell of baby poop hits you. You turn around and notice that there's baby poop seeping from your child's clothes and all over his hands, which he is of course enthusiastically waving around at your spouse. All you have is a handful of baby wipes and a change of baby clothes, and the only place you can find to pull over is a gas station with a closed bathroom. Your mission is to change the baby and clean up all the poop, all without leaving your car. Good luck! (For the record, Amelia did most of the work, and the end-result would best be described as miraculously clean.)
The day after that, we drove to Myrtle Beach to visit Amelia's friend Molly and her newborn daughter Vivian. Tommy was thrilled to meet a new baby, especially one smaller than him, and had great fun playing on Molly's floor without any clothes on.
Finally, we drove back to Florida, and during the trip, Tommy grew his second tooth and behaved just as well as he had a few days earlier. Times like these reminded us how lucky we were to have such an impossibly well-behaved baby. Other parents would undoubtedly regret taking an eight-month-old on an extended car trip, but not us. Granted, the trip ended with a lengthy drive through a pretty bad Florida thunderstorm, and so Tommy was upset at that point, but the vast majority of the journey was easy, far easier than it probably should have been.