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Thanksgiving's Greatest Hits

Back safe and sound in our happy home.  Visiting was great, but traveling as new parents is so exhausting that I feel more tired now than I did at the beginning of our “vacation”!  Madeleine is so happy to be back in her small familiar circle; she’s crowing and smiling and scooching all over the familiar terrain of the living room floor, saying hello to her long-lost friends.  Having survived our first full-on family assault (go to Dallas and take no prisoners!) I thought I’d give you the rundown of the items that helped make life a little more bearable.  The mini-bar in the hotel is a given, and is not listed here, but that’s more for Mommy.

Gymini Playmat  We still can’t get enough of this thing.  It packs up teeny tiny and weighs almost nothing, and best of all, is machine washable!  The floor gym gave Maddie something familiar to look at and get her aggression out on for a while.  We took it down, shoved it in the rolling suitcase, and toted it everywhere each day.  The clip-on items doubled as chew toys for her.  And putting the mat down made hosts less worried about when they last vacuumed their carpet.

Portable Aquarium Swing  Here’s a new one for Madeleine!  My sister-in-law offered to lend us hers for the week, and baby girl liked it so much Lisa generously let us bring it back with us.  The swing reclines enough to make Maddie comfortable, and the hanging-down toys were a huge hit.  She still loves it a full week later! 

Medela Micro-Steam Bags  Each bag offers up to 20 uses and they fold teeny tiny.  Thanks to another sister-in-law’s co-worker’s loan of a breast pump (I brought my own attachments,) I was able to have a few bottles handy for stuck-in-traffic times.  Plus, we could clean any toys that fell on restaurant floors.

Kangaroo sling  We took our trusty sling with us, and boy did it help.  When the cousins became too overwhelming, putting her in the sling gave her a little retreat, a girl scout safety circle around her.  She could observe without having to interact.  In addition, it gave her a quiet and discreet place for me to nurse her in the middle of a family event. 

MP3 player and speakers  Yes, I’m still using them.  The MP3 player was necessary for the drives back to the hotel, post-bedtime, and both were used during bedtime.  Having the music she was used to from home really helped her with her strange surroundings, I think.

Of course, nothing could replicate her home routine and favorite glider, for example, but these things definitely helped make the trip a little easier on her.


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