Well, not so much to "Grandmother's" house, as to the family beach house. But go, we did. And we made it in just under eight hours. Phew.
It was an odd experience, reaching that seventh hour and feeling calm and contented with the fact that we had an hour left to go. I think I was just so relieved that we'd gotten so far without any real, prolonged screaming from Michael (which was my worst fear regarding this trip) that my normal five-hour threshold came and went without me feeling like I wanted to jump out of my skin from being stuck in a car for so long. We made three stops, the first of which was about forty minutes, the second, prompted by an in-car poop that made the recycled air unpleasant to breathe, about twenty, and the third, just over an hour. Michael managed to work in his usual three naps at about the same time that he usually takes them, and allowed me to entertain him for the time he spent awake. That is, until after he woke from his last nap, about thirty minutes from our destination. That last half-hour was a little rough, as nothing I did would really soothe him, and the only break we got from the screaming was the minute or so he took every five to regain his bearings and energy. He finally nodded off, exhausted, about 25 minutes in, and promptly awoke when we parked the car.
However, he cheered up right away at the sight of all of the family members gathered outside to greet us, and genially allowed himself to be passed from hand-to-hand. Poor Abby, who had fallen asleep about an hour before, and dozed through all of the in-car commotion, was poorly equipped to handle all of the excitement after being woken suddenly from a nap that she usually doesn't take. She was clearly overwhelmed for the first ten minutes or so, but bounced back like a champ and spent the next two hours burning off all of the energy she'd had to store away in the car.
I'm still amazed at what a great little traveler she is. We had her rear-facing in the middle of the very back seat, so that I could sit in the bucket seat next to Michael. She had three big windows to look out of, but couldn't really see or interact with me. And even when I began to feel pretty bored out of my mind, I could hear her back there, singing and talking to herself, and occasionally commenting on the things that she saw. At one point I heard her exclaim, "clouds!"
I tried to point things out to her that I thought she'd really get a kick out of, like the bridges and tunnels we crossed, and the boats that sailed the rivers we passed over. Unfortunately, since I could not see her, I couldn't tell if she was looking where I pointed, or if she understood. For the first time, I really started to feel impatient to have her turned around where I could see her. But I'm thankful that she's still happy with the current arrangement, because I know that she's so much safer that way. I doubt we'll have it so easy with Michael, once Abby gets turned around, and he is old enough to notice it.
While his sleep has not drastically improved yet, I did get the sense last night that he was sleeping much more soundly than before, and hope that he will again tonight. Unfortunately, the AngelCare system that I still use for him (since I must place him on his tummy to get him to sleep, and the position at his age and mobility-level makes me very nervous) was glitching last night, and kept giving off warning beeps, which roused him. At once point, the alarm even went off, and I'm sure it was a false one, because Michael was fine, and I heard no sharp intake of air that would indicate that he had actually stopped breathing for over 20 seconds. I was immensely irritated, because it woke him two hours into a shift that I'm quite sure he would have slept at least three hours into, and then I was unable to fall back asleep afterwards. I adjusted the sensitivity level, but am unsure how things will go tonight since he'll be in a pack n' play here at the beach house, which has a much thinner mattress than his mini-crib at home. My theory about all of this is that he's finally reaching a level of sleep so deep that it's creating a breathing pattern that we hadn't calibrated for, thus confusing the motion sensor. That's my hope, anyway. It would mean that there's a light on the horizon for us all, and we will perhaps be achieving something tantamount to sleep soon.
Maybe starting with tonight. He's gotten four 3-ounce bottles of soy formula (most of which he finished) in addition to his breastfeeding sessions, goodly-length naps (for him) and a nice, late bedtime.
I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow, and maybe pair that with some beach pictures. But for now, this mommy is ex-haus-ted. Perhaps, if Michael allows, I can remember how to sleep again.