Friday, September 02, 2011

"It's a nice day!"

Which is what Sophie said as we strapped her into the car seat after Stan and Susan's wedding. The girl had a blast of a time during our vacation and everyday was a special one for her in one way or another. Jude and I have done the whole tourist/history thing around Boston (see here and here), and so this trip, apart for celebrating Susan and Stan's wedding, was pretty much for Sophie.

We've been really lucky in terms of air-travel with her. Thanks to our CARES harness, we don't haul Sophie's car seat with us but she still gets to sit safely and comfortably in her own seat. She was so excited, she announced to everyone within earshot of us, "I going on holiday! I go to Boston!"

All strapped into her CARES harness and ready for take-off!
All strapped in and ready to go!
We make sure to time our flights to coincide with her nap time (between 1.00 and 2.00) so every time we've flown in the past year, she almost always falls asleep within 30 minutes of take-off. I think something about the vibrations of the plane lulls her.

We didn't get to do much that first day since by the time we got our baggage, picked up our rental car, navigate through peak-hour traffic and the MANY toll-stops along the Massachusetts freeways, and stopped by a grocery store Sophie's necessities, it was basically dinner time (subject for another post...). Sophie was just a little trooper through it all. She gladly rode on my back on the Ergo carrier through the airport so I could have my hands free in case Jude needed help with the luggage and was happy to let Kipper and her many apps entertain her on the iPad while we drove an hour to the hotel.

Fast asleep
Fast asleep after a long day on the road
The next day was totally Sophie Day. Not only did she get to spend an entire morning exploring the Boston Children's Museum, she woke up from her hour-long nap in the car (as Dada took Mama on a scenic drive around Boston) to find herself at the Boston Public Garden where she saw for herself the ducks of "Make Way for Ducklings".

@ the Boston Children's Museum
Fun at the Boston Children's Museum
"Make Way for Ducklings" statue at the Boston Public Garden
She ran to sit on the ducklings all by herself

Sitting on Mrs. Mallard
Sitting on Mrs. Mallard
Honestly, I think if we had gone home right there and then, Sophie would still have been one happy child. But we changed her into a t-shirt and let her splash in the tadpole pool in the Commons (with our friend Julie), and it was like the Special Day that Would Not End for her :)

Splashing in the Tadpole pool
Wading in the Tadpole Pool
Saturday was an exciting day for our friends, Stan and Susan. But it was one exciting day for Sophie too. She's been to a couple of weddings with us, but not one recently where we could talk to her about what was going on. She knew it was a big deal coz she got to put on a nice dress and her "fancy dancing boots", as she calls them. More importantly though, she got to dance. Sophie LOVES to dance. Nothing coordinated, of course, but she loves to spin and twirl, flail her hands in the air (it comes across more like flapping, really...), and just groove to the beat. It didn't matter if the DJ was playing the Stones' "I Can Get No Satisfaction" or The Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling", Sophie wanted to get in on the action on the dance floor any way she could.

Glee on the dance floor
Glee on the dance floor, even without the music playing!
Converse Cat in the Hat high-tops
Converse Cat in the Hat high-tops, just for dancing
Slow-dancing with Mama to Jack Johnson
Slow-dancing with Mama to Jack Johnson
That night, we braced ourselves for what the weather reports told us would be the beginning of Hurricane Irene's onslaught of the East Coast, and we knew that Sunday would be spent mostly indoors. Sophie didn't care where she was; as long as she had her parents with her, her books, puzzles, and PBS ;) Conditions actually got significantly better in the evening and we managed to take a walk/drive around Cambridge. Most shops were closed because of the weather but people were out and about so the places that were open were actually quite crowded. Like Toscanini's, where Sophie enjoyed a strawberry sorbet and Jude and I split a salted caramel/ malted vanilla gelato (like I said, for another post...)

Strawberry sorbet
Strawberry sorbet
To work off the cabin fever from being cooped up all day, we found a public playground next to an elementary school where we let Sophie just run about. A bunch of other parents and their children were out too and no one seemed to mind the fact that everything was wet and there were bits of fallen branches here and there. I think they were just as relieved as us to have found a place to let their stir-crazy offsprings unwind after a day of being house-bound thanks to Irene.

When Monday rolled round, you wouldn't have been able to guess that just 24-hours ago, this city had just been caught in the bands of a hurricane. The sun was shining, it was all clear blue skies, with a crisp morning breeze. Sophie's going through a whale craze right now (well, a Shamu craze, specifically), and so we thought she might enjoy the New England Aquarium. And she was enthralled. Even though the whale-watching boat tours were cancelled, there was still plenty of sea creatures for her to gawk at. She learned all about shallow water habitats, was mesmerized by the large penguin exhibit, saw a jellyfish properly for the first time ("It's like an umbrella- open, shut them, open, shut them..."), and got to touch a beach crab, sting ray ("It so slimey!"), and starfish. Yup, she was a happy child :)

New England Aquarium
So much to see
Touching sea creatures
Touching a beach crab
Giving the baby sea lion a high-five
Giving the baby sea lion a high-five
If you asked me what my earliest memory of a family vacation is, I'm not sure if I can tell you (Kuantan, Malaysia, maybe?...) and even though I know Sophie might not remember this trip beyond the next few months, I have a feeling it's actually the first holiday of which she will have any recollection. She truly had a wonderful, wonderful time, and at the end of the day, hurricane or not, that's what truly matters...

Bye bye, Boston!
Bye bye, Boston!

No comments: