This Sunday, Olivia and I ventured out in the car, by ourselves, for the five-hour drive to spend some quality time with her little cousins. I had been promising a visit since we missed my twin nephews' first birthday a few weeks ago, and since my husband had meetings that would require him to be very busy for a few days, it seemed like the time to go.
Aside from the "I'm tired of being in the carseat!" and "Feed Me NOW!" whines from the backseat, the trips there and back were fairly uneventful. Olivia slept a lot, played with her book, and looked at the passing scenery without much fuss. ("Much", of course, is a relative term. Her Daddy would have thought it was a lot, but I'm learned to tune out a certain amount of fuss in the name of survival.)
The actual visit was both delightful and UNBELIEVABLY EXHAUSTING. In fact, we had to cut it short (we were planning to stay two nights, Ha!). Olivia did not sleep or nap well. Which meant that Mommy barely slept at all. Which doesn't bode well for the five-hour drive home.
See, our little Olivia is just not used to that much activity. She's used to spending her days with Mommy, primarily in a relatively quiet house where she's the loudest person she knows.
Her cousins, on the other hand, are individually and as a group MUCH louder than she is. These four cousins (ages 4, 3, and the twins are a year old), as I like to say, got their "inside voices" from their father (my brother) who absolutely never learned how to whisper. And then there's the age factor...little kids are not, by nature, quiet individuals. Together, they create quite a chaotic scene.
Now this has never really bothered me because I grew up in similar chaos, as the oldest of five children born within six years. Yeah, I can get a little fried after being dragged for hours around the house by a 4-year-old who wants me to spend hours eating her pretend cupcakes made in her pretend kitchen, but I adapt quickly.
Olivia, on the other hand, was overwhelmed by the situation. Amazingly, she was adapting by the time we left (where she could actually nap in the midst of the noise, which is something she does NOT normally tolerate), but it started off a little rough. This is why we came home the next day instead of staying two days, as anticipated. I just don't do well on severely limited sleep. And I wanted to spare everyone the pain of dealing with a REALLY fussy Olivia by the end of Monday. She doesn't do so well on limited sleep either.
She did have fun, despite the overstimulation factor. She was having a great time watching the kids play. She was just taking it all in. She's so observant and so social. I imagine that we'll have a lot more fun with such a visit when she's old enough to join in a bit. It's just hard to play with active cousins when you can't sit, crawl or walk on your own.
They must have REALLY worn her out, because she's going on two and a half hours for her nap right now. Gotta wrap this up before she decides that she's had enough of the sleeping.
These people are wearing me out!