After the birth of our beautiful Sugarplum, life became a potpourri of sleep-deprivation, body-aches, and pure bliss. The books say that baby’s cortices are not mature enough, so they have no control over their emotions. Translation, they can switch from the world’s most darling smiley angels to the most heart-broken drama diva in a tenth of a millisecond. As a result, Monkey King and I got on this roller coaster ride of our infant daughter, with me often wondering if we have passed the parental height requirement in the first place. We work as a team in combat: he covers me when I go in for a long marathon nursing session, getting me drinks and food, sometimes taking over the holding while I take a much-needed bathroom break; I cover him while he changes diapers, distracting her with her yellow cat toy armed, literally, with bells and whistles. We talk in whispers, tiptoe while getting into bed, and often eat dinner in silence for fear that any noise might break the golden rule of never wake a sleeping baby. Although my sense is heightened, it proves to be very subject-specific. The other night I slept soundly with the fire alarm blasting in the building next door, only to awake at the drop of a hat when our Sugarplum stretched her arms in her sleep.
With me returning to work after two months of unpaid maternity leave, help came in the form of “Agong”, which is Granddad in Taiwanese. Agong is here for three months to care for Plum during the day while her parents work. Agong displays his rarely seen gentleness and goofiness. Our Plumster and her Agong soon become inseparable like milk and coffee. Seeing as they get along so swimmingly, Monkey King and I decide to take a much needed weekend getaway. Since we have not been able to get out much lately, instead of going out-of-town, we figure we’d just stay a few neighborhoods over and have a night in downtown area. In a very atypical fashion, MK convinces me that hotel reservations are not necessary, since there are plenty of hotels in the downtown area. “Yeah, let’s wing it!” We congratulate ourselves at our care-free spontaneity. What we have in mind is to start the evening with a nice dinner with wine, rock in some music, dancing, cocktails, and finish the night off with two Motrins and uninterrupted sleep.
Sometimes what you plan is not always what you get.
After I bathe Sugarplum and nurse her, we quickly pack our overnight bag complete with my trusted Medela Pump and off we go into the setting sun…. and into the Friday evening Six Thirty traffic.
What would normally take about twenty minutes now stretched to two hours. “Oh, I can’t wait to check in to the hotel and take a nap before dinner!” Monkey King declared.. “Me too! Let’s take a nap!” As any sleep-deprived new parent knows, naps are like oasis in the desert… though often it may seem more like mirage. Only by the time we got to the hotel, waited in line to check-in, we were told that the entire 186-room hotel was SOLD OUT. Okay, no problem, there’s another, bigger hotel right across the street that we just passed, let’s try that one. Monkey King negotiated around the snail pace downtown traffic, with horns honking and cars double-parked everywhere. He finally dropped me off at the loading zone to “go around the block” since there was no stopping sign, which by the way, did not seem to stop other cars from stopping. “Sorry we are all booked.” ALL BOOKED?! Are you kidding me? They boast 386 rooms and every room was booked? “Perhaps our concierge can help you?” I staggered over so that I can wait in yet another line to talk to the concierge. When it was my turn, I explained to the concierge that we just had a baby and we finally had this night off and we really needed to have some sleep. I don’t remember what else I might have said because I was getting really desperate. The lady turned out to be nice, she did not point out the obvious flaw of my logic which was how come we did not make a hotel reservation before our precious night off. She wrote down a list of numbers of the hotels nearby. I took the list with me, called MK to pick me up at the drop-off zone, and worked my way down the list with MK driving his stick shift Element in the parking lot formerly known as downtown traffic.
“We have a room!” I exclaimed. It was only after I got off the phone that I realized we didn’t have a name of the hotel, as the concierge didn’t write down the names. I dialed the most recent call number to ask them what the name of the hotel was and the directions. We made it to our room at 8:30pm. MK and I plunged into our “short nap”, only to wake up close to midnight. New parents…
Luckily we knew a place that open late close by from our child-free days and had an early morning dinner. It was close to 2:30am by the time we filled our tummies. We made it to our second round of uninterrupted sleep at 3am.
Later in the morning, I awoke at 6am to face the couch next to my bed instead of Plum. Instead of her brilliant smile and giddy snuggle hugs, I held the suction cups attached to my Medela and pumped instead. After brunch, we managed to do one fun thing and saw Bourne Ultimatum. After the movie, we were only too happy to go home.
Agong and Sugarplum looked a lot more rested than we did.