This weekend we went to Montgomery Bell state park in Burns, Tennessee. Let me tell you, there is no good coffee to be found in Burns. I know, I know, I am very spoiled with my Starbucks, but it really stinks when you don't have what you are used to. Especially, coffee!
However, before I get off on the bad coffee ( I did have a great cup at a coffee house in Dickson, just up the road from Burns...) I must tell you of Greg and Susan's great adventure with Carter!
We really had a low key time, for the most part. We got off just great. Greg was a huge help in getting everything ready to go and took Carter to an errand so that I could pack everything. We expected the trip to take about an hour and a half but we did it in just over an hour. Greg kept repeating all weekend that he couldn't believe Nashville was just an hour away, it felt like we were in a completely other state.
We had lunch at the park restaurant, and it was quite yummy. We then had to take a trip to Wal-mart because someone (Me!) forgot to pack Carter's swim diapers. A trip really isn't complete without a trip to Wal-mart, now is it? We came back to the park and checked in, set up the pack and play for Carter to sleep in and tried to figure out what we were going to do the rest of the day.
We decided to go to explore a little bit and asked for directions to get there from the Inn's registration desk. Well, we never quite got to our location. I really cannot even remember what was there in the first place, something historic. We made it to downtown Dickson and then got lost, turned around and decided the town looked quite quaint and decided to walk. They have some great shops and a wonderful coffee house where I excitedly ordered a large Starbucks wanna-be coffee. We found a BBQ place to eat. Carter was doing really well in the car thanks to the portable DVD player. We get back to the park and go for a swim. The pool was indoor but it is only heated by the sun (I guess that has something to do with being in a park). Anyway, Carter would have no part in getting dipped in the frigid water. So, we went outside to the hot tub, which we all enjoyed, but only for a few minutes.
So, we get back to the room and decide to get Carter ready for bed. Greg and I had already talked about sitting outside on the balcony and reading quietly. Kind of relaxing.
We gave Carter a bath, a snack and his bedtime medication. He has a cold and is teething. He is biting EVERYTHING, and we are his favorite snack of late.
So, the moment arrives that it is time for Carter to go to bed. It is actually past his bedtime. Carter has been excited about being in a different place and exploring the room, pulling the phone off the nightstand, dialing the front desk when we weren't looking, that kind of thing. Greg and I were watching a movie while Carter was exploring. It was hard to tell if Carter was sleepy since he was soooo excited about being in a new environment. We had set up his pack and play by the bed, next to the air conditioner and window, but the crib wasn't in front of the air or anything.
So, Greg and I turn off all the lights and hold Carter and tell him its time for bed. We give him his blankie and tell him "night, night, we love you", just like we do at home. We lay him in his crib and go lay on our bed like we are going to sleep. Carter protests, and protests greatly. We ignore him, being the crying-it-out parents that we are. Carter becomes HYSTERICAL. We turn the lights back on, I pick him up. He is obviously petrified.
It dawns on me that this is the first time we have been in hotel room with Carter since he was about 7 months old and completely oblivious to his surroundings. Greg and I, being the concerned parents we are, discuss the situation. We figure it is a new environment and Carter knows we are still in the room. So after we calm him and give him his blankie and do the night ritual thing again we go HIDE in the bathroom with all the lights off. Carter protests, again. He becomes hysterical, again. We stand there in the dark bathroom trying to figure out what to do. Do we let him cry it out, do we go pick him up. There doesn't seem to be a solution to this problem. We try to put him to bed with us thinking we can just sneak him into his bed once he is sound asleep. He will have nothing of it. He wants up.
So, again, we let him up and let him have the run of the room. So, I have the bright idea to give him some milk to calm him down. So, I give him his milk and rock him in the chair, we have dimmed the lights. Carter is noticeably calmer. We know he is sleepy, its 9:30 at night, over an hour past his bedtime. I completely replicate his night ritual at home after his milk. Carter is so calm when I put him down. I caress his face and tousle his hair, just like I do every night and repeat the all familiar words, "night, night, I love you". I leave the pack and play and not a peep out of Carter. I tell Greg to turn the TV off for fear of there being too much light in the room. I creep over to the bed. Greg and I collectively are holding our breath.
We did it.
We exhale just about the time we hear Carter peep. And then we see this head pop up. He is up and he is not happy. He is crying again. I go over to console him without picking him up. It seems to be working. He is lying there so tired. And it looks like it is going to work.
Nope. The screaming starts again. I start crying. I am at my wits end. Here we are trying to have a relaxing weekend, and this happens. I worry about the other people at the Inn. We finally decide we are going to have to take extreme measures.
We then did something that I thought we would never do as parents.
We got dressed, took Carter, strapped him into his car seat and proceeded to drive around Montgomery Bell Park at 10:15 at night to get our child to sleep. Let me give you the time line of how long it took Carter to fall asleep in the car...
10:15 -we start moving
10:16 - Carter asleep.
So that part was easy. The hard part was going to be getting him back to the room all the while staying asleep. We had already assessed this task as difficult, seeing as how we have to pass through two, very loud, automatic doors to get back in the Inn. Luckily we found another entrance that was open. Greg and I already had a game plan about who was going to bring him in and who would park the car. I felt very much part of a team going through this. I felt like we were in the throes of a football game and only had few seconds to come up with a new game plan. Who knew if it would work? We decided it would take the two of us navigating the doors to successfully bring him back in still sleeping soundly. It really was quite funny seeing two grown adults being totally controlled by their child. This little 32 inch bundle had us in the palm of his hand.
Well, I have to say that Carter was so tired that we got him back in the room without incident. And he stayed asleep in his crib. Greg and I got ready for bed. Any thoughts of doing anything we discussed earlier were out of the question. We were exhausted from this ordeal and just wanted to go to sleep. We had just gotten down for the night and Carter wakes up. AGAIN! Screaming. We lie there just for a minute but it is obvious he is not going back to sleep.
I have visions of us having to leave to Inn. I thought, if he doesn't go to sleep we might as well go home. I could see us up at 2:00 am checking out because Carter wouldn't go to sleep in a strange place.
Luckily, I was able to pick him up and console him. He fell fast asleep again within minutes and stayed asleep the rest of the night.
We had an okay nights sleep. The mattress wasn't that great. We were in a double bed because all the King rooms had been taken. Also, Greg has been sick the past couple of days with a cold and he got up a couple of times. I kept waking up every few minutes so I was very glad when Carter woke up at 7:30 in the morning and we could get up.
Greg and I have decided that the next overnight trip out of town Carter is staying with someone else. And we won't be staying with him in a hotel again for a very long time.
I do have to say that Carter was still so pooped from his escapades from the night before that he took an early nap in the car and Greg and I were able to get on the Natchez Trace parkway and enjoy an extra long drive home.
In peace and quiet!!!!!!!!!!!!