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I was supposed to wrap up this not-so-little dittie a few days ago. Then kiddo and I ran into some nursing problems and my thoughts took a detour. That drama has wrapped for the present, thanks to the ministrations of a lactation consultant, lots of Internet research and gallons of Mother’s Milk Tea.  About the latter, I will simply say that I’m sick to death of the taste of fenugreek, but am delighted to be back on track.

With the strike behind me, I can almost remember what else it was that I wanted to say about my trip.

Mainly, I wanted to detail what I learned about Simon while I was away. It’s funny that you think you know your kid really well-I mean, I spend the vast majority of my time with him-but it all gets put into a new perspective when you can see your baby through others’ eyes and see him alongside similarly aged children.

I learned much about Simon on this trip. First up, I learned that he is not as fussy as I thought. I’m not sure if it’s my lack of experience with other babies or lingering memories of my first three months, but for whatever reason, I had thought of Simon as demanding and tightly wound. So you can imagine my delighted surprise when our hosts said things like “Wow, he’s such a happy smiley kid” or “We could never get Thomas to sleep so easily as you can get Simon. ”

To which I thought, “huh!” and “really?” respectively.

Then I took a look around and understood better. Thomas is a bright and cheery 16-month old who, like all toddlers, will cry if he wants something or can’t do something. Kalyna is a sweet and physically advanced 10-month old who is attached to her parents and who can be overwhelmed by loud crowds. And little Alise, at just over two months old, is still very much in her fourth trimester and therefore has mainly crying as a means of communication.

Clearly, I need to credit my little guy for being happier and more laid back than I realized. He’s really no fussier than the others.  Sometimes it’s good to be wrong!

The second thing I learned is that Simon’s voice is deep and loud. Very deep. Very loud.  My friend Lucy has said from the beginning that Simon had a low voice. And it is low compared to her son Colin’s, but who knows which is average? Well, I do now, and Simon does have a low voice. So much so that Katherine and Tony were laughing over Thomas’s attempts to lower his own voice in imitation. Funny stuff, trust me.

What’ s not so funny is his volume. I think I joked once before about Simon having no inside voice at all. I wasn’t kidding! A few times Alise let loose with that hideous, spine-compressing wail of the newborn, and I marveled at how relatively easy it was to take. I know in part it’s because I’m more familiar with the newborn howl now, and also that it wasn’t my own newborn doing said howling. But more than that, Alise had a softer, gentler howl than Simon did. Hers just wasn’t as ear-piercing.

In the third place, I learned that Simon is aggressively social. When he was very little, I watched him get overstimulated by company once or twice and assumed he was a little introvert. I’m thinking now it was more an issue of his being a neonate. For, as I previously blogged, Simon spend the better part of the week flirting his tush off, and he loved all the other babies. And the aunties and uncles. And the random strangers on the beach, in the airport, on the street, on the trains, etc. Basically, he just loved seeing and interacting with new faces. Makes me wonder how bored he must get on days when it’s just the two of us.

And the final thing I learned about Simon is that-for now-he’s a good traveler. He did well in the airplanes. He seemed to actually enjoy the airports. He took BART and rode Muni both. He was able to sleep and nap in new places, including the plane, the Hotel Diva, Tony and Katherine’s house, and Stinson Beach. I’ll be taking him along with me to Vegas and Boston for business later this summer, and neither prospect seems terribly daunting to me now. It’s too bad he can’t help me earn miles.

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