In an effort to give my very wonderful, very tired and very pregnant wife a little bit of time to herself to sleep and continue incubating the future baby, which I'm sure she will use to run herself ragged doing chores that may or may not need to be done, I piled the current baby into the car and drove out to visit my mother.
The first long trip with Harper in a big girl car seat was a moderate success. She's still small enough that she looks like Jack sitting in the armchair of the giant. I'm not 100%, but I don't think she likes it. When she sits in the chair, she slumps over the side and stares off into space, as if contemplating a time when she will have parents who not put her in such embarrassing situations. If the other babies see, she'll have to change her name and move to Peru. This prospect makes her even more depressed because not only can she not speak Spanish, she doesn't know how to do high-altitude farming. On the plus side, she will be near lots of llama, which will remind her fondly of her mother and grandmother and their near obsessive propensity for knitting everything that even slightly resembles yarn. (You should see the amazing spaghetti scarf I got for Christmas! Warm AND tasty, although a bit monochromatic...)
If you watch Harper in the car seat for any length of time, you can see all of these thoughts wash over her face as she constantly internally debates the merits and drawbacks of becoming an ex-pat.
In order to give her the chance to eat something, stretch her legs and be reminded of all of the wonderful reasons to stay in the country, we paused at a haven of pure American essence; a rest stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We ventured inside for a diaper change because I had not had one since we left the house several hours earlier.
I let her walk around inside for a bit and it turned out to be a baby convention! There were at least four other babies, all younger than her, in the seating area. Harper made her rounds, introducing herself to each in turn and attempting to strike up conversations regarding the finer points of high-chair use and the ever increasing prices of foreign imports. Only one young man, a seemingly well-bred 7-month-old named Colin, wished to engage her in conversation. He made interesting counter-points to her arguments by hopping up and down and concluded by drooling on himself.
Tired of the discussion, Harper wished to return to the car to eat snacks in peace. She told me later that she found him immature and pedantic. We sat in the car for a while and talked. She enjoyed the passenger seat.
She was SO pleased to be in the front that she loudly voiced her displeasure of being returned to her own seat. For the rest of the drive.
Upon reaching my mother's house, she proceeded to climb up and down the stairs for 45 minutes. She also found a seat that fits her much more comfortably.
Time for a daddy nap...