Chicago, day 4

I knew that I’d accumulated lots of stuff from the vendors and sponsors at the conference but I hadn’t really worried because one of the things I’d received was a tote bag that closed securely. Still, when it was time to pack up, there were many things needing a home. Reid had woke up after only 8 hours of sleep instead of her usual 10 and so was squirrelly enough to be anything but helpful. She was feeling silly and full of beans but not helpful. It could have been much, much worse. By the time we got the car cleaned out (thanks to Shea) and everything stowed in bags, I felt like we’d really accomplished something. Reid and I were able to fit our things into the two backpacks and one duffel bag that we brought and all of the giveaway stuff fit into one of the new bags.

I should confess that I’d asked Grandma Joyce to send tops and pants for me to wear so that I wouldn’t have to find space for them. The bonus is that I didn’t have to bring home and launder those two outfits. Ken will be grateful. I’m not sure what I would have left at home to make room. On my own, I could have gotten along with CareB and the tractor blanket but Reid wouldn’t have been so easy to get along with. Ken would pipe up at this point to suggest I could have left behind one of the cameras or the video camera but that just wouldn’t be me.

We went to Denny’s for breakfast and Reid had her San Diego “regular” breakfast of sausage links, eggs and pancakes. She started out dipping the sausage and pancake pieces into her syrup, just like I was doing but that was a messy proposition for a little girl, no matter how careful. Poor Reid dribbled syrup on herself and didn’t like the experience. She told me to take the syrup away.

We tried again to find the Sears Tower when we got downtown but even with the Google Maps instructions we couldn’t find it. Did I mention the upper and lower streets? That’s what I blame it on. We ended up parked blocks away because I thought we were close and should just walk. No go.

We went instead to Navy Pier to go to the Chicago Children’s Museum. Aunt Karin and Shea were going to go on a harbour cruise but Shea was intrigued by the museum and so they stayed for a while. Reid sang and played the drums while Shea used turntables to play a bit of hip hop (or would that be rap?) After a few other exhibits, Shea and Aunt Karin went in search of a boat and Reid and I continued our exploration.

There were many fun things to do. Reid bowled a few frames. At first she held the ball and knocked over the pins but I convinced her to go to the other end of the lane. Reid dressed as a butterfly and there was even a spare set of wings for me, and also as a spider, leaf and bumble bee. There was a dinosaur dig, a water area, and a “forested” area with a camp setup. There was even a slide with slats of wood in it that sounded like a piano when the child slid down it. The first time Reid went down it, she stopped herself as soon as she heard the first sound. It really didn’t sound like a piano. I pointed out the chimes underneath after and then the next time, she slid more quickly and it was musical.

Reid’s favourite, though, was the urban area. She got to drive a minature city bus (with regular sized rules stickers) and also a car. One of the tires on the car came off and the kids could change it. There was also a gas pump. Reid knew just what to do with the nozzle. There was a grocery store and Reid did a bit of shopping, played cashier and then mopped up. We didn’t have a chance to see all of the exhibits but would definitely go back if ever we’re back in Chicago.

We had lunch at Gino’s East, the pizza place that the shuttle bus driver had recommended when I asked for a good place to get Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. It was an interesting place – just across from Ed Debevics – with friendly staff and great pizza. There was writing all over the walls and Shea and Reid happily added to the graffiti. I took a few pictures. I hope I didn’t get any profanity in the background. Reid was too tired for words and cried broken heartedly when I cut up her piece of pizza. It was too thick (hence the “deep-dish”) to be picked up, we thought. Reid wanted to try. She was too tired to let go of her angst, though, and we ended up taking the pizza with us. Then, Aunt Karin and Shea kept it and Reid and I ate had to airport food! Just kidding.

We got to the airport within 10 minutes of the 2 hour advance checkin as suggested by the airline.  Once checked in, we got Reid to run about to burn off extra energy. Shea spun her in circles until she was dizzy enough to sit hard on the floor. Reid had many kisses to give, though Shea got more than his fair share. Finally, it was time for actual good-bye hugs and kisses.

We got through the security with no alarms sounding and without any lines forming behind us as I set up the stroller, got our backpacks back in their places, and re-attached the car seat. We found our gate and then the board saying our plane was late.

I led Reid on an expedition to find some food. From three separate places, we bought fruit and yogurt, a container of veggies and a cheddar-herb bagel. I don’t really want to think of the total cost. Reid fell upon the veggies like she hadn’t had any in weeks. After a few mouthfuls, she noticed the dip and had me open it. I don’t eat dip and so I’m not sure where she’s developed her taste for it.

Reid slipped on some water as we walked into the bathroom, soaking herself and smacking her head – or at least that’s the only place I can think of her getting the bruise in the middle of her forehead – but it caused only a bit of fussing. I got her to put on a diaper instead of her wet underwear but couldn’t find her pajamas. Where, of where, did I put them? Finally I settled on the short and t-shirt she had in her backpack and hoped for a warm airplane.

There was a selfish couple who didn’t seem to understand that people with small kids get to pre-board because they need the extra time who were trying to board ahead of us but the gate crew got us ahead of them. I bet that they don’t give up their seats on the bus to pregnant women, either. Our flight was uneventful and the woman seated behind us complimented me on what a good traveller Reid was. Is there anything a parent wants to hear more at the end of a flight? There was a jetway when we landed and so I didn’t have to carry her and her stroller up the stairs like when we came back from San Diego.

We were happy to see Ken. Reid hadn’t succumbed to sleep on the journey and so was able to give Ken his hugs and kisses. She did finally fall asleep in the car on the way home and stayed that way while I popped her into bed. She is a good traveller, you know, now she needs to learn to sleep on planes so that I can.

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