Apparently my desire to update ebbs and flows like the tides. Anyway...
In regards to flying with a 14.5 month old:
1. If you get a competent, understanding flight attendant (as we did on our way home) your life for the duration of the flight will be infinitely better, no matter how many meltdowns or hematomas your child sustains. If, on the other hand, you end up with a young, narrow-minded cow with no concept of what it means to have a young toddler, prepare to be royally screwed. Nothing Chad or I could do to make Aidan happy on our way to NJ was good enough for this woman. It's a testament to how flipped out Aidan was that he eventually fell asleep on my shoulder (which he hasn't done since he was 5 months old) for nearly an hour. He would have slept longer, but our oh-so considerate pilot elected to inform us that we "might" be 5 minutes early (and I care....why...exactly?). Aidan didn't sleep a wink on the way back, but just having a friendly flight attendant (plus an indulgent, pretty little 4 year old girl two seats up) made all the difference. And the hematoma? Though the first, I'm sure it will not be his last. It looked far worse than it was.
2. Airplanes are no place for toddler children who are incapable of sitting still for more than 20 seconds at a time and who are too young to be bribed.
3. No matter how bad it is...the flight WILL eventually end.
In regards to spending a week in NJ:
1. Aidan loved swimming in the pool and following his uncle everywhere around the house. He behaved well, slept reasonably well, and had so much fun I wonder if he really wanted to come home. Added bonus: the look on Mimi's face when he jumped head-first into the pool right in front of her...priceless! Mimi was already in the pool just inches from him, so no big issue there...but I think she nearly had a heart attack! Nevermind that I warned her repeatedly that he was going to jump...
2. I have awesome friends. Jon drove all the way from Troy to visit me for the night, and endured many frightfully hyper young children. I was only sorry that Em couldn't join us. Tatjana, Laura, and Mink also came down one afternoon to play, which was great fun! And finally, the hero of the trip...Max! Poor Max drove all the way from Providence to see me, only to breakdown on the Turnpike about 10 miles from where we were supposed to meet. We rescued him and brought him home with us for some sushi, good wine, and conversation.
3. My family is awesome and accommodating: we wanted for nothing whilst in NJ. My grandparents even cooked me steak and lobster and allowed my son to destroy their kitchen! My cousins still think I'm cool, which is a refreshing ego boost now that I'm no longer interesting to my sisters. I wish I had spent more time with Dulce, but at least I got to steal Katie for a while. It was also nice to see my aunt and uncle, who graciously bought us (and Max) dinner :).
4. It was refreshing to see Aidan thrive in an environment where he wasn't constantly being compared to a slightly older cousin or being called spoiled every time he whines about a nap or asks to be held.
5. Only people like me get tickets for doing in frustration (illegal left turn) what millions of other people do on a daily basis without a second thought.
And on a final note:
The notion that we as Americans have any true rights to privacy is fallacy. Anyone here who thinks their lives are private need only receive a ticket in NJ and wait 7 days to begin receiving solicitations from lawyers promising to reduce the violation or get him out of paying the fine entirely. That's right: my name and un-listed address made public for all the world to see and use as they see fit (gotta love the First Amendment, right?).
Until next year...I am happy to be home and back with my kitties :).