a walk on the sidewalk

A confession: Because I accidentally packed most of Lydia’s stuff in the moving boxes, up until yesterday, Lydia had one toy. Every time my mom came over to babysit, she would ask plaintively if Lydia had any toys, and every time I’d present her the same circle of colored teething rings that served as Lydia’s solitary plaything. It was sad. Lydia idled away her life taking tours of house plants, practicing the piano (while I gently corrected her technique), reading (the same three) books, watching me eat, and enduring my crazy attempts to make her smile and laugh. Poor thing.

And then we decided to accompany Abe on some of his work trips. These have changed my perspective on toys. Try spending 12 hours in a hotel room with a five month old, and you’ll decide that toys–LOTS of toys–are basic necessities. After Abe returned to the room yesterday, we high tailed it to the nearest Babies R Us and stocked up on toys. We took turns thrusting different gadgets into Lydia’s hands to see which ones seemed most stimulating. Since she has been so toy deprived, our sweet baby kept trying to stuff each candidate into her mouth…she couldn’t fathom that there are other things to do with toys besides eating them. I felt so bad.

So today we have tried to make up for Lydia’s lack of sensory stimulation by playing up a storm. She got to the point where she just cried when I put another new toy in her hands. I think she might be feeling a little overwhelmed.

To break up our twelve hour day, I took Lydia on a walk. We are currently situated at a Marriot in the middle of a corporate desert; there’s nothing around but business buildings, hotels and a couple restaurants. They do, however, have a lovely sidewalk that no one uses. It goes for miles besides the major roads running through these strips of buildings. I decided that our first stop would be the Marriot across the street. I wanted to find out why they are more expensive than the Marriot we are staying at, so Lydia and I started our leisurely walk by off-roading onto the hotel lawn and making our way to the front desk.

I explained my question to the lovely hotel receptionist, and without batting an eyelash the woman told me the difference lay in the color scheme and flow of the rooms. I must have raised an eyebrow because then she offered to show me a room. I was delighted by her invitation, but my happy spirits sank when the lady asked how old Lydia was and then told me she also had a five month old. I looked at her fat-less figure and felt immediately depressed. And then she proceeded to tell me that her son’s favorite colors are yellow and red.

Favorite colors? Lydia doesn’t even appear to recognize differences between colors, and she certainly doesn’t have favorites. “It’s her lack of stimulation,” I thought, sadly. “She hasn’t had enough toy-time, and she’s developmentally delayed because of it. And it’s all my fault!!!”

On top of that, I couldn’t really tell a difference between that Marriot’s rooms and ours. The colors were more blue, as I remarked to the receptionist. “Yes,” she said, smilingly, “It’s those little details that make a difference.” Uh huh…

So we continued on our merry way. The sidewalk was really well manicured and maintained, but there was hardly any tree cover. That’s a problem when it’s the beginning of August and the heat is beating down, so I scanned the buildings to see if there was anywhere Lydia and I could duck in for some heat relief.

Out of nowhere appeared a store that advertised “Fine Country Furnishings.” “Good enough,” I thought, and veered right towards the store entrance. As soon as I stepped inside, I felt as though I’d been transported to autumn in 19th century New England. The whole store was scented with spiced candles and filled to the brim with folksy knick knacks and old fashioned furniture. It was delightful. I even found some house scents labeled “antique porch” and “log cabin.” But my absolute favorite part of the store were the cutesy signs with the word “Simplify” hung right above the piles of folksy Americana kitsch. Love it!

There were some signs, though, that had heart stopping grammatical errors: “Sister’s are the best” and “Friend’s are the best” stopped me in my tracks. Really?? But the store was so quaint and cute and sweet that I immediately forgave the sign makers. They were probably too busy thinking sweet thoughts to pay attention to grammar.

Back in the sunshine, Lydia woke up and started screaming bloody murder. At that point, I decided it would be prudent to begin the mile long trek back to our hotel.

And now here we are. Just a couple more hours before Abe comes home for a little dinner break before heading out to work again. (Did I mention he works a lot?) But Lydia is sleeping peacefully and Blogger appears to be working again, so I am happy. I even like this room’s color scheme better than the other Marriot, so right now life feels pretty great!

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