Rhinebeck, 2014 (in Instagram photos)

On my lap right now.

Rhinebeck weekend, as always, starts on Friday after I get finished teaching, when we hit the road for the 5-6 hours it takes us to get to our hotel down in the Rhinebeck area (this year, in Fishkill, which is pretty far out, but we didn’t know whether we’d be able to go early enough to get a room anywhere closer!).

I managed to do a bit of knitting in the car while M napped…

Casting on for square number nine (we're driving through Syracuse right now).

…and we once again stopped at “my” rest stop:

At "mama's" rest stop, on the way to Rhinebeck!

It was very windy. Also, do I just have freakishly long upper-arms, or are the “elbow patches” on this plaid shirt from Target placed too high? (I think it could be either – I do have disproportionately long, and perhaps oddly proportioned arms, which I first learned while taking violin lessons as a kid!)

After a night of fairly poor sleep (oh, travel with toddlers!), we made it to the festival Saturday morning, and after her initial refusal to wear anything handknit, M finally decided it was chilly enough and asked for her hat and sweater:

At Rhinebeck with my girl!!

She was pretty tired and grouchy for most of the day, so spent a lot of it on my back (which was a WORKOUT – this kid weighs over 36 pounds!)

On my back.

We got to see SO MANY friends, which was wonderful! It makes me so happy to be able to give my usually online-only friends a big hug in the real world. I have no photographic evidence of any of these meetups, though, because I’m terrible at remembering to do that. (We’ll put a positive spin on it, and say that I’m so enjoying the moment that I want to experience it rather than capture it…that’s basically true!)

We also got to visit some sheep (and llamas, and alpacas, and angora goats), and after one of them proved that sheep really do say “Baaah” by bleating VERY loudly in M’s face, she decided that she’d rather interact with them from the safety of my arms (which were getting very tired):

We met some sheep, and M learned that they really do say "Baaah" (quite loudly!)

M’s favorite activities at Rhinebeck included “walking the line” (there are lots of lines painted on the paved areas at the festival grounds)…

"I walk the line, mama!"

…finding excellent maple leaves…

She found a good maple leaf :)

…and listening to the pan-flute band that always plays there:

Listening to the music in mama's arms. She LOVES this pan flute band that plays at Rhinebeck every year.

She really rocks out to them. It’s kind of hilarious! We got her a bird whistle from their table of wares; it is LOUD and of course, she loves it (it is being declared an “outside only” toy, however!):

We got her a little bird whistle from the pan-flute band folks. It is loud. She loves it.

That evening, we went back to the hotel and relaxed in the hot tub before M’s bedtime. It felt good on my aching muscles – according to my phone, I walked over 5 miles, took something like 13,000 steps, and most of them were either wearing or carrying a 36 pound kiddo!

We sadly can’t ever stay for a second day at the festival – we’d have to either pay for another night in the hotel, which wasn’t an option this year because I teach on Mondays, or get home ridiculously late. As has become our tradition, on our way out of town on Sunday morning, we stop at the Walkway over the Hudson. This year, it was absurdly windy, which made it hard to get any photos at all!

Me and my girl on the Walkway Over the Hudson on a VERY windy morning!

M also wanted to be carried most of the time, which was rough after having done so much of it the previous day. Look how she’s grown since when we visited the Walkway in 2012!

How she's grown!

(I’m further away from the railing in the 2014 shot because I’m basically terrified that M will climb out of my arms and over the railing into the Hudson. It’s the sort of thing I have nightmares about on a regular basis!)

The drive home was…well, let’s start with the good part. We drove through an absolutely gorgeous state park (Minnewaska – the name sounds like something from my (Minnesota) neck of the woods!)

We're driving through an amazingly beautiful state park (Minnewaska).

And M was quite charming during the early part of the trip, declaring it naptime while throwing a cauchycomplete scrappy mini-quilt over her face to block out the sunlight:

Taking a car nap (with a @cauchycomplete scrappy mini-quilt to shade her eyes).

But once she woke up…oh, I don’t even know if I can write about it. I’ll try, though, because I make an effort to be honest about the less-lovely sides of motherhood; it’s easy to think that nobody struggles, that you’re absolutely alone in the hard-stuff, because almost nobody writes about it and everyone pretends they’re fine. And maybe they aren’t pretending, I don’t know – that’s the thing that’s maddening about this, is that you don’t know whether you’re truly alone, or if you’re just the only one willing to say anything about it. So I’ll say it, and hope that it makes someone else feel less alone.

The drive home was awful. It makes me worry that we will not be able to travel to visit our families over winter break; she is THAT awful in the car. I have bruises and scratches from how many times she grabbed my arm and dug her nails in, and kicked me in the face while swinging her legs over the side of her carseat (she’s tall, so she’s got REACH). See, I sit next to her carseat in the backseat (it’s not comfy, because she has to be in the middle because of the setup of our old LATCH-less car, so I’m between a carseat and the door…good thing I’m small). I do this because if I sit in the front, then I end up having to turn around every minute to do something relating to M (she is just not even remotely good at handling car trips or self-entertainment), and that makes me super duper carsick and hurts my lower back (where I have spinal stenosis – twisting repeatedly is just not a great thing for me to do). Plus, she’s a thrower, and it’s better if I can be in the backseat to stop her than to have her chucking stuff up at A while he’s driving. (This would be one of several reasons why the “just hand her an iPhone with video on it” approach is not one I care to take. I don’t exactly relish the idea of a $600+ piece of technology being thrown!) But omg, do I ever have to stop her. A lot. The physicality of this age is so hard for me – I can’t just tell her no (she’ll do it anyway – she’s at a very boundary-testing age), I have to physically restrain/redirect her. Dealing with her crazy antics all day long takes a lot out of me, and when I’m stuck next to her, so can’t take myself away when she’s not treating me kindly and thus serving as her punching/kicking bag…well, there’s only so much of that I can take. I ended up sobbing in our backyard in the cold for half an hour once we were home before I could face the idea of going inside and being around her again.

I’m just not sure that the joy of Saturday and of Sunday morning was worth the misery of Friday and Sunday afternoon/evening. And I was kicking myself for not doing a little more shopping while I was at the festival. That bird whistle is actually the only thing we bought, even though I REALLY wanted a set of Bartlettyarns miniskeins – it was just too crazy in there when I first saw them, and I never got a chance to go back and pick up a set. And I don’t know, somehow the combination of not having anything (but the experience, which, at the festival at least, was wonderful, so there’s that!) to bring home plus the abject awfulness of the drive left me feeling incredibly guilty and regretful about making the trip.

Gee, that’s not a fun note to end this Rhinebeck 2014 post on, is it. Sorry! I have some wonderful “real camera” photos from the festival, mostly of M wearing Elle Melle and her new red hat, and I’ll put those in a separate post, probably tomorrow.


12 thoughts on “Rhinebeck, 2014 (in Instagram photos)

  1. I’m so sorry to hear about the awful car ride home. We have a toddler, too, and travel a LOT in the car (family is at least a 5 hour car ride away, and are expected to travel TO them often – although are just beginning to set boundaries about that). Do you know what is setting M off? Or is it general boredom/toddler-dom (toddler-DOOM?) I know you don’t love the idea of M holding a phone, but when we’re in the car for more than 2 hours, we let our daughter watch shows on the ipad. It is old, so we don’t use it for much else, and we attach it to the back of the headrest via the elastic on its heavy-duty case and it is out of arms reach of her. Do you think M would watch a show that way? We also take a “tough noogies” approach a lot, and even though Charlie may *want* something, it doesn’t necessarily mean she is going to get it. It *does* mean there have been quite a few of those embarrassing lying on the floor in the grocery store moments when I am committing some horrible offense such as refuse to carry her while simultaneously pushing the cart, or buy her something terrible, but it also means as she gets older, boundaries become more clear. It sucks to disappoint her (prime example: she was convinced she could have ice cream for breakfast this morning), but it makes life easier in the long run. And, just so you know you’re not alone: a childhood friend of mine and I text the “glass of wine” emoticon to one another a lot. It is mom-code for “Holy crap, this kid!! All I can do to make it through the night is DRINK!!”

    • Thanks so much, Kate. I think in M’s case, it’s mostly boredom combined with an intense need to be physically doing things – she’s an active kiddo. I sympathize…being stuck in a car ain’t very fun, at least when you’re too little to knit! I think she also knows that the car is a place where it’s harder for us to enforce boundaries and uses the opportunity to really, really push on them. And since the thing we struggle the most with her about are physical boundaries (no, you can’t hit mama, or pinch her, or scratch her, or climb her, etc), I end up being a punching bag. She might watch a show if we could rig something up the way you’re describing – we don’t have an old tablet, though, just the one we use regularly! But she’s pretty into Sesame Street, so it’s worth a shot sometime. Oh, and she wants to be read to all the time, which is awesome, but I can’t read in the car b/c carsickness…but your comment about the way you rig up a tablet made me wonder whether there are any animated audio-book type things she’d be into. Something to investigate!

      I’m probably not doing as well as I could at enforcing boundaries even outside of the car, though I do pull the “if you don’t respect mama’s body, you don’t get to be with mama, so bye bye!” card at home pretty often (if only I could do this in the car!). I think the combination of her colickiness as a baby and my PPD left me in a place where I was desperate to keep her from crying if I could (because oh, how it jangled me, and still does), and that’s not really serving anybody well, long-term, I know. So she gets picked up and carried a lot more than is reasonable given her size and things like that, and I’ve just got to keep working on that because she’s reaching the point where she is just TOO BIG for that kind of thing, so tough noogies! I just get so frustrated by the physicality of it all, and genuinely struggle to keep her from doing things she shouldn’t do/keep her safe when she’s not listening, because she’s so big and strong and I’m so petite. And you’re right, I do see lots of comments about “wine” and drinking in relation to kids – I’ve never really related to them because I’m not a drinker (it’s a migraine trigger, and I *so* don’t need to add migraines to the mix, yikes!) but I guess that’s probably the way most of the mamas I know talk about the hard times. So I guess I just need to figure out a non-alcoholic coping mechanism, ha! :)

      On Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 2:13 PM, whit::knits wrote:


  2. She is at a rough age. I can sympathize. I loved the cuddliness of the toddler years, but I have to admit I don’t care to repeat them.
    We do a LOT of long trips, and I’m happy to say that my kids are finally used to it. My son is now 8 and can’t read in the car or he gets carsick, so we rig up the iPad for the both of them to watch as many episodes of Wild Kratts or what-have-you as they want. I’m not generally a fan of using screen time as a “pacifier” but all bets are off in the car! You do what you can do get through it.
    We also make lots of stops for running around. It makes trips longer and doesn’t cure all the wiggles, but it helps.
    Do you feel comfortable talking to her pediatrician about it? Part of their job, other than the obvious medical stuff like checkups and vaccines, is to help parents get through various stages of development and figure out strategies for behavior management. Toddler tantrums confound the best of us, and sometimes the pros have good advice. Just a thought.

    • Thanks, Susan. I’m thinking we’ll need to figure out some way to rig up one of our tablets in a way that’s MaddySMASH-proof for our next car trip – because yeah, anything goes in the car, I think. Maybe if car trips involve more “rare treat” things like video, she’d be more cooperative. That’s a great suggestion about talking to her pediatrician, though historically, the ped hasn’t be great about behavior issues. (She tends to be more like, “you shouldn’t have let her do that”, “just don’t let her do that”, which…ok, fine, but HOW?) And more stops for running around is a very good idea, too. My husband likes to stop as little as possible (and also does not love the idea of playing children’s music or anything like that) during our road trips, but I think compromise is in order there!

  3. Whitney, I couldn’t read this without extending a quick comment in sympathy — you are definitely NOT alone! I have painful memories of hanging over the carseat trying to nurse a screaming small Ada into submission up the crazy roads over the Cascade mountains… and let’s not even talk about some of the cross-country plane flights.

    I am headed to the library right now to see if I can gather some kid-friendly audiobooks to try for our trip to visit my home this weekend, as I’m making the seven-hour journey outnumbered by small people who really can’t be expected to sit that long. I think they’ll go over well with Ada while Jolly is asleep. Luckily we only have to endure 4.5 hours in the car and then there’s the ferry to wait for and the freedom to explore the passenger deck once we’re on board. But I get through the drive only by praying for long naps and by feeding them constantly. I tell a lot of stories since we can’t read, and field a lot of requests for songs. And I play the kids’ favorite CDs ad nauseum. Hey, if Raffi can keep them giggling rather than shrieking, bring on one more round of “Down by the Bay.” At least once during the ride we stop to use the bathroom and then do some windsprints up and down the sidewalk in front of Starbucks or wherever before we have to load up again. Sometimes we do some car seat calisthenics so we can do some structured limb motions.

    Does Maddie have a silly streak? I’m terrible at remembering to bring the humor when I’m in grit-your-teeth survival mode, but Ada has remarkable success at joking Jolly out of the early stages of a fit by asking him ridiculous things like, “How could a tree balance on top of a car?” (and then laughing like a maniac to demonstrate how deeply hilarious this idea is). Hand puppets, if you’re not the one driving? I once had to pretend to eat a dog toy about 37 times in a row to get us over a hump near the end of a long trip…

    I will also tell you that IT GETS BETTER. An extra year has made a huge difference to Ada in being able to keep the greater goal in sight (we get to see Granny and Granddad!) and thus endure the endless car ride. Maddie will get there, too!

    • Oh, Sarah, thank you so much! I do have hope that things will get better. I suspect that we are probably at “peak awfulness” when it comes to car trips with M; she’s at the stage where her size/ability to cause damage, her need for activity, her verbal skills, and her impulse control aren’t quite working together and as a result, are causing a lot of frustration on all sides. (Plus, though I didn’t mention it in the post, this was our first trip with a toilet-using, diaper-free M, which added a level of stress for all of us that I don’t think we properly anticipated!) I really appreciate all of the tips you shared for travel with wee ones! (Thought we don’t have a CD with these songs, we sang a LOT of “Down by the Bay”, as well as “Old McDonald” and “You are my Sunshine” on this last trip!) Maddy does have a silly-streak (though we have to be careful with it, because if she gets TOO silly she starts getting destructive!) and a lot of that comes out when we sing together – she likes to have Old McDonald’s farm be filled with all sorts of non-farm animal things (like alligators, and motorcycles) and likes to make up really bizarre/nonsensical (but hilarious to her, so I’ll roll with it!) “have you ever seen a…” lyrics for “Down by the Bay”.

      Also, I just realized that I somehow lost track of your blog – I’m adding it back to Feedly so that I don’t miss your posts anymore!

  4. Yarnyoldkim

    The toddler years with Liam were not fun. At times they were awful. I thought there was something wrong with me because lots of other local mothers enjoyed toddlerhood/pre-school years and I couldn’t wait for them to be over. You are not alone! It was great seeing you & A & M at the festival. I’m texting you to get your address as I might have a little something to send your way.

    • Thank you so much, Kim! It’s good to hear that not everyone loves the toddler years. There are aspects of it that are amazing (I mean, my goodness, they learn SO much in these few years and as a cognitive scientist, that’s incredible to watch), but oh, I’m just SO much better suited to working with fully verbal people who have some modicum of impulse control. I’m really looking forward to those times with M!

  5. Wow. This was us exactly this summer. My son is 2 also (and big and super active) and we took a 10 hr trip to RI for a vacation. The way there wasn’t too bad. We left after nap around 4, stopped for dinner, then only a little crying when he was falling asleep around 9. He then mostly stayed asleep until we got there 5 hrs later. The way back was like hell breaking loose. We left in the morning and he picked that day to stay awake until 4 with no nap. Only screaming and throwing things and generally inconsolable. So of course I though, hey! Why not drive the 7 hours to rhinebeck next weekend. To my amazement the trip home was much better. We found that he really likes those annoying books that play different music when you press the little picture books so I brought a couple. We even stopped at a bookstore in Poughkeepsie before heading out to pick up a few more. D really likes videos of himself so that’s always our last resort for the iphone. I’ll be honest and admit I also bought children’s Dramamine in case he needed a dose to help him nap. But he managed to snooze for an hour (not ideal but enough to keep him from being a terror). Also, Saturday night we headed to the children’s museum in Poughkeepsie which is open late every 3rd Saturday of the month (and free that night!) and I think it helped him to blow off some steam. D turned two last month and run constantly, throwing, climbing, and kicking soccer balls. So I feel your pain with trying to cage up your toddler.
    I think I saw you there wearing here and I was super impressed! You must be so strong! I wished I could have done that but we took the stroller.

  6. Gwen

    You are definitely not alone! I am often grateful that H is a tiny peanut (except for her giant noggin) so I can manhandle her into her car seat when she goes all stiff (and even then it’s nearly impossible – luckily she understands counting and will almost always turn around by ten now that she knows I will make her get in one way or another) and hoist her under my arm to stop her from riding the dog/playing with outlets/hitting me in the face/shoving the cat etc. She used to be an awesome traveller and sometimes still is but we definitely still have some hysterical traumatic trips because heaven forbid she “drop” (read: throw) whatever coveted tiny item she is hoarding. It’s a good thing they’re cute! (And cuddly. And hilarious. And wonderful.)

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