So. We all survived the trip. The Bug had a fantastic time with her grandparents (who she generally calls 'Ampa and Gamma), only stayed up overly late one night, and was just generally pretty happy. I got to attend sessions, reconnect with old friends, and make some new friends. Pretty freakin' awesome.
Some things I learned:
1. Going away for 4 nights did not diminish the Bug's desire to nurse at bedtime. The first bedtime after we were reunited, she attempted to pull down my shirt.
2. I wasn't really disappointed by #1. If she was 4, I might feel differently, but she's not yet 2, and you know what, it is a nice, cuddly time with her.
3. Other people's small children out and about still annoy me. A friend said it shouldn't, as I am no sometimes the person with the pain-in-the-arse small child and therefore I should be more sympathetic, but here's the thing: when I'm out with my pain-in-the-arse small child, I do stuff to help calm her down if she gets upset and I attempt to provide for her entertainment. I overheard several instances of parents failing to make a serious effort to calm their yelling children. Helpful hint: if your tiny baby is screaming her fool head off in the stroller, item #1 one how to calm her down is to PICK HER UP, particularly if jiggling the stroller hasn't really helped or done anything but annoy the crap out of her. I understand not everyone is a hippy, granola, baby wearing ,nursing in public, attachment parent, but I think maybe we all can agree that babies need to be held and that it is actually kind of pleasant. (Please understand that I have a little empathy for being around a baby who cries a lot. I lived through colic and reflux and a really bad 4 month sleep regression. But, when necessary, DH and I took turns holding her and eating and working to keep her happy and our fellow diners also happy.)
4. The very best part of the whole time away from her was that I got to go to bed at night and sleep until I woke up on my own or at the time I had preselected on my alarm clock. No one else's sleep schedule or issues had anything to do with my own sleep.
5. The second best part of the whole time was that I got to knit almost as much as I wanted to. I didn't manage to visit a yarn shop, but I did finish a sock and a coffee cup cozy.
6. I missed the Bug like crazy. I figured I would, and I was right. But you know what? I was able to not feel guilty for most of the trip.
So. I'll travel again without her. I won't like it, but travel like this is part of my job, and I'll keep at it. I actually feel refreshed as a mom and more determined to make sure that one of my goals in parenting is to make sure the people around me don't hate my kid and me by extension.
(By the way, I do think there is a distinction between kids being kids in public, which I find tolerable and kids falling apart and making life unpleasant for everyone. There is a future post on this in the works, but I'll start by saying that children under 1 cannot be spoiled and cannot manipulate, and that you have to know your kid and know what they can take before deciding to take them somewhere. There's a reason I'm seldom out with the Bug after 7pm. She just can't take it.)