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Along for the ride

When you're traveling with a baby, you're never anonymous. Everywhere you go, you get smiles in your direction. Today was a beautiful upper-70s March day in D.C. -- the sort of gorgeous early spring day that's fairly common there but really, really rare in Chicago -- and Evan was wearing his Hawaiian shirt and jeans shorts. Janene was out for a walk this morning with him while I was working in a cafe, and she reported how many people stopped out of the blue to say how cute he looked in the stroller. He's a conversation starter.

A baby also has a way of turning the mundane into something exciting, and the enthusiasm becomes infectious. Who knew that a laminated menu or a tassled pillow in the hotel could entertain for so long. It's a lot of fun.

There are drawbacks, too. At about 7:30, we were enjoying a lovely walk on a beautiful evening, strolling up Embassy Row, and were forced to cut our night short because we know we have to get back to the hotel before Evan falls asleep in the stroller instead of his Heavenly Crib®. We didn't want to go in -- Du Pont Circle is filled with great bookstores (both used and new), interesting restaurants, and nice neighborhoods for a stroll -- but an early evening is a small price to pay for not having to endure long stretches of crying later.

We're also learning how much energy one needs simply to do anything with a baby. We purposely kept the itinerary light on this trip, yet we've never been so exhausted while traveling -- not after a day of walking up and down hills in San Francisco, not after a day of dodging Italian drivers on the Amalfi Coast, not ever. At the end of the day, it certainly feels like we've done a full day's worth of traveling and then some -- even if I don't necessarily have pages worth of materials worth writing about.

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