Sunday, July 31, 2005

This week was so stressful and exhausting, I never got around to posting a few words about our wonderful trip to parts north. Nutmeg was good on the flights out there, much better than I could have wished for. She dozed during takeoff on the first flight, which started at 6 a.m., then woke up and happily sat in my lap looking at the new books I had brought and playing with the new toys. I managed to get us and our 500 pounds of crap (stroller, car seat, diaper bag, backpack and baby frontpack) onto the next plane, on which she was able to get an empty seat. She fell asleep during takeoff -- in her seat this time, not nursing -- and stayed that way the whole flight. Heaven.
And she learned the words: airplane, elevator (she says elebator) and fly. and the phrase, repeated so many times that day, "grammy's house."
When we got to my parents' house, we discovered they had set up a baby carnival in the backyard. A wading pool, a huge sand and water table, a multicolored umbrella for shade, my old Wonderhorse, a Dora the Explorer beach ball, a beach chair just her size, and a gas pump for her car, which unfortunately she had left in Wisconsin. This explains why my parents were roaming Wal-Mart in preparation for the trip; fortunately they ended up buying the sand table from a friend instead. Nutmeg had such a good time throughout her visit out there. She was in and out of the pool so many times, she pulled her lounge chair and everything else in there, she pooped in there the one time i tried to get away with no swim diaper (I had only brought a couple). And when my parents had some people over -- including two of my cousins who are also good friends and their little ones, and a high school friend who happened to be in town with his two kids -- all the kids knocked themselves out on it. It was such an amazing moment for us -- we had been teenagers together about eight minutes ago. Suddenly, it seems, we were the grown-ups. Bizarre.
Nutmeg was really excited to see her daddy when he showed up four days later, and then we drove up to her Grandma and Grandpas, where there was lots more fun in store. She saw her grandpa feed the dog a cracker -- a fancy, wafer-thin one -- and not only did she start feeding crackers to the dog, she maintained a steadfast belief that fancy crackers were the only acceptable dog food. When we gave her a milk bone, she tried to eat it herself and refused to offer it to him. We went to the beach, which was not only a ball for Nutmeg but also touching because her grandparents are not really beach people, yet they stayed out there several hours for her. Her grandfather took her hand and walked all over the place, prompting some fellow beachgoing moms to comment on how sweet they were together. He is a very big man, and seeing him walk hand in hand with such a tiny girl was indeed a touching picture. The next day we went to a family friend's wedding, the supposed reason for this whole trip, and after that the weather shot up to the upper 90s, and so we just hung around in grandma and grandpa's front yard, watching Nutmeg play in another brand new wading pool and experiment with a sprinkler turned way low. She stepped into the sprinkler spray, then got scared by it and called out, "all done! bye bye!" until someone rescued her. That night, the grandparents babysat while Epu and I enjoyed a surburban date, taking in "The March of the Penguins" at the shopping mall movie theater and then getting a cone at Cold Stone Creamery. We enjoyed walking around in a warm -- still almost hot -- night, something that rarely occurs where we live. We were the only people walking around on the sidewalks. We just couldn't shake our crazy urban ways and drive the eight blocks or less to the mall.
Then we drove down to Chicago to see the adorable new baby I mentioned in my last post and commiserate about parenthood and labor with our latest friends to join that estimable club. And I had a nice lunch with a local reporter for a highly regarded newspaper, and Epu had a little visit with some people in his own field. And we love Chicago!
Oh, and that March of the Penguins Movie? You should see it, but not if you have had a baby in the last few months, especially if you're still still lactating and full of all the maternal hormones that brings. It's all about the struggles of parenthood, and some parts of it were tough for the mommy in me to watch. If I had seen it a year ago, I would have had to be carried out of the theater.

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