Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Trip Home

I should clarify the title. It wasn't a trip home for me but for Alex. His family had not seen Adelle since she was born. We were long due for a visit.

Packing was a nightmare. Adelle's belongings take up most of one suitcase. We have to squeeze the rest of our shit into a tiny carry-on. Alex packed everything with apocalyptic efficiency; I was afraid to rearrange anything for fear that the bag would explode. I was useless that morning since I spent most of my time on the phone, trying to talk to our cracked-out broker about the Upper West Side apartment we were bidding on. Our broker is one aggressive chick. As Kathy Griffin says, "She'll cut a bitch!"

Getting to the airport wasn't a problem. It's always the ordeal at the airport that makes my head feels like its splitting. I've blogged about it before and it's always the very last thing on earth I'd rather be doing, even over changing ten poopie diapers in a row.

Going through security with a baby is a premier juggling act. Someone should include this event in the Olympics. Holding onto a baby while taking off your shoes requires major balancing skills. Emptying pockets, putting everything into plastic bags and arranging all your belongings into plastic bins while other people are hurrying you along, is a skill set that a modern mommy must master.

Flying there is a breeze. She's in a good mood. Morning person, like myself, she occupies herself with our trinkets and her toys before dozing off to sleep.

Driving from the airport to Alex's rinky dink hometown is a two hour drive and, by far, the most stressful part of our trip. Adelle likes the car for the first hour but HATES the second. We stopped a total of six times, each time, my mother-in-law telling me to nurse her when, in fact, it was just pissing her off. Imagine someone trying to shove a nipple into your mouth every time you complain.

Okay, so we finally arrive at his house that looks like a mansion on a hill. His parents own ten acres which his mother still gripes is not enough land. Given that we just purchased a 700 sq ft apartment for the same amount of money, we're a bit jaded with real estate prices.

The whole week flew by; relatives left and right, babies galore, and scrumptious dinners were rampant during the trip. However, there are a few things that stood out to me.

Adelle went into people shock. Formerly accustomed to living in a tiny apt with her parents and only seeing strangers in limited quantities of time, she officially freaked out when she met the clan of relatives. Number thirteen in a line of copious grandchildren, she hardly knew what to do with her half asian self.

Leo, my favorite nephew of the trip, charmed me with his big eyes, crazy facial gestures, and surprising affection for Adelle. He is also quite an entrepreneur.

After his cousin's birthday party, we were left with a tray of uneaten peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. Hating to see the food go to waste, I dared Leo to an eating challenge.

"If you eat half that tray, I'll give you ten bucks."
"What bout ten (mini) sandwiches?" Like the maverick that he is, he bargains.
"Ok, if you eat ten, you get the money. Pace yourself."

He sits down and starts chomping away. Five minutes later, he catches my eye as he holds up his fourth sandwich.

"Jo, this is four."
"Okay," I reply, confirming that I saw his evidence.

The next day, he sits down and finishes his last sandwich. He doesn't know that I would've given him the money even if he didn't accomplish his task, but he proudly waves his hands and signals that the challenge is done, finito, finit.

I pay him the ten dollars and his eyes gleam with curiosity and pride. He is really a cute kid.

He tells me that he's going to save the five dollar bill for something special. I want to eat this kid up.

The next day, we go to the local park. There are kids in every crevice and nook of this playground. Leo is playing happily with his cousins until the ice cream truck comes along. The 'Pop Goes the Weasel' anthem blares across the field and kids come running. I spot Leo among them.

Later, his mom tells me that he almost splurged on the ice cream temptation, but decided against it. Wise choice, young Jedi.

While I was nursing Adelle in the car, I also had my first 'red neck' experience. I find that term a bit degrading, but how else would I describe the following experience? With my boob halfway out of my shirt, I hear a rough Southern accent. "Boy, you git on back here and hep your mama wid da bags." As the little boy ran back to the car, his papa slaps him on the behind. I turn and look towards a man who has a hat tilted askew with his hand down the front of his jean shorts. Without warning, he changes out of his shorts and into a pair of low slung jeans. Last I checked, the space between two cars did not qualify as a changing room. I try not to look at his pale behind, but its moon shaped image is reflected on the car window to my right. I almost gag.
I involuntarily jerk from the shock and Adelle unlatches to belt out in enormous hungry/cranky/tired protest.

To my horror, the guy hears the commotion and walks to the front of the car. "Whas dat hollerin bout?" he says as he peers inside. At first, I try to be as still as possible. (For some reason, my mind rationalizes that if he can't hear me, he can't see me). Meanwhile, milk is shooting out of breast, Adelle's face is getting hosed with milk and the guy is still staring. What the fuck? This guy is either a pervert or completely stupid, probably both.

I look at him with total annoyance and he finally gets the hint. He does a fake limp walk back to his picnic bench. Why do men do this? How is imitating semi-paralysis supposed to be attractive?

With less noise, I attempt to nurse her again, but she is pissed off. Adelle is the most finnicky eater out there. Ever a gourmand, she must have the perfect temperature, mood, position, and amount of hunger in order to nurse. Yes, I am partially to blame. I think she gets her pickiness from me.

The rest of the trip goes well until the trip back to the airport, but that deserves another entry.

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