Sunday, November 26, 2006

The limits of celebration

Earlier today, instead of sitting down to a gourmet kosher Thanksgiving feast, we stayed at home, doing laundry and watching the kids nap.

We are traffic wimps. Our invitation to dine this Sunday was several exits down the New Jersey Turnpike, and we realized that we could have been trapped both ways—in football traffic on the way there and the frenzied post-Holiday-weekend traffic upon our return. The food would have been spectacular, particularly compared to what I offered up on Thursday (no pie, sadly), but the prospect of an afternoon with friends turning into an eight-hour odyssey of taillights and state troopers and an inconsolably screaming baby and a no-nap toddler....well, it was just too much.

Some other holiday bits:

I am very thankful for our washing machine and dryer. Although we were away for only three days, AM managed to pee, poop, spit up on, or otherwise soil almost everything I had brought for him to wear (at least 80% of his clothes that fit right now).

Thirty-six hours was a good amount of time to be with the kids in an unbabyproofed, toddler-unfriendly environment. Any more and I think people would have lost their minds. Or a body part.

AM's stranger anxiety manifests itself in an amusing way: he'll go to pretty much anyone, but then he takes a good, calculating look at whoever is holding him. His face crumples and he starts up with an "Oh crap, you're not my ema!" wail. He's totally happy flitting about on the floor, though, no matter where we are.

I am thankful that my dad and stepmom paid a lot of attention to redoing "my" room in their house. As a guest room, it's a little cramped for a family of four, but the mattresses are so nice. The furniture is tasteful. It's pretty. The blankets are soft. The pillows are fluffy. I don't know that I would have noticed these things five years ago, but I slept quite well (when AM wasn't hacking up a lung) so I really appreciated it.

The 7:1 person-to-bathroom ratio in my parents' house really turned out to be 5:1, because the diaper brigade doesn't count and two family members basically showed up only for dinner. My worries were unfounded.

My cousin, B, was so incredibly good with the kids. He was constantly reaching out to hold AM; he read to Miss M and listened to her blather on. He's 24! He's always been a sweetheart, but I made a point of telling him that a man who's great with kids is very attractive. (It was to me!) Some girl is going to be really lucky to snag him--once his ex-girlfriend stops breaking up with him.

The Philadelphia suburb where my parents live has been reinventing itself for years. Now it's the first "fair trade" town in America, meaning that every merchant and restaurant in town has committed to carrying or serving one fair trade product. It's a nice idea if it makes people think, but would it be jaded to say that probably 95 percent of the people who will visit those establishments could care less?

Traveling at bedtime and naptime was stellar. AM conked out right away after the mandatory carseat protest; Miss M amused herself babbling about airplanes and cars for a bit and then slept. And Taxman and I had a fleeting sense that we could have an actual conversation.

It was a good trip and great to see my family—I wish we saw them more often—but I am always relieved to get home. Does this make me the Dork of the Universe? Or automatically 80 years old?

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