Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Thanksgiving (Thankfully it's over!)

I called my mother about a week ago to see if the family is getting together at their house for Thanksgiving. Usually our whole extended family, all the aunts, uncles, cousins and their countless offspring converge at a little community hall that many of the relatives are members of. It's not much really. Just a long rectangular building with a good sized kitchen at the back, and at the other end, lots of tables and chairs. Between these two ends is a section that works very well for a buffet station. Well, bad news arrived earlier this year when the town sold the hall. That, it appears, will be the end of the huge 100+ people Thanksgiving dinners we did every year. It's a shame really, because aside from weddings, funerals, and other cheery gatherings, that's about the only time we all got to see each other.

Where was I? Oh yes. I called my mother to see if they were having dinner at their place as is often assumed. I was planning on having Brynn overnight on Saturday, so I would bring her along to be with the family. My mother's response was pretty non-commital.

"Oh, I don't know. My hands have been bothering me so much (arthritis). I peeled three potatoes last night and they hurt so bad I couldn't even cut them up. I won't be able to do everything, and I won't be able to bake."
"Well, who said you have to do everything? We can all cook. We can all bring a dish and just get together there to see each other. There's enough of us to do that, you could just sit back and relax."
"Well....we'll see."

So I set to my scheming. I e-mailed my sister. She's what I consider to be the voice of sanity in my family. I wrote to see if she was willing to go along with the plan to have everyone bring something. A few days passed and I hadn't yet heard back from my sister, and I was sidetracked with work and life in general, and finally got the chance to call her on Friday night. Naturally, I got the answering machine.

I had to work on Saturday, and after that I picked Brynn up from her mother and brought her home to our place. The younger the child, the more stuff you have to cart along. I had her swing taking up the trunk. I had her exersaucer in the back seat beside her, and her stroller in the passenger seat. I need a bigger vehicle. This Accord isn't cutting it with a child.

Not only did The Squeeze have to work that day too, but he didn't get home until around 8 or so (it's a blur, really). I was so pre-occupied looking after the baby, trying to keep her happy and again beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed whenever she was fussing. Thank God for a little toy that my friend Joanna gave her the night before. It kept her occupied and happy for the most part. After The Squeeze got home and I had Brynn down for a nap, my sister called me back. Turns out they were in Vegas for the week and just got in Saturday morning. So, after doing laundry and all that other necessary 'back from vacation' stuff, she gave me a call. It turns out that her daughter (my niece) was told by my mother that dinner was, in fact, happening at their place and that I was coming with the baby. Wha? OK, nice that I was told about it! Apparently my mother was making the turkey, her usual crock-pot full of sausage stuffing, and a huge pot of potatoes was already peeled and ready to go. My sister was bringing a broccoli dish, and my sister-in-law was bringing a salad. Why, oh, why am I always the last to know? Of course, since I now have the baby with me, any chance of making something to bring along is nil.

After fighting to set up her collapsable playpen/basinette and giving Brynn her 10 pm bottle and putting her down until her 2 am (or whenever) bottle, we got to bed too. Fortunately she slept until around 3:30, was fed and put back down without incident until the 6 am feeding. After that one, I put her in bed between The Squeeze and I and she snuggled up against me. OHMYGOD it was so sweet! I can't express the total bond I was feeling not only at that point, but also while feeding her, cradled in my arm, and having her hold and squeeze my thumb and finger with her tiny hands. I probably got about two or three hours of sleep in total that night, but I was feeling alright.

I gave her another bottle around 10 am, got her washed, and changed her into the cutest little pink frilly dress and white leotard with pink puffy shorts. She was smiling and laughing most of the time...until I had to put on her little sweater and hat. She HATES hats. We got her into the car and started our drive to Hooterville. There was a bit of crying at the start, but that quickly faded as she drifted off to sleep again. The only thing I could think of to bring to dinner was some treats. Carrot cake, fudge brownies, date squares...things like that which could easily be bought at the local grocery store. So I ran into the store to grab them while The Squeeze comforted the again crying baby. She's fine in that car seat as long as it's moving.

We arrived at my parents' house around noon, and as soon as we took the blanket from the top of her car seat all hell broke loose. The house was holding over 20 people, and I think it was a bit much for Brynn to take. My sister bent down close to see her, and Brynn just started to wail. The Squeeze and I took her out to the sunroom where it was quiet and got her settled. But as soon as anyone else came up to see her, she would break out crying again. She was NOT a happy camper. The Squeeze and I decided to spell each other off so we could get something to eat. I wasn't feeling much like eating, and had just a spoon of a few things and a piece of turkey. We were taking turns with Brynn in my parents' bedroom since it was the quietest place in the house. She was fine sleeping propped against our shoulders, but as soon as we tried to cradle her she would start the crying again. It became clear that we needed to take her home to her mother. She's got the magic touch. So we packed everything up and left by 2:00. Shortest. Thanksgiving. Ever.

She got very worked up in the car. The crying got worse and as I was driving, I just got so distressed. The Squeeze asked if I would like to get in the back and have him drive. It sounded good. So I managed to wedge my plentiful ass between the seat and the door frame and sit beside Brynn. She was very red, very teary, and her cries were interrupted with phlegmy coughs. I managed to distract her after a few minutes with a little toy I hung in front of her, and she drifted off to sleep at last.

We finally got her to Weezie's place and once I got myself extricated from the back seat we went in to visit for a few minutes. Brynn was back to her old self again, smiling and laughing in her mother's arms. How can I not take it personally? The thought of taking her for a week in February as planned is scaring the hell out of me.

Thanksgiving Monday we had The Squeeze's brothers and nephews over. We managed to get the house cleaned up and orderly before they got there and I was feeling pretty organized. Dinner went well, despite the fact that I hadn't yet excavated my turkey platter, gravy boat or wine glasses from the mountain of boxes in our garage. When our guests left and everything was cleaned up we went downstairs and flopped in front of the TV for a bit before bed.

Now that all of that is behind us, I'm making some phone calls today. I think it's time to trade in my beloved 2003 Accord for a 2003 Pilot I saw at a local dealership. Honda has made a great SUV, and even though I've always thought SUVs were for idiots, it's a matter of practicality. This thing can hold 8 people. Or two adults, one baby, and a mountain of accessories. The best part is that I won't need the jaws of life to pull me out if I ever need to sit in the back with Brynn.

Nothing like a baby to disrupt a normally sedate life, is there? You know, you haven't posted a picture in a while...just saying.

Thanksgiving sounded a tad hectic. I hope you get to relax soon.
Ya, it was a bit of a nightmare. But I'm hoping that every day brings less grief...until she hits her teens, then I'm checking myself into an asylum.
I know...I'm planning on posting a pic or two in the next week if all goes well.
Ah hah!! Now you know how the back seat feels! Sucker!

Well - that was very sweet - the picture you painted of the two of you snuggled in bed. And also the image of the two of you in your matching pink frilly dresses with white leotards with puffy shorts. Very endearing.

I look forward to talking with you soon about the whole mama bonding vs papa bonding thing. Very intriguing and I'd like to share my ideas.

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