Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Okay, so...

Per my Photographs and Memories post below, I'm okay with the fact that I didn't get any real pics of mine and E's trip Saturday.

There were so many firsts for her--first mommy/daughter day trip, first daytime ferry ride, first shopping outing with the girls, first time all 4 generations have been together on my mom's side.

And did I take any pictures? Nope. I was slightly overwhelmed... Though my mom insists that E could most-definitely, without-a-doubt travel 5 hours to her house, I knew just the trip across the lake would be a challenge. My Mommy Gauge is pretty spot-on... you know, the same gauge that tells you how full a diaper is by the sound of it filling up. I know E's carseat limit is 1 hour and 15 minutes--and the last 15 minutes consists of [bearable] whining and sobbing. After that, it escalates. The entire drive took an hour and a half plus 15 minutes of screeching, but we made it!

I got an early start at 8am (at E's best travel time) planning to get back home by 4 or 5pm at the latest. My mom planned on being there at about 11:30am. Then we were going to head to Gram's together. I visited with my aunt a few hours. Then we got a call from my mom that she was running late. She didn't arrive until 2pm! By that time, E was fussing, but she was being a good sport after a half-hour nap and some toy distractions. At home, she would have taken at least a 2-hour long nap, but I crossed my fingers and hoped she'd be on her best behavior as my mom arrived, and she and my aunt decided to go out to lunch.

I put E back in her carseat, and off we went to the local pizza shop. I kept her in her carseat while we ate. The health-conscious ladies chose salads. I had had salad for dinner the night before and didn't want to double up on that much roughage before getting back on the ferry. Want to know what it's like to use the ferry bathroom? Just sit on a bucket in a canoe at Typhoon Lagoon.

As E started to fuss, I got distracted and opted for the next logical entree: the "Original Deluxe Nachos". As soon as it arrived, I knew I had made a horrible mistake. I haven't even eaten anything like this since my gallbladder surgery. The nacho chips were barely peeking out under a mountain of cheese, olives, tomatoes, onions, and taco meat. I nibbled nervously. Meanwhile, Ell decided to give me a visual warning, a dark omen, if you will, about what nachos do to my system... by completely pooping her pants (and carseat). Good grief.

My aunt suggested I take her to the restroom to change her. They had no changing table or counter space in there. I had no choice but to clean her up on the bench Mom and I were sitting on. Mom helped, God bless her. Her "it's just poop" attitude and extra hands made it all better.

Now that she was all clean, Aunt Mary offered to hold her. She held E in front of her, sitting her on the edge of the table. I try to tell people--E comes with only one disclaimer: She is not your typical 4-month-old. She's already very skillfully grabbing things, trying to eat them, and jumping/wiggling when you least expect it. Without warning E spotted the glasses of ice water on the table and... "Waaant!!" In one motion, she grabbed for them, knocked them over, and drenched herself and Aunt Mary. I know there's a God because, though E had just pooped through her onesie and all up her side, her pants had no poop on them. I still had a spare pair! "This is the time of miracles..."

We paid our bill, left a big tip, and left. As we made our way out to the car Mom turned to me and said, "Want to go to Target?!" I thought, "Really? Why push our luck?" But nothing keeps the Strange gals down--especially when Mom promises to buy us some much-needed baby gear! Aunt Mary opted to go home and change out of her wet clothes.

We got Ellie in my car, and Mom decided to ride with me. As we were pulling out of the pizza place parking lot, I saw what looked like a pile of laundry in the grassy ditch on the other side of the road. I watch a lot of Investigation Discovery, so I jokingly said, "Haha! What is that? A body?" My mother giggled and said, "No..." But as we pulled out further onto the road, we could see jeans, socks, shoes, and in them: legs! Feet! I almost drove right across the highway and into the ditch as the figure rolled over and sat up, grabbed a newspaper and opened it, propping it on his knee to read. My mom concluded that it was just a truck driver taking a break. I don't know where his truck was, but Mom and I got giggling about it, and I finally relaxed a bit.

We drove to the mall, and Mom bubbly talked about which toys Ell would need to stay entertained at the 4-month-old stage. As we pulled into the mall parking lot, it hit me. This was the mall Mom always took me to when I was a baby. We couldn't afford much, but we'd just walk the stores and have lunch at the food court. Target is now at the far end of the mall, where the department store, Hills, once was. This mall was our special place, our escape, our girls' day. Now I was in the same place, with my daughter. I loaded E's carseat onto the stroller base, and as I pushed her toward the entrance I looked at my mom with a big grin and said, "This is fun!"

Mom picked up some much needed items for E, we waited far too long in line for coffees at Starbucks, and we finally went to visit my poor, sick grandmother! I purposely only wanted to spend about an hour there, as to not overwhelm her with the excitement of the baby and all, but I wished I had spent a little more time with her after our hectic afternoon.

Gram perked up with us there, and we had a nice visit. Though she's definitely in pain with some large kidney stones that will require surgery, she's doing okay and still alert and smart as ever. She's become close with her neighbor, Jean, who's been helping care for her. They live right next door to each other in an apartment building for independent seniors. Jean insisted we stop by to show her the baby. Ellie's famous among the seniors... We scooted next door before I left, and Jean, a sweet, little, Italian woman, welcomed us into her apartment. It was immaculate. The June-Cleaver generation in all its glory. Old furniture, beautiful old paintings on the wall... and a massive flat-screen TV. Woah, Jean. -Must have been a gift from her kids. We chatted for a few minutes, her soft, squeaky, submissive 1950s voice cooing over the baby. Then she said, with a twinkle in her eye, "Do you know that babies love to fight? Even at her age, 4-months-old, they'll fight." She paused, grinning, then said cheerily, "I like to watch!" and broke into a fit of giggles.

Mom and I glanced at each other and got laughing so hard we could barely breathe. I shared some of E's day care stories about baby kicking matches, and we headed back down the hall to Gram's.

It was now 6pm! I knew we'd be hitting E's carseat limit right about at her bed time (which happened exactly as I predicted, but we made it home okay).

As I was leaving Gram's, I remembered all the times she took us to Bingo as kids, and all the times we misbehaved in front of the senior ladies, like the time my cousin, Kyle, came back from the bathroom and yelled loud enough for all to hear, "Grandma!! Somebody pooped in the urinal!".

This is the woman who helped raise us, all 8 grandkids, after raising 6 kids of her own. I still hear her voice as clearly as my own mother's, "Kyle!! Are you crazy?! Be quiet! Watch your cards, you'll miss your bingo!!" But more than that, I remember her looking back down at her own cards and trying to hide a smile.

I came back from my daydream, and said, "You know, Gram, when you're feeling better, I'd love to come over and take Ellie to Bingo." I wanted to give her (and me) something to look forward to, but I know that she knew I was worried about her. She got that old sparkle in her eye and said, "We will. I've fought through a lot worse than this you know."

She laughed, and I knew what she meant... She's survived illness, surgeries, etc., and also the Strange family. (And so can I!)

P.S. I never got sick on the ferry, but I did consider pulling over on the side of the road and taking a nap in the ditch.


Cassandra Henri said...

Hahaha... "This is the time for miracles..." oh boy and that old lady... how funny.

Gretchin said...

Haha!! Thanks for reading!