We’ve been staying with my parents for a week and a half. There’s been the expected amount of Not by the neck. NOT BY THE NECK! And a little Can’t I please just sit on the toilet and fucking read two pages of Time magazine without anyone barging through the door on me? But much less of that than you might think, and also plenty of I can hardly believe this beautiful family is mine.
Christmas Eve: magical. Ingrid stayed up late with the grownups to drink tea, eat cookies, and watch the angel chimes fly in circles. My dad read The Night Before Christmas, and she listened solemnly, then asked me to read it once. We left a plate of cookies out for Santa. My dad suggested we leave a carrot or two for the reindeer, and Ingrid looked at him in a puzzled and quiet way for a minute before correcting him: I think reindeer eat snow.
My worries about Christmas gift squabbles were mostly unfounded. I’m glad I got two choo choo trains, as both girls are borderline obsessed with them. But Christmas morning was really relatively peaceful. Ingrid remembered to say thank you, and they both were so swept up in the whole experience (passing out gifts, messing around with ribbons, etc. etc.) that the specifics of who opened or played with what were pretty insignificant.
Iris has taken to calling my mom Nanoo. She is about as charming as a kid can get: 17 months old, with big brown eyes, red curls, and three bottom teeth. However, she is teething (I think) and wants to nurse constantly, which at times is sweet but at other times (party with my parents’ many smart creative childless friends) makes me feel a bit undignified and a little less than human.
We took a three-hour train trip for a family reunion and a one-day stay. We should have guessed (but didn’t) that motion-sensitive Iris would hate the train. She screamed for the first hour of the trip, poor thing, then fell asleep in A’s arms, then woke up and cried for another 15 minutes before ending the trip somewhat happy. Even in the middle of crying, she’d stop for a breath or two when she heard the train whistle and imitate it exactly on pitch.
Ingrid has been a super traveller this whole time. We’re not without the usual drama (having her hair brushed! having to eat food besides cereal!), but she’s taken all the change and newness—the plane ride, the train trip, the hotel stay—with patient fascination. I’m really proud of her, and a little in awe, and I can picture a day not too long from now when they’re both old enough to have a fantastic time on a family trip. What a relief to think of their interests and ours becoming more aligned in that area.
The other morning we visited with our friends E and C and their one-month-old daughter, their first child, and then today we hung out with my brother’s friends and their two-month-old. I’ve got to write more about that later, because they look so exhausted and optimistic and make me feel so wizened.
We head home tomorrow, overstuffed and in need of sugar detox, but pretty content. Happy new year.