We went on vacation. We stayed with my parents in Seattle and drove with them to the house on the Oregon coast where we went every summer of my childhood, and I said this last time we traveled, but it’s even more true now: this was the best trip we have taken since May was born.
It was so easy. We didn’t bring diapers. We had fun. On the plane on the way there, I knit three quarters of a mitten and A read the paper and the girls spied things in the I Spy book and drew pictures and asked questions and learned phonics from my iPhone. They were excited about everything: seeing airplanes. Riding in an airplane. Drinking apple juice in an airplane. Talking about the stuff going on outside the airplane. And then: the matching big wheels Grammy Sue had procured, and the broad, dead-end alley/driveway where they could ride in circles to their hearts’ content. The crotchety cat who didn’t scratch them once. The ocean. The pink and white circus animal cookies. It was all an adventure.
(I was pretty excited about the cookies, too, although now I’ve moved on to enjoying some exotic candy bars that a friend gave us. Wunderbars. Do you know these? Cadbury’s. He got them in either Canada or Australia; I am going to need to find out where and then begin the emigration process immediately. They are like Butterfingers but with better chocolate and a thick layer of caramel.)
The two tiny bumps in the road were all about August’s bodily fluids. One night, standing on my folks’ nice wool living room carpet, she threw up a half pint of raspberry yogurt (still not sure why; one time only. Fatigue? Bad yogurt?) and, proving once and for all that childhood brainwashing can trump both ordinary self-protection and maternal love, I threw my whole being into protecting the carpet, catching a big double-handful of vomit in midair before yelling for someone to help comfort poor sick August while I washed my hands.
The other thing was about those infernal auto-flushing toilets, which all airports, save for the S concourse of Sea-Tac, have in all locations, even the “family restrooms” where you can be sure small children will be venturing, ripe for trauma. I covered up the electronic eye; they were still terrified, and, as an indirect result, August, who also refuses to use potties on airplanes (“It have bubbles in it.”) peed herself right in her seat. Which we soaked up as best we could and then told the flight attendants about on our way out. “Thanks for your help, and by the way 38-B is soaked with urine.”
Good things: We met Eva and her Little Girl, who it turns out are real people and not figments of my internet imagination, and who are every bit as funny and pleasant and interesting as you’d expect. We went to a playground together and saw a view and hunted horse chestnuts. Later, with another friend, we ate croques monsieurs at a bistro where August conked out with her head on my shoulder, and then drank really good coffee and ate terrific salami. We drove to the beach. We climbed a mountain, mostly carrying girls on our backs, and I’m still sore. We made blackberry pie and huckleberry pancakes, and the kids did lots and lots of the foraging and picking and sorting of berries. May and August frolicked naked in the ocean, and May yelled “This is so much fun!” over the roar of the waves, over and over.
And now we’re home; it’s A’s birthday, and have you ever heard of a good birthday that included a flight from the left-hand side of the country to the middle of the country? No, of course not. Poor guy. But after we revived our garden and dumped the contents of our suitcases into the washing machine, we did take a pretty terrific bike ride and eat, all four of us, at a great outdoor place. It turns out all four of us love fried calamari, and as we ate we made a list of those among the world’s foods of which that is true. Surprisingly few: corn on the cob, raspberries, and an exhaustive collection of desserts. The combination of August’s tender palate and the adults’ interest in flavor narrows the field considerably. We ate ice cream together (on the list) before biking home, and then spent two and a half hours trying to get May to sleep. (She was worried that she’d get a tummyache. Also, worried that worrying about getting a tummyache would give her a tummyache. Translation: Overtired, jetlagged, and very smart.) And then we went to bed and I was almost asleep when I heard some type of bird, animal, or something making a hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo noise outside. At first I thought it was a rooster, but it was more raccoon-slash-owl-like, only less owl than the stereotypical ‘hoo’ spelling might lead you to believe, and I’d never heard it before, and I got up to try to record it because I knew I’d never be able to replicate it to properly ID it (already can’t), but just ended up standing on the front steps in my PJs for five minutes hearing nothing. What could it have been?
All I ate today is a two-dollar danish at the airport and a 15-calorie Americano (Seattle’s Best Coffee: they list calorie amounts for every beverage, on the menu-thing on the wall. Have I been in the Midwest too long or does that seem odd?) and that yummy dinner, and I have a feeling that if we had any cheese in the house I could down a few slices of it and doze off, but all we have (er, had) are (were) those Wunderbars, and sedation is not among their many beneficial effects. I will now bring the recording device to bed so that I can lie in wait for the hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo while hoping for sleep.