Monday, April 6, 2009

My that was SO refreshing!

I went away this weekend to visit my mom. Generally, 'taking the baby and going to mother's house' is viewed as a little girls getaway, and/or indication of serious marital trouble. In this case it was neither (although, upon arriving home from this somewhat 'challenging' trip and seeing the dishes STILL undone, there was a small bit of, et-hem, relational discord, shall we say - Love you baby! really ;-)).
This trip was not the relaxarama one would think for a few reasons - 1) mom lives 4 hours away. Driving alone for 4 hours with a one year old is not something that ever shows up on a list of relaxing spa services. Cause it's not relaxing. At all. Not even remotely. Even when the baby is quiet, you still can't relax cause it's not a baby - it's a ticking shrieking timebomb and it could GO OFF AT ANY TIME!
Reason number 2 this was not a chillathon - the baby is teething. Yes, a giant chunk of enamel is boring it's way through her gum. I can't blame her for being a crankhead, when you look at it that way, but it doesn't make her any more pleasant to be around. So of course that means she wants to be around you ALL THE TIME. Add that to her being at the clingy age in general and you get a small ill natured barnacle that freaks the everloving F OUT whenever it is pried from your hip and you move outside of the pre-approved one yard radius. Not out of eyesight mind you, just more that 3 feet away, and the infant alarm at 140 dbs starts wailing.
Number 3? Mom's house isn't baby proofed. There is a baby gate to keep her from plummeting down the stairs, but other then that, free for all. This means constant adult supervision is required. And there really aren't many baby restraining devices at my parents house that we can use anymore. The bouncy seat is nothing but chains and handcuffs to a mini Houdini and buys me nothing but a 30 second head start - ergo useless. Considering she wrapped herself around any limb she could get a-hold to, this did have the positive side effect of reducing the chance she'd grab the gallon of bleach and start licking it, or whatever. She was too busy adhering to me to bother... mostly. I won't go into the whole wine bottle battle of wills, but suffice it to say she can't reach the counter top, and I can, so nenner nenner.
And the last reason that it wasn't a cold chillin' weekend, is my mom has MS. Which is why I went down in the first place. My dad had an out of town trip planned, and it seemed like a long time for her to be alone. Mom's at the stage now where her strength is waning, so if she falls, it can be hours before she gets herself back up. Her neighbors who usually look in were busy with cancer surgery (for God sake) so they weren't available. My dad is on duty 24/7 though, and he NEEDED this trip, so enter us.
Mom can't move far or fast, so her vs. a motivated crawling baby is no match - I was on my own with the Critter. And Mom isn't really able to whip together dinner any more - she is on the pointy end of the 'cognitive effects' bell curve for MS, and has trouble staying on track. Things burn, ingredients get left out, and she gets exhausted 1/2 way through. So the weekend was filled with my week-a-day chores of baby care (with a +2 difficulty for teething and location) and cooking and cleaning, so mom could eat something that didn't come from take out or a microwave and so dad wouldn't come home to more work with a leftover mess. Sandwiched between 2 4-hour drives. Um, whee. This was, in fact, the definition of an anti-relaxation weekend on logistics alone, forget about the emotional component of having to parent your own parent while parenting your one child. No. I did not relax.
But for all the stress and baby shrieks and dishes, it was worth every second. Because it was also filled with the baby crawling over to cling to grandmas leg by day 3, and three generations of giggles when the little one decided that peek-a-boo behind a toy cow is THE BEST THING EVAR! This weekend, for all it's challenges, was a great gift for all of us, and I know it and am grateful for it.
That being said, I'd really rather a spa trip next time, so, you know, if you are making plans...

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