We're headed home this evening, so yesterday was our last full day of vacation. My sister's two older kids are now on spring break, and they left yesterday morning to visit their father up in Pennsylvania. I decided to give my sister a little break from motherhood and offered to take the baby for the day (I took my own child as well, of course). It's been a while since I've had a baby in my care, but I figured maybe it's akin to the old adage about riding a bike. The thing about my nephew is . . . aside from being so adorable that women at the mall have a minor cardiac event when he smiles at them, he's also a very happy, easygoing kid. I know babies sometimes go through fear stages where they don't want anyone but mom or dad to hold them, but at this point I think my nephew would hang out with Charles Manson as long as he was properly stocked with bottles and diapers.
So, off we went. I did forget how long everything takes with a five-month-old baby in tow. Also, I forgot just how unremarkable my upper body strength is. Despite taking a gazillion yoga classes and all that planking over the past year and a half, my biceps are an embarrassment. I could barely lift my nephew in his baby carrier. Of course, in my defense, he is a big kid and his skull is pretty sizable. Anyway, we headed to Tyson's Corner, as I was convinced there is a Disney Store there. When we arrived at the mall, I unloaded the stroller, grabbed the bag o'baby stuff, and hoisted the baby and his carrier onto the stroller. My daughter was cold and asked me to help her zip her hoodie. I, being the stellar mother that I am, zipped it up and, in my haste, managed to get her chin caught in the zipper. Lots of tears followed. When we got inside, we learned that the Disney Store is closed for renovation. So, it was in that vulnerable moment that my daughter spotted a Build-a-Bear. Fifteen minutes later, she had a purple Hello Kitty (who was sporting a pink sequined dress . . . you know, like cats do).
I picked up a couple of bath bombs from the Lush store, and then we headed over to my grandma's house to have lunch with my stad and grandma (but not before I unleashed some unmotherly adjectives at my nephew's stroller in the parking lot - I guess I also forgot how to fold a stroller). Once we reached our destination, we had a really nice visit. A was thrilled to see her beloved Granddaddy and hang out with him for a little while. My grandma pulled out an ooooold high chair and rigged it with cushions and towels and whatnot for my nephew. He happily sat in the chair and flung his toys on the floor while we had lunch. He doesn't sit up on his own 100% yet, so my grandma tied a dog leash around his rib cage to make sure he didn't slip out. She suggested that maybe I shouldn't mention the dog leash to my sister.
After we left my grandmother's house, everyone was still in a good mood so I decided to stop at another mall (Fair Oaks) on the way to my sister's house. I am in search of some shoes for my daughter to take on our Disney trip next month . . . something sort of like Keens or Tevas, but less ugly. A sandal that's good for walking long distances on hot days, in other words.
My stad had given my daughter a mylar balloon during our visit. I, without thinking, opened the back of my sister's SUV (to retrieve the unruly stroller) once we arrived at the mall. The balloon, as if waiting for its opportunity to be free, flung itself out the open door and was out of reach in a split second. I watched as the balloon drifted up into the heavens. Shit! More tears.
Since rush hour was kicking in and we had nowhere in particular we had to be, we hung out at the mall for a while and had pretzels and whatnot. My nephew kept himself busy by casting spells on random ladies at the mall. At Gymboree, the staff was on him like white on rice. The ladies asked me if he is always so happy and smiley. I said that I'd just met him a few days before but that yes, my impression is that he is perpetually cheerful. Realizing that it may have sounded as though I'd just abducted him, I did explain that he is my nephew and that I was giving my sister a break yada yada yada.
When we got back to my sister's house, I confirmed that I'd brought back the right baby and declared myself off duty (but not before implying that my sister and her boyfriend had done "it" in every room while they had the house to themselves all day). My sister has a huge bathtub so I ended the evening with a quiet bath, using one of my new bath bombs. My sister even set her ipad to play spa music and lit some candles for me. A girl could get used to this.
But, the party is just about over. See you on the flip side.