It’s official. The
awards have been handed out, and in the category of Worst parent of the year, I
have gracefully accepted the honor. Or would
that be dishonor? This weekend was crazy
enough to keep anyone (with or without child) busy, but yesterday was the kind
of day that made me doubt my qualifications as a parent.
Let me start with Saturday morning. Every summer, my charming relatives on my
paternal grandmothers’ side host a family reunion to celebrate having an
obscene amount of children. Who knows, maybe there is another reason, but since
my grandmother was one of 17 Portuguese children that is what I like to
believe. I avoided family reunions like
the plague for too many years when I lived in the bay area, but now that I’m in
the same town where it’s held there is no escaping it. I’m actually more interested in them now that
I have a daughter. Something domestic
and sappy kicked in 16months ago and it’s been scrap books and family reunions
(Her family reunion pose)
Life would be all too simple if I were to just wake up and
have to go a few miles and then back home.
GiGi and I crammed the family reunion in between packing for a weekend
of baby shower co-hosting and actually making the 2 hour drive to get there. Let me explain that I am a total over-packer
and no matter how far in advance I pack things and appear ready to go, I will
almost always be an hour late with anything I need to get to. I thought I was prepared for my excursion on
Saturday, but time kept slipping away no matter how hard I tried to latch
on. GiGi cried when I put her in her
crib so that I could take our things to the garage. My plan was to move everything to the garage
while she was in the crib, and then put her in the car and place the stuff from
the garage into the car. That way she
would be super close to me and the crying might cease to exist. No such luck.
She cried buckets of tears and no matter how many times I stopped to
console her it didn’t help. At one point
I picked her up and cuddle on the bed with her and told her that we could both
just have a frustrated cry together since I had just gotten through with
yelling “I’m just one mommy!!!” outloud. It helped, believe it or not. Tears out, smiles back on.
Once we got everything in the car and made it to the family
reunion the crying began again. She wasn’t
happy with anyone else holding her longer than 4 seconds. Usually my parents can hold on to her for
long periods of time, because um, they rock and GiGi knows it. Not this time. She screamed a boatload. My mother took her to a quiet spot under a
tree, thinking that her tears may be a result of the echo under the
aluminum/metal/superduper shading at the park. Maybe she didn’t like the cold
tables, or the loud laughter, or the smell of perfume from people so old they might
have just forgotten that they don’t need to spray that scent 87 times. Just the
one time will do! It could have been the
teeth or other things but Im sure it was the abundance of people in her ear.
She picked up my keys and shook them in my face as she
cried. I took her cue and left.
We made it to Oakland in 2 hours and 18 frickin’ minutes
which made me happy. It felt good to see
my overly pregnant best friend and spend some time with her. She needs to be fed like a wild animal so we
took her to eat and GiGi did very well in the restaurant to my surprise. She ate and acted like a typical child which
is always nice. She practiced the fine
art of putting a fork to her mouth, and after I gave her the second fork she
showed off her amazing drumming talent of banging them together up high as I
shouted “One, two, three, FOUR!!” It’s a
silly thing we do. When it was time to
leave I took the forks from her and unleashed the beast. The screaming, tears, and back arching were
enough to make you stop and stare in disbelief.
I took a deep breath and handed her the forks and put her BACK into the
I was tired.
Frustrated. Not prepared for this
Then I broke a big rule, one that her father and I have
always agreed on and found important. As
a single parent, giving in to the tantrums to save face or to be exempt from
becoming the bad guy is a no-no. It is
for us anyway. There I was though, in
the middle of a busy restaurant handing her tantrum throwing toddler, two forks
to play drums with so that she would stop screaming.
(My little boss)
The hostess, knowing us well from frequent visits, said
goodbye on our way out and told GiGi to have fun with the forks as she threw a
confused look our way. Great. I’m a fucking fork thief. An OBVIOUS fork thief at that…just walking
out with my goods on display. Anouck and
I had laugh at the clepto action we just pulled to make GiGi happy and cringed
a bit at the thought of removing them once again for the car ride. I draw the line at letting her ride in the
car with forks in her little hands. I
may be a fork thief but I am NOT a totally unsafe parent. At least I could monitor her in the
restaurant/stroller with them, but the car – nuh uh.
I took them out of her white knuckled little hands and thus
the screams ensued. Silly me, I put her
in her car seat and she kicked and threw herself around the back seat.
Its times like that, that I take a huge breath, suck in the
parking garage air and look to my best friend to help me make light of the
situation so that I don’t drop to my knees right there in melodramatic fashion
crying out “Whyyyyyyyyyyy?!?!*$^&W*$%!!!”
I handed GiGi a pacifier or sippy cup (I absolutely can’t remember) and
before I could get to the ticket booth out of there – she was fast asleep.
She took a two hour nap and by a later bedtime than usual,
she was ready to snuggle with me and sing bedtime songs. There was an orange glow outside the windows
in the room where we stayed at Anoucks’ house and a muffled melody from the interchangeable
sounds of car alarms and terrible stereos with even worse music…but we slept so
soundly and better than we have anywhere else lately.
And like that, two very urban babies were finally happy and tucked into
the city for the night.
(Part Two/ day two coming soon, complete with injuries and yep – you
guessed it – even more tears! That’s where
I really show up on the bad parent radar)