The boy and I had a great time in Wisconsin with the extended family. The flight in was pretty uneventful, with a bit of crankiness during take-off and landing. The flight was nowhere near full, so we had almost the whole back end of the plane to ourselves. One or two other passengers were near, but they enjoyed the flirtatious toddler in their midst, and the flight attendant thankfully distracted M during our final descent with a rousing game of peek-a-boo.
After I almost missed my parents at the airport, I managed to get my cell phone to work long enough to call and find them. We had breakfast and spent the rest of the day at their house. We took a walk to the park, ate hamburgers for dinner with the in-laws, and all four grandparents thoroughly enjoyed the presence of their very charismatic grandson.
Friday afternoon we had a little shopping to do for a certain sibling of mine who’s getting married in three months. We picked up the wrong color sheets, but at least they were on sale and totally exchangeable. My sister and her fiance along with her future mother-in-law, sister-in-law and two-year-old nephew arrived at our parents’ house later that evening. My brother and his brood, though traveling from a closer location, arrived a bit later.
We had a house full that night, but it sure was fun. We ate a lot, drank a bit, and laughed like crazy. Because that other little one had a later bedtime than mine, and he’s also a bit more… enthusiastic. He discovered that jumping up and down with his head in an empty popcorn tin (one of those big holiday ones that has the three flavors of popcorn inside) not only makes a totally awesome sound, but also results in a whole room full of adults gasping for breath between giggles.
On Saturday afternoon, my sister had her bridal shower. M explored my aunt’s house with his best friend of the weekend, found Mommy when he needed a quick bite to eat here and there, and he finally fell asleep on my back in the Ergo, which many of the guests found completely adorable. It wasn’t as huge a turnout as some other family gatherings have been, but I got the chance to catch up with a few of my favorite relatives and old friends.
That night, I ran around in the cool, wet outside area with my sister’s fiance’s sister’s boy because mine didn’t want to come out with us. He laughed and tired me out. We had some dinner and heard stories about my sister’s future in-laws. It was a pretty quiet and relaxing evening compared to the one before.
In the morning on Sunday, the Minnesota crew prepared to head home after breakfast. We said our goodbyes, and M practiced the new names he had learned– “Anee,” “Ook” and “Nick” –as he waved out the window.
Later in the afternoon, I got together with a friend and we got gelato and stopped by Half Price Books. By the time we were done with that, M’s four grandparents were having such a blast that they made us go back out for dinner. We had sushi and continued to chat about life and stuff. And even though I would have liked seeing a few of my other friends this trip, it was really great to have that one-on-one time.
On Monday, Mom and I went to the mall in search of the perfect dresses for the mother and sister of the bride. Neither of us are very enthusiastic shoppers, so when our couple hours of searching sale racks and trying on arm-fulls of dresses ended in success, we had to celebrate with a cocktail and appetizer at Houlihan’s. We talked some girl talk and headed home to Grandpa and my boy.
The two of them had a great week together. Every morning when he woke up, the first thing M said was “Papa.” He’d point to the door as though asking where Papa was and when would he get to go play with him. He was very much a grandpa’s boy this trip. And Papa couldn’t have been happier. Of course, this made my mom all the more determined to find him a word for “grandma,” since the “gr” and “nd” sounds haven’t quite taken hold of his little tongue yet.
On Monday night, we had dinner with my in-laws again, this time out. We went to the place where my sister’s rehearsal dinner will be, and the food was delicious. After we ate, we said our sad goodbyes in the parking lot, since my flight home was the next afternoon. M gave hugs and kisses generously, and for good measure blew a few more in my in-laws’ direction as he waved bye.
Tuesday morning, I packed our bags, and while M napped, I went to lunch with my dad. It was the kind of afternoon that makes it tough to leave, though I was looking forward to seeing James and getting back into our routine and on with our lives. I dozed on the way to the airport, Mom and Dad both in the car to see us off. Dad dropped Mom off to walk us as far as the security checkpoint. She ran around with M for a little while, putting off the inevitable parting as long as possible. Finally, we said goodbye. As we turned the corner, M waved and said, “Oma.” It wasn’t the first time, but it was a little bit heartbreaking knowing how much she was going to miss him, and how much he wouldn’t even realize he was going to miss her.
At the Milwaukee airport, there is a small play area for kids. As I let him play for awhile, he started saying “honey.” I had no idea what he was asking for or trying to tell me. It almost sounded like, “heiny.” But we don’t use that terminology in our home, so I was pretty sure he didn’t mean butt.
Our flight was delayed. M wasn’t happy. Or he was just tired and klutzy. He tripped near one of the low tables that connects the airport chairs to each other and banged his upper lip pretty good. There was some blood and a bit of screaming. But I got him some water, and he got distracted, calmed, and went back to play. He then proceeded to fall on his head three times. Each time, it was tougher to soothe him. The last time, the flight had already been delayed two hours due to weather in the DC area, and I very rudely woke him after he had just fallen asleep in my arms to get up and change our flight to the next day. We had no idea when the weather would clear, and the idea of spending any more time in the airport with a cranky toddler was far less appealing to me than missing my Wednesday shift at work.
So Mom and Dad picked us up again, and we stopped by the in-laws’ house on our way home. As it happened, they were about to pick up some fried chicken for dinner, and generously offered to include us. So we stayed there for some time. M ate a lot of french fries, veggies and pickles. He was still pretty obviously wiped out from the day, but so happy to spend another night with his grandparents. James was sad, but since he was witnessing the disastrous weather first hand, he understood.
The Wednesday flight home was even less eventful than the one out. M dozed a little during take-off and after that, he was pretty content strapped into the Ergo on my lap. He got to eat some strawberries, some “baked on board” cookies, and he chugged a juice box. He found the turbulence hilarious and was mildly interested in looking out the window as we got closer to the ground. His ears never seemed to bother him once, and he seemed to understand that we were going home and on our way to see Daddy.
My parents call each other “honey” fairly often. So do my husband’s parents. James and I occasionally use the term of endearment with each other, too. M picked up on it while we were staying with mine. Now he repeats it when he hears it. And I guess he probably didn’t know why he was saying it on Tuesday at the airport, after all. He now refers to both grandmas as “Oma,” and it is intentional and almost sounds different from “oatmeal” now, too.