The vacation part of vacation was actually very fun: catching up with aunts, uncles, cousins, and second-cousins; seeing my sister and her fiance; attending/working at my sister’s wedding shower; letting my parents spend time with their grandchildren; staying up playing games and laughing our heads off. Of course, staying up late had consequences because Michael was not having it.
By “it” I mean sleeping through the night in a wholly unfamiliar place. Michael simply refused to do it. He wasn’t inconsolable; he didn’t scream his head off; and during the day he napped (under protest) and was generally very sweet and pleasant.
But he would go “to bed” at 9 or 10 p.m., and he would be up at 2 or 3 a.m., and he would not go back to sleep in his pack ‘n’ play (in a room with his sisters). He would doze off on me while I was reclining on a couch downstairs; he would sleep for a little while in bed with Dan and me. But if he fussed in our bed, I did go downstairs because there was no point in both Dan and me being incredibly sleep deprived. On Sunday morning at 3:30 a.m., Dan took Michael for an hour-and-a-half car ride so he would sleep and I could sleep, and when they got home at 5 a.m., he was right back up and I took over again.
I’m sure Michael’s perspective was something like this: “I don’t know where I am; I don’t know why I am in this room with my sisters. This place doesn’t smell like home; this place doesn’t sound like home. Who are all these people?* What is that thing that keeps licking my face when I’m on the floor?** You cannot honestly expect me to be able to soothe myself back to sleep in this state of anxiety, woman! Get in here and reassure me, stat.”
So, yeah. As per usual, “vacation” with kids isn’t really vacation. But interaction with most of my cousins, who now have tweens and teens (how did THAT happen?), gives me hope that someday I won’t have to schedule my “vacation” time around meals and naps, and I’ll be able to read a book while my kids splash in the pool as opposed to actually being in the pool with them myself. Someday, in other words, I will be able to balance vacation and “vacation”, and so I will probably continue to “vacation” with my extended family because it is totally worth it, especially when my Aunt J talks smack over Catch Phrase.
Other vacation notes:
My sister got a gift from our late Grandmother, a crocheted blanket. It was something Olympia must have planned nearly five years ago, and opening it and seeing the card (written by my mother in the voice of my grandma) was quite an emotional wallop. In a good way, but I went from zero to tears in under 60 seconds.
Michael perfected his wave good-bye to general praise and hilarity from the extended relatives. He also learned how to play “peek-a-boo” with me. I forgot how hysterical babies find peek-a-boo, and his belly laughs made me forgive his sleeplessness. Because baby belly laughs are the best.
When we got home Sunday, Michael crawled around with an ear-to-ear grin on his face. It could not have been more apparent that he was pleased to be back on familiar ground. Plus, he slept through the night.
*We shared a place with my parents, my sister and her fiance, and Dr. Sis’ dogs, plus we saw lots and lots of relatives whom Michael has never met. And nearly all of them wanted to hold him. This was a little difficult for him; Michael is just starting the “separation anxiety” phrase. He did his best, but if I was in sight, he wanted to be in my arms.
**That would be Roxy the Boston Terrier.