This past weekend we continued our Summer of Beach House Mooching and spent a few days in Ocean City with Jason's family. I am now home with a child so far off his schedule that it feels like we've returned to those fuzzy, bewildering newborn days when I never knew what he wanted or what was coming next -- would he scream? or sleep? or scream? Since we've been back I'm stabbing in the dark once again -- handing him bottles and Cheerios and toys and books and the television remote and then throwing up my hands and telling him that's all I've got, buddy, pick something. You can eat, sleep or stare slack-jawed at the talking picture box. WELCOME TO THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
Jason's aunt and uncle are retired and live at the beach year-round. We've had an open invitation to come visit for as long as we've been together -- a good nine years now, but our vacation possibilities were always endless, boundless and selfishly budgetless. Now we're just assholes with a baby. Assholes who are more than willing to dump our asshole selves on anyone who doesn't mind the occasional middle-of-the-night shrieking session, a bazillion toys in their living room, diapers in their powder room wastebasket, and a semi-permanent coating of gummed Cheerios on every surface.
His aunt and uncle did not mind. They also made us waffles every morning. And I realized that all we require in order to get Noah to nap like he has never napped before is 1) a glider rocker, 2) a balcony, and 3) an ocean.
Their condo, built to withstand both hurricanes and Spring Breakers, had so much concrete and steel running through the walls that we had no cell phone reception or wireless Internet. Or DSL. Or dial-up.
There was free high-speed Internet down in the building's lobby, and all weekend Jason and I made noises about hauling our laptops down there, and all weekend we found better things to do. Including sitting on the balcony, staring at the ocean for hours on end, or watching Spongebob Squarepants, or made-for-TV movies which I got waaaay too into and had to turn my head away from my in-laws so they wouldn't see that I was choked up and could probably have a full-on cry over the gorgeous triumph of the human spirit and a straight-talking teacher who WOULD NOT GIVE UP ON YOU KIDS. YOU ARE NOT LOSERS. YOU ARE WINNERS! WINNNNNERS!
Way better than checking email, I'll tell you that.
Jason's parents were there as well, which is always nice to a point, since they would practically pay US to go places by ourselves -- to the beach or shopping or Hooters, whatever, they heard the wings are good and we like chicken, right? -- and leave Noah with them. It was delicious to spend a few hours on the beach without him, although I always got the sense that my mother-in-law used our absence as the perfect opportunity to correct all our parenting mistakes. (babiesdon'tneedextrabottlesofwater itjustisn'tdoneanymore hepees20timesadayalready OMFG) Although that could just be my own raging insecurity talking, like when I saw the little bag of bath toys she'd brought, and I thought what, she doesn't think I can provide my son with adequate damn bath toys or something?
And then I remembered that I actually HAD forgotten to pack bath toys and had just been letting Noah play with some travel-sized shampoo bottles; MY shampoo bottles, by the way, since I'd also forgotten the tear-free baby stuff.
The current obliteration of his schedule aside, I think Noah received excellent care and attention. And it only took six adults to do it.
It didn't help that two of those six adults were complete dorks who went out in public in matching damn shirts.