6 Sep

Some of the highlights from our trip to Chicago, to visit family and drop in on another bar mitzvah:

– When we were going to my brother’s house, baby mama was looking around at the houses in the neighborhood.
Her: “It’s amazing what’s happening here. The houses are being built to look almost like castles. I mean, look at this one right here.”
Me (pulling into that driveway): “You mean, my brother’s house?”
Her: “Oh, shit. Don’t tell him I said that.”

– Baby loves Mr. Spotto. Mr. Spotto is the guinea pig at the friends’ house where we stayed. If we couldn’t find him, he was poking around the guinea pig’s cage, or else fiddling with the front or back door to try to sneak outside. “Guinea pig house? Purple!” At one point, he poked his whole head into the poor fellow’s cage, trying to get closer. Pet? Pet?

– Dinner at my (amazing) friends from grad school was both utterly delicious and super-hilarious. First, climbing at the playground as well as toddler-seeded toys all over the living room. Second, dinner was grilled pizza’s with kick-ass roasted peppers and pesto, grilled lake trout, and Israeli couscous salad. And homemade chocolate chip cookies for dessert! After dinner, baby started banging on the table. Instead of making him stop, their two kids started copying him. Wham-wham from baby; wham-wham from kids. Laughter. Then slowly, everyone joined in. Wham-wham from baby; wham-wham from everyone. He thought it was the best thing in the whole world, and would just completely crack up. This went on for 10 minutes, I think the power made baby drunk.

– Baby loved watching airplanes taking off and landing. He was, well, not perfect on the plane. It was the first time we did the ‘lap child’ travel (he had gotten a seat in previous trips), and he was idgy and tired, and didn’t sleep until we just about landed. But nothing too bad at all. 7.5/10 harshly scored, but more like 9/10 if we weigh scoring for age and circumstance.

– Friends we stayed with made amazing dinner, plus more homemade chocolate chip cookies, plus Homer’s ice cream, plus their kids (9 and 11) are just so enthusiastically pro-baby. With a huge basement, the guinea pig, the cars and toys, the mini guitar, it was just a brain-explosion of kid-centered suburban living. It’s not our lives, but it sure is a luxury to take in for a few days.

– The bar mitzvah party and ceremony were lovely, but lovely in a more family way. I love my brother’s kids to death, but with so much anger and animosity and alienation in parts of my family, it’s just not as joyous for me as it might otherwise be. The party was loud and crazy in the fashion of contemporary upper-middle-class bar mitzvah parties.

– No sleep till Brooklyn. Baby napped very little, stayed up way past his bedtime, missed baths, ate weirdly and seemingly sparsely. Watched 10 times more TV in 4 days than he’s seen in his whole life. And (though it’s hard to really really tell) he had a great time doing it all.


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