Friday, March 26, 2010

European Vacation

Olive went on a little vacation to her grandparents recently. Translation: Leanne and I abandoned Olive, complete with an ear infection and a hacking cough that required an inhaler, at my parent’s house while we went off and traipsed across England and Ireland for six days and nights.

We are not very good at this parenting thing.

We have left Olive for a weekend away before, but never for something this long. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that leading up to our departure date we were a bit nervous about flying across an ocean and leaving our 11-month old behind. It also didn’t help that torrential rains the three days before our scheduled flight left our unfinished basement AND my parents finished basement a little, well, moist. Oh yea, don’t forget that on the day we were supposed to leave, Olive got prescribed two separate medications that she would need to take three times daily. Needless to say, Leanne and I had a long conversation about not going on our trip.

It was my mom who convinced me it would be okay. With her flooded basement I wasn’t exactly eager to shoulder her with a sick baby for six nights.

“Nothing that hasn’t happened to every other kid I have watched,” she said to me. “She’ll be okay. I’ll be okay.”

And she was right. My mom raised four kids of her own, is the nanny to two more, and is now playing a significant role in the lives of four grandkids. Olive was probably better of staying with her and my dad than she would be with us.

Being away was hard (well, hard other than the being able to sleep in, take an afternoon nap, string together 6 days without getting poop on my hand, have several adult conversations without ever having to pause and say “please don’t eat that” or “goo goo la la di dum”, and being able to drink several Guinness knowing that if I had a hangover, I would probably not be woken up at 5:30 AM by another human being screaming as loud as possible).

Neither of us had been away from Olive for that long, and we already felt guilty that we were living her sick and medicated. We were able to talk to my parents daily to get updates. When we had internet we were able to set up video chat and watch Olive walk around or bounce in my mom’s lap. You would think that Olive would be excited to see and hear her parents talking after being away for a few days. But she really had no interest in virtual mommy and daddy and was far more interested in hitting the buttons on the keyboard, grabbing the monitor, and eating the teething biscuit my mother gave her to keep her from crying. Those chats really made me feel loved.

My dad sent us pictures throughout the trip, apparently as a sort of proof of life. Sometimes the pictures were adorable and let us know that Olive is happy and well cared for, like the one below.

Other pictures, not so much. Like this one we received when my parents watched Olive while we were away on an earlier trip.

I mean, at least give the kid a good beer!

But six days after leaving, we were back to Olive and back to our lives as parents. No more sleeping in, no more Guinness, much more poop on the hands. We had just started to remember what our lives were like before we had a kid, and now we had to get used to being parents again. But after seeing Olive’s face light up when the door opened at the airport and she saw her mommy for the first time in a week, I knew I was back home.

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