Thursday, August 13, 2009

Paloma: Going Places

Baby's first flight!

I imagine you all must be wondering how our little trip to see 50+ family members went. Sounds like a big reunion, right? It was, but there wasn't a lot of extended-extended family there, in case that's what you were thinking. In total, there were 58 people. These people were my grandmother, my dad and his siblings, my brothers and sisters and first cousins, and the great-grandchildren, of whom Paloma was the youngest.

First, let's talk about air travel with baby. We flew out of Manchester, thinking correctly that a smaller airport would be much more baby-friendly (and less likely to freak baby out). The security folks were delightful, helping us get through with a minimum of fuss. And in fact, in Orlando during the return trip, there seemed to be a family line, which meant we only held up other people sporting things like strollers and car seats. Paloma was well-behaved and sleepy in the airport. Then she drank a bit from a bottle on the plane -- I guess I could have nursed, but the whole point of bringing the car seat and buying her a ticket was to have her strapped in during takeoff and landing. Then she slept the whole way. I mean the WHOLE WAY. You could see the panicked look in people's eyes as we boarded. Well, we sure proved them wrong, ha.

Of course, once we exited into the main section of Orlando airport and she woke up, she screamed. Scratch that. She was fine until I tried to nurse her. Oops! She screamed for most of the car ride back to my dad's house (Tedd handled it, what a joy it is to have him as a husband), and then she was fine. Nursed no problem, which was nice as I was mightily afraid she was going to wean herself from stress. To jump ahead a bit, she nursed like a champ the whole trip. Gained weight, even. She's got some serious hams where her chicken legs used to be!

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We didn't do much overall during the trip outside of the reunion other than taking a few walks with dad's dog and watching a lot of TLC shows about women giving birth, though Paloma was manhandled repeatedly by her aunts and uncles. All six of them! Poor Uncle Josh didn't get to hold her as much as he wanted to because his timing was off. I swear, every time he asked to hold her she was either just falling asleep or pitching a mini-fit.

Dad gives his lastborn a blessing

And then poor dad! For whatever reason, Paloma reacted to him like he reacted to Tedd's mom. You handed her over, and her chin immediately started to vibrate. The eyes welled up. She looked at her momma and her daddy, and if we didn't grab her away, she'd let out a mighty wail. Dad got a little sad about it, though Paloma did redeem herself in his eyes later on in the trip. It was touch and go for a while, however, especially when various great-aunts managed to hold her more or less successfully.

Then there was church, which was great except for the fact that they spelled my mom's name wrong and left off dad's name entirely! What the heck, church? I still cannot fathom how that happened, but dad was quite chill about it. Paloma's Uncle Dean, on the other hand, was ready to write dad's name onto each and every program. What a good son.

OOPSES include spelling mom's name wrong and leaving dad off entirely. Jeez, church!

Paloma's dedication proceeding thusly: Pastor Jeff -- who performed our wedding, not coincidentally -- called us to the stage, introduced us, and asked if he could hold Paloma. I wished him good luck, as she'd developed some stranger anxiety as of late. But my sweet chick was lovely, letting her hold her as he prayed and then even being good as he paraded her around the pews to show her off.

Thereafter, I got to check out the church's nursing room, which has a one-way mirror a la a police station interrogation room and rows of glider rockers. That way us nursing mothers don't have to miss the service, which I should say was unexpectedly entertaining. Pastor Jeff sure loves his PowerPoint presentations!

Check us -- we made LIFE!

A big party followed. I missed quite a bit of it since Paloma wanted to eat and eat and eat. I think my cousin with her baby who is but 10 days older than Paloma nursed all of once during the outdoor extravaganza that is a Weber reunion and I had to nurse Paloma every two hours. I missed at least one prayer circle and the presentation of the prayer quilt (homemade by my Aunt Jill) to my grandmother in honor of her 80th birthday. Hey, we're a religious family. You got a problem with that, stuff it.

What else? Paloma wore a bathing suit for the first time, though I didn't put her in the water for fear of jellyfish. Everyone said I was nuts, and that there were none, then a bunch of people got stung. Luckily, my short swim was interrupted by Hungry McNursingstein, so I missed getting jacked up on slimeball venom. Tedd jumped off the boathouse along with my many cousins. And went kayaking, but I had to strip down and rinse off so as not to infuse Paloma's meals with added sodium.

Oh, and that picture? It's a recreation of one we took on our wedding day after everyone had gone home. How things change in just two years!

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