She'd slept badly the night before -- mosquitos? dreams? hard to say -- and I'd had to wake her up to take her over to Cornell.
I'd been planning to get lunch at Grand Central, but she fell asleep the moment we got to the main concourse. I took a picture of her slumped in the stroller in front of the information booth. Hustled her and her stroller down to the train, and she slept in my arms the whole way to Weatherwood.
Really, it was glorious snuggling, sweet in a way that hasn't happened so often now she's getting bigger. She woke up as we got off the train. I thought about how long it had been since she'd eaten, and just tortilla wedges and raspberrries so far that day, so we went to the coffeeshop. I ordered her her own pancakes and scrambled eggs and she ate ate ate, dipping the eggs in the little cup of soft butter, stabbing the dripping pancakes with her fork. We were sitting by a window and she was happy in the sun there, inhaling grease and watching traffic go by.
When we got to Nana's, only Nana was there. Miss T. was happy; she flew her little helicopter around, she went to play with Nana's teddy bears, she read books, she smiled and laughed. She acted as if this was familiar territory, not someplace new, and I was grateful.
My grandmother had told me that I would have to pick up my birthday gift from her when I was there. It turned out to be a glass bowl, one that used to sit in the middle of the dining room table. I have no idea how she expected me to get it home -- it was sitting with a poor little dishtowel on top, as if that could protect it. It was spooky that she'd decided to give away one of her treasures -- but I knew it would hurt her if I left and it was still in the house. Then I remembered the shipping store in downtown Weatherwood -- if I gave them a naked bowl and enough money, they'd pack it up. So I ran down there with Miss T., the bowl in the diaper bag.
That last walk was too much for her. (It should have been too much for me too, but if I'm cancelling what does it matter?) When we got back to the apartment, my uncle was there. He put on the loud loud loud television. Marina came in a few minutes later. And Miss T. froze. She stared, she stood still, and finally she crawled in my lap and fell asleep again. I put her down on the bed in the living room while we ate dinner. Three feet from the blaring television. She was out cold.
Dinner was silent and awful. The TV blared over everything. My uncle was depressed. My grandmother didn't want to eat the steak. She couldn't hear my uncle's weak efforts at occasional politeness, so she kept yelling at him to be nicer. Marina was just dog-tired. She's working 7 days a week now. No one wants to know anything about my cycles. Plus, I think they're not even talking to each other -- my grandmother handn't told them I'd been in New York for a week, and Marina hadn't told my uncle I was just there for dinner.
After dinner there was a blow-up over their tax rebate having not arrived. Then Ricky went down to the mailbox and it had come in -- but then some other check had gotten lost. I was glad Miss T. didn't hear it all.
I filled a tiny Tupperware with potatoes and steak for Miss T., and headed out to the train. I had to be back by 8:00 for my shots. They were all shocked that I left so soon. Miss T. barely woke up as I put her in the stroller. On the train her eyes were open, but she wasn't really awake. She did wake up in the hotel and wanted dinner. She ate the leftovers I'd brought along, and somehow went to sleep at a normal time -- and slept through the night.
I feel bad that Miss T. missed what were supposed to be the "fun" parts for a toddler: the big train station, the train itself.
I also feel bad that my less-loved relatives missed seeing her being herself; they saw her staring, then snoring.
But: this trip, this city, is overwhelming for her. She likes to watch, to understand, before she acts. New! things! every! day! is hard. Noise! always! is hard. Days with three or four or more episodes (waiting room/hotel room/bus/train/lunch/visit/train) are exhausting.
I've only had one day with no checkup since my in-laws left. We went to the Museum of Natural History. She liked the dinosaurs; she liked the little stairs and ramps in the exhibits, and the cupcakes at the cafe. After two hours she said, "I want to go back to the hotel." We got caught in the rain on the way back, but it was warm, so fun, and we got new clothes when we got back.
Today I think she has relaxed a bit more into the city. That was maybe a problem in the waiting room, and also later at Pain Quotidien -- but at the 77th St. playground she played! On the slides! On the shakey bridge!
The recent Ask Moxie posts on being an adult child, and on not parenting too much in reaction to your own childhood, and on accepting and celebrating your children as they are, have struck a nerve. I worry about Miss T.'s needing to watch, her silence around strangers, her sitting on the sidelines until she's ready to explore. I was the child who never smiled, and everyone blamed that, I think, on the tragedies lurking behind me. So I wish she would smile and run off happily in the sunshine at every new playground.
One of the biggest reasons I want a second child is shameful, in that context. I was never raised by just my mother -- well, only for a few months in second grade, between my grandparents' bankruptcy/house loss and my mother's grand crackup -- but it was always what I feared most, that she'd make good on her threat to move out of my grandparents' apartment and take me along.
It's not impossible that I will raise Miss T. on my own for some good portion of her youth. And isn't that dyad, mother and daughter only, what I was so scared of? You know, if there was another child there, it'd be different.
But I am not my mother. And Miss T. is not me.
While I've typed this up, Miss T. has had lunch, had a poop in her potty, and strewn crayons and puzzle pieces all over the room. My utmost respect for all you SAHM bloggers -- oh dear!
Now I'm going to see if I can use the overwhelmingness of the city to get her to nap... out for another walk, while we wait for the phone call from Dr. Data. Only one of the little follicles grew at all, so I think we're out of here.
The new Typepad edting stuff just sux rox, doesn't it? So fucking slow. And "assign multiple categories" is totally broken. Not like Firefox for Mac is some obscure browser, either...