Flying Solo (with child)

So I went to my 20th year high school reunion last weekend.

I know.

I’m not exactly sure why I did it, outside of a masochistic streak. And then to add challenges to challenges, I decided to bring Frida home with me so she could see my parents. But in booking the flight, I didn’t think about the fact that a) It’s a four-hour flight and b) Frida rarely stays still for more than a minute, when she’s awake.

On the way over, she was a complete angel. Also I was clever enough to breastfeed her as soon as I found my seat, so we ended up with an empty middle seat (this was a Southwest flight), which made things WAY easier. And then, luck upon luck, we were sitting next to a young woman who was on her way to see her new baby nephew, so she was totally into Frida (also she ordered two small bottles of champagne with a splash of orange juice, so might have also been drunk). And Frida was totally in to her. She would do something she thought was clever, like chewing on a bag of airplane nuts or eating Cheerios from the drop-down tray with her mouth instead of her hands (like dog), and each time after doing said clever thing she would look over at the lady and smile triumphantly.

And she managed not to cry once that whole time. Afterwards people on the flight were thanking me and telling me what an angel she was. I was feeling pretty content until one man added, “But you know that means she’ll be a monster then she’s a teenager.”

Thanks, curmudgeon.

On the flight back, I sat next to a woman who had just survived a brain tumor. She had a daughter who had lost a third of her blood in a surgery and developed a life-long debilitation. She added that she doesn’t really like babies. She prefers them once they can talk.

But Frida didn’t seem deterred. We again had the middle seat between us open, and near the end of the flight, she moved over to that seat to try to chew on its arm rests and then, as I was holding her, she leaned over toward that lady and lay her head on her shoulder lovingly. Then she grabbed her boob.

Luckily the lady had a good sense of humor.

And in-between those two flights, Frida got to play with her grandparents and follow her grandparents’ dog, Abby, around with awe. I’m actually not sure who she liked more: the dotting grandparents or the impressive furry thing. My mom got a picture of her cuddling with Abby, which I’ll paste below with some more from the weekend.

And I got to go my 20th year reunion, which reminded me that 20 years later is the same as 20 years before. One woman said to me, “Yeah, you were always kind of doing your own thing, no?” Which I think was a nice way of saying, “You didn’t really have any friends, did you?”

Home Sweet (holy hell!) Home

We’ve arrived. We are in our new house in Arizona, which is a house we found on Sabbatical Homes. It’s owners are two gay men with two sons who are away for the year. So we’re pretending to be them until next May. I wonder sometimes what the neighbors think.

Or, rather, I wonder if the neighbors laugh a little (I think I would), when they realize that the two gay men with two sons have been replaced by two lesbians with two daughters. If you smashed us together and then separated us, we could be two “perfects” sets of the “perfect” American family. Instead we’re like a conservative Christians nightmare, times two.

But, anyway, this house is lovely. It has a salt water pool, which we go for a dip in every morning before WE WANT TO KILL OURSELVES BECAUSE OF THE EXTREME HEAT. And then again sometimes in the evening when the SUICIDE-INDUCING EXTREME HEAT abates just a little bit.

Oh, did I mention that it’s kind of hot here? No big deal. Really. It’s only that every time you step outside, you suddenly believe in hell, even if you no longer believe in heaven.

But overall we’re happy. I swear. If we stay inside and bring large jugs of water (in a cooler) with us in the car whenever we venture outside, we’re doing pretty well. And just the other day, the temperature *only* got up to 98, so there is some relief.

And, really, honestly, I’m pretty darn happy. Because I finally have my own place again. And we finally have the girls in daycare again. It was nice being full-time moms for a little while, especially getting to breastfeed Frida all the time instead of having to pump in some closet and then store my milk and ship it off with her to a small padded room filled with cribs and white noise machines (which is to say the infant room in a daycare facility).

But as nice as it was, I missed my time alone. I missed the feeling of being and adult human being who is more than just the spectator at a four-year-old’s experimental dance performance and/or the reader of book after book after book about strange animals doing strange, but age-appropriate and sometimes moral-inducing, things, or–in the case of Frida–a walking milk machine. It was nice to be a person who sits down at a computer and tries to write while her children are way far away somewhere in the desert drinking milk and doing experimental dance performances with other adults who are not me.

It was less nice having to be the adult who then had to drive through the hot desert to retrieve said children. But, hey, these are the sacrifices we makes.

And speaking of said children, apparently yesterday, in Frida’s first day of daycare she followed (aka crawled after) a boy named Theo around everywhere, an equally brutish child who is also equally freakishly blond, and then whenever she got close to him, she’d give him a hug.

That kind of broke my heart.

Here are my dear ones in our new pool:

And here is Frida, caught in the act of brutishly trying to remove all the soil from the gay father’s lovely house plant: