The First (Post-Baby) Thanksgiving
According to the Very Official Bounce Back Editorial Calendar (translation: a series of Post-Its stuck in a perpetually lost manila folder), this week’s topic is Holidays & Newborns & You. For short: Welcome to the SUCK.
I’ve thus been wracking my brain for days now, trying to come up with super-helpful tips about surviving all the upcoming holidays. Scheduling, traveling, entertaining, shopping, or just plain trying to sit down and eat some stupid turkey for without a squawling newborn attached to your boob while your father-in-law clears his throat for the umpteenth time and your teenage nephew keeps TOTALLY STARING AT YOU and your aunt says something about butter and baby weight when all you did was ask her to pass the sweet potatoes…it’s all insane.
Guess what! I really don’t have any tips. I’ve pretty much repressed all my memories of last year, when Ezra was about five or six weeks old at Thanksgiving. We were supposed to travel home but got a (in hindsight) fairly blissful reprieve because everyone got sick. We cooked a big dinner for ourselves at home.
I remember being overly grouchy and inordinately stressed out over what should have been a laid-back meal — the three-year-old refused everything on the table, right down to the dinner rolls, my husband kept trying to put the protesting baby in the swing over and over again, insisting that he’d be okay while I ate some food, since HE had some kind of weird mental ability to listen to Ezra cry without CLAWING HIS OWN FACE OFF. He very literally stopped screaming for 10 minutes right after we set the table and sat down and then started again as soon as we snapped some pictures and got ready to like, EAT the food we’d slaved over for hours, in shifts, taking turns cooking and wrangling children. PLUS, I was having a Fat Day and wearing maternity pants and I was tired and had a cold and by dessert I was truly baffled as to why we even bothered in the first place. Surely somebody delivers pizza on Thanksgiving, right?
So…yeah. Not exactly the most encouraging story for anyone newly postpartum who is planning to actually host guests on Thursday, or getting ready to fight the travel crowds on the roads, train stations or airports with a newborn in tow. Could my advice be to stay home, to take it easy, to order a ready-made meal from a restaurant, to demand that family comes to visit YOU but also stay in a hotel? Let’s all just blame the swine flu this year and go for a self-imposed football-related quarantine instead?
Thing is, it’s a crapshoot, every holiday, every trip, every year. Sometimes the baby sleeps and sometimes he screams. Sometimes he poops at the dinner table and sometimes your brother has too much to drink and embarrasses himself on the video camera. For every travel/family horror story there’s a Best Christmas Ever. Sometimes you collapse on the couch afterward, muttering THANK GOD THAT’S OVER, but then a year later you look back on the photos of the day and wonder what was really so terrible, because man, there’s nothing like super-cute kids in festive sweaters, am I right?
(For the record, we are staying home this year, again. And cooking a big meal for ourselves, again. Noah still probably won’t eat anything but I’m thinking Ezra will be a BIT easier to please. In fact, we ordered a bigger turkey just for his mighty appetite.)