In true ‘my family’ fashion, we stayed home this holiday weekend to avoid the traffic, crowds, and overspending. That’s just how we like to do holidays. We’ve never been a big fan of going out of town on busy weekends. Both my husband’s and my family liked to travel during summer holidays when we were little, so maybe that’s why we like to stay home. It just doesn’t make sense to go through all the stress of packing and then driving and then waiting in lines and then packing and driving and waiting again. All with sweat dripping down your face. No, we like to stay home and do extra fun things around our town, in peace.
Sunday we were invited to a lake party and we had planned the whole weekend on leaving after our 3 year old took his nap. I made my side-dish and dessert to bring, and all we had to do was wait. Only, because of an extra fun-filled day, he didn’t end up falling asleep for his nap until 2 hours after the usual start time so… by the time he woke up, it was dinner time. We decided then to go out to eat, (something we NEVER do). And the idea of sushi sounded fantastic, (something we really NEVER do). I’ve been eating sushi since I was a single digit and love all the weird un-Americanized stuff, so I was super pumped. It was a very hot day, and weird sushi and Japanese beer in an air conditioned setting sounded like perfection. I put on my new, white summer dress, did my make-up all nice and purty and we loaded the kids into the car for a family dinner out. I had planned on wearing our baby in one of those sling-things so she would just go to sleep while I sipped my beer and nibbled my uni. It would be wonderful. I could use both hands!
When I first wrestled her into the thing I should have known it was a bad idea. Apparently she has undergone a major growth spurt since the last time I put her in it because her head was cocked in a crazy angle up at my chest and her legs were wrapped all the way around the other side of my body. She looked up at me with fear in her teary eyes. Why are you mad at me, mama? I’ve never really been good with those slingy things and always feel like I’m bending my children in a torturous way. But I figured with the help of lots of bouncing and pacifier sucking, she would calm right down. She is, after all, a very calm baby…
I made it to our seats, past the tables of quiet patrons, when she began to wail. And very quickly we became that family. We all know the ones. You’re sitting down to a nice, peaceful dinner when all of a sudden a loud family and their crying baby storm in. I panicked and ran outside, leaving my husband and son behind. On the sidewalk, I bounced a lot, pleaded even more and got her quiet. I walked back in, smiled sweetly at the worried manager and sat down in the booth. ‘Waaaaaaahhhhh!’ I ran again, this time to the bathroom. Now I’m sweating through my new white dress and have to pee. I attempt urination while a crying baby is dangling around my lower belly region, bounce some more and make my way back to the table. I begin to sit when, ‘Waaaaaaahhhhhhh!’ This time I just gave into the evil glares and bounced, jiggled and shimmied right there by the table. ‘Hello quiet patrons, how are you? Yes, this is a baby and yes, she is screaming. Enjoy your sashimi.’
My husband had ordered our food and beer during one of my laps around the restaurant so I began to attempt calamari salad with left-handed chopsticks sitting a foot away from the table’s edge. I dropped so many pieces of squid on my child’s head, she looked like part of the menu. My husband, sensing my crazy begin to rise to the surface, filled up my Sapporo glass, pushed it in front of me and said, ‘Chug baby, chug’.*
*Now, I feel I should inform you on a little piece of my history: When my husband met me, we were both in college. I was a freshman, he a sophomore transfer. We crossed paths at many a frat party, around many a keg. And what do college kids do with a keg? They hang upside down and drink from it, of course. And although I was never a frequent partier, I certainly knew how it was done. Plus, it has always been my lifetime goal to beat a boy in anything. I would see all the boys getting high fives for their keg stands and then receive some degree of flack for just standing around and laughing, judging probably. Finally I just walked right up to my first keg, asked the biggest boy to hold my purse and did one. I beat everyone at that party by a minute and made my future husband swoon just a bit. So… long story shortened, I used to be a good chugger. This one on Sunday, however, burned. But it did the trick.
As the dinner rolled on, I began to thoroughly enjoy my weird sushi and Japanese beer, as I bounced in my seat to the muzak and dropped soy sauce here and there on my daughter’s scalp. My son used his chopsticks like a champ and my daughter finally stopped squirming and fell asleep. She returned to her calm self, even though she seemed to be holding onto the sling’s edge for dear life. (Note to self: No more slinging.)
|‘Wow! A secret message from your teeth!’
|‘When weaving nets, all threads count.’
*Mom’s Basil Potato Salad
(perfect for summer picnics because it’s mayo free)
-Slice several baking potatoes a little less than 1/4 inch thick and layer in a large glass casserole dish. Add enough water to create a thin layer on the bottom of the dish and cover with plastic wrap, removing one corner of the wrap to vent.
-Microwave on high for several minutes, until fork tender. Pour out the water and keep the potatoes in the dish.
-Cover the hot potatoes with some thinly sliced onions and douse it all with some white vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over everything. Top with sliced, fresh basil.
-Taste to check seasoning, it should be delightfully tangy and very basil-y.