Monday, April 03, 2006

We're Going to a Party, We're Going on a Trip...*

I am invited to a friend's baby shower on Saturday, which is great -- she's a lovely person and I had been planning on going to this shower for about a month. Unfortunately for me, esposo decided to surprise me with a paid massage that Saturday afternoon, which I had been waiting for for a loooong time, and I had to cancel it. :-( Oh well, next week, maybe.

In Costa Rica, it's fairly common for people to rent out a hall and then charge the guests a few thousand colones to come. Though I must admit I thought it was weird the first time this happened some years ago. "What? You have to bring a gift, pay for your own drinks, AND pay to get in?" I disagree with the whole idea, so when we had our baby shower, we chose a place that didn't charge for renting the space, and we just paid for the food and non-alcoholic drinks. Thinking back, that was probably silly, because even the previous baby shower I was invited to had an "entrance fee" listed right there in the invitation. I just couldn't bring myself to charge people to go to my own baby shower.

Back to the story at hand: I am told that this one will be a "traditional Costa Rican tea," which means no guys allowed, cake, coffee, silly games, ete. Ok, fine. No big deal, girls' day out, right? Except for my son and my friend's son, it was solamente chicas. It is supposed to start at 2:30, so my friend picks me up around 1:45 (we have to drive up to Heredia to get there). There's some kind of motocross thing happening, so the road we'd planned to take is completely blocked as cars line the road from one end to the other. This means driving to San Jose and going from that direction. We get there "late" at 2:45, and we're the 2nd people there. In typical Costa Rican fasion, everyone arrives late, with some guests just getting there as we're leaving four and a half hours later.

Yes, FOUR AND A HALF HOURS later! If I had had someone to leave my son with, I would have done so, because toddler + nothing much exciting for toddler to do = boredom = screaming fits in the middle of the room. Of course, esposo is at work, so the baby goes with me. If I had been smart, I'd have just driven myself and followed my friend, but nooooo, I am not smart. I did, at least bring food for him and ate quite a bit before we left (I didn't imagine a typical Costa Rican tea would heavily feature vegan food).

So there are the silly games: Who can blow up the largest condom balloon in 20 seconds? Who gets baby bingo? Who can drink a baby bottle full of blackberry juice the quickest? Personally, I prefer the showers where you eat, open presents, and go home. This was not one of those showers. (And neither was mine, thinking back, though I'd wanted to leave after about an hour -- at eight months pregnant, I'd get worn out just thinking about doing anything besides sitting down).

My son sees the ladies drinking blackberry juice from a bottle, and pesters me until I find one that's relatively full and give it to him. He has not drank from a bottle since I was pumping and he was about a month old. He goes to sit on someone else's lap, and I'm thinking, great! Keep him busy for a while and perhaps even a little quiet (this whole thing is about two hours after the official start time, and son has begun getting a bit punchy -- who can blame him?). I swear, not five minutes later, he comes back and it looks as though his BRAND-NEW t-shirt has been tie-dyed purple! It is at this point that I begin to get a migraine. Son starts whining, and I try everything -- look at the balloons! how about nursing? want some food? coffee? tea? valium? Nothing works. He is ready to go, but they haven't even begun opening presents.

So it's "walk around the block time," and since he has napped for about a half hour today (as opposed to his usual two hours), I figure he'll get worn out and fall asleep. No go. Too much stimulation! At least by the time we get back, the presents have begun to be opened. Got to see the presents! That's the best part! At least one can live vicariously through the gift-receiver...

Surely but steadily, we're working our way through the presents, when Auntie decides to STOP and PLAY MORE GAMES. I am ready to strangle the woman. Then it's main course, salad, coffee, cake... And back to presents. At this point it's something like three and a half hours after the official start time, and time for us to take another walk around the extremely large block. When we get back, the presents have resumed being opened, and she's got ours on the floor next to her. I'm sort of bummed that we missed our own present being opened, but turns out she was waiting for us to get back (so sweet!). Finally, my friend's presents and mine have been opened, and it is time for us to begin making our exit.

And we get out of there almost FIVE HOURS after the "official" start time.

I have to say that the length of the tea would probably not have bothered me in the least if I hadn't had my son there. There were some very nice people there, and I guess it is just the Costa Rican way for the ladies to get together without the men around, relax, gossip, and in general have a nice time. I have slowly (hit me over the head with a two-by-four, why don't ya!) begun to realize that I cannot really go to things like this, or out to dinner, or to a movie, with a toddler. So I am accepting that, in fact, life does change with a baby in ways I didn't want to admit. Ah, such is life. And I will plan in advance next time, drive us myself, then if leaving early is necessary, I can just take off.

Ok, you're thinking, so the day was not that bad, all in all, right? Well, the day was not quite over! We stopped at a farmacia to pick up something for my oncoming migraine, and I down two Cafiaspirina (the Latin American version of Excedrin for migraines), forgetting that I hadn't had all that much to eat that day (other than breakfast). So I start getting the caffeine shakes on the way home, and call esposo to make me something to take out, but the cafe is packed and he doesn't have time (apparently!). When we get there (I've left my car parked there), I run in and grab a travel mug full of soup, which I proceed to pour all over my crotch as I'm getting back in my friend's car. I grab some aloe from the cafe, but wait until I get home to put it on my leg. Son has awoken (he had, thankfully, fallen asleep in the car), so we go ahead and switch the car seat back into my car, and I take off for home. Once there, I liberally apply aloe to my burned leg, and notice something between first and second degree burns on the inside of my leg. Son is irritated, and keeps poking the red spots. Um, like, OUCH! He finally falls asleep at 10:30, and the bed looks better than it has in years...

*Sing to the tune of that silly song about the closet in Zaboomafoo... yes, clearly I have a toddler at home!

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