This year, my parents and my sister’s family all came to see me – a request I made known months in advance. Being more than 30 weeks pregnant, I lacked the desire to travel by ground or air. So, my sister drove from Alabama and my parents flew in from Colorado.
My husband and I, with Nandi in tow, headed to the airport to pick up my parents the weekend before Thanksgiving. Nandi was in a good mood, babbling on about something and sipping on her water in the backseat. We make it to the airport and my parents climb in, with Nandi sitting between them. All of a sudden, my daughter becomes stone-faced and silent – daring not to look to her left or her right. She was literally ignoring her grandparents! We thought the countless interactions with my parents via Skype would help her recognize them in person. I guess we thought wrong.
We made it back home, and about an hour later, Nandi had thankfully warmed up to both of her grandparents. She became my Mother’s little “shadow.” Everywhere she went, my baby was right behind her. Whenever my Mom sat down, Nandi would rush to her and sit in her lap for a quick cuddle. Or, she’d run to my Mom with a book or two in hand, ready for story time.
But her interaction with my sister and brother-in-law was totally different. In fact, it was pretty much non-existent. My sister would try to hug Nandi or pick her up, and she’d run off or start whining. And with my brother-in-law, she never wanted to get close to him – always keeping one eye on him to watch his every move. I thought it was the oddest thing. My sister started calling my baby “LCMG,” (short for Little Chubby Mean Girl). She definitely lived up to the name the entire Thanksgiving holiday, at least around my sister and her husband.
Now with my sister’s four-year-old daughter, Nandi stuck to her like glue. Every morning Nandi would wake up looking for “Kaka” (her name is actually Kamara). It was so funny and adorable to hear Nandi trying to say her cousin’s name. We finally got Nandi to say “Mara” instead, which pleased my sister. They’d run around the house singing, dancing, reading books or running outside. It was a fight trying to get my baby girl to go to sleep every night. She felt as if she was going to miss something; and on several occasions, she simply fell asleep eating dinner in her high chair.
One memorable episode from the holidays wasn’t too pleasant. Nandi caught a cold – probably from all the fun she was having – staying up late, getting up early and refusing to eat because she wanted to play. So, on Thanksgiving and several days after that, my little one battled an upper respiratory infection, but in the process, she made me, my parents, Kamara and my husband sick. Nandi, bless her heart, still wanted to give out hugs and slobbery kisses, which only made matters worse. In fact, here it is almost mid-December, and I’m just now getting over my cold.
After my parents and sister left, for two days straight, Nandi ran around the house looking for and calling for “Mara” and others. I felt so sorry for my baby. I told her that her relatives had to go bye-bye. She’d look sad for a few minutes; take off walking to look in several rooms in the house, only to sit in my lap with a depressed look on her face.
All in all, we had a wonderful time. And after watching my little one play with her older cousin, I think she’ll enjoy having a sister around to play with. I guess we’ll find out soon; Nandi will be a big sister in a matter of weeks. I just hope she lives up to the name I gave her – “Sweet Cheeks,” instead of the one my sister gave her, “LCMG” (Little Chubby Mean Girl). I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
Chandra Caradine is a Sr. Public Relations Specialist for Texas Health Resources, Mom to Nandi and soon-to-be-Mama to another baby girl due in January.