This weekend I used the term Cheeto Hands

Over the weekend Jon and I drove the kid up to Bear Lake to spend some time with the pioneer side of the family, the ones who think that Bart Simpson has single-handedly destroyed The American Family Unit. Jon’s sister owns a small home on a hill by the lake, and I was looking forward to the time we would spend at the house, just not the time it takes to get to the house, time spent cringing and wincing at the Queen in the back seat who is furious because we aren’t feeding her grapes fast enough. Last time we went to Bear Lake I dodged flying Fruit Loops for 25 miles.

On this trip, however, we borrowed a portable DVD player from my mother. Halfway to Bear Lake I had to check and make sure Leta was still breathing because she hadn’t blinked once. I don’t think she ever thought life could be so beautiful, so satisfying. SESAME STREET IN THE CAR. That’s like A BATHTUB FULL OF DORITOS WITH A BOURBON FOUNTAIN IN THE MIDDLE.

We spent the majority of the weekend eating naughty food – bacon and potato chips and bacon– while chasing Leta up and down the carpeted stairs over and over again. She can manage the stairs by herself, but we’re not allowed to be lazy parents all the time, just the majority of the time. If we’re going to let her eat Cheetos for lunch AND LET HER WIPE HER HANDS ON HER SHIRT we have to balance it out by making sure she doesn’t plunge down the stairs feet over pigtails. That’s only fair.

Jon’s sister keeps a bean bag several feet from the top of the stairs, and after throwing herself prostrate into the mountainous cushion Leta would climb down and make her way back to the stairs. She knows that in order to get down the stairs safely she has to turn around and lie down on her belly, it’s just the timing of the lying down on her belly that she hasn’t mastered. Three times I watched her lie down at least four feet from the stairs, and each time she backed up into the wall. Another time she just backed up in a complete circle. I tried not to laugh as my once immobile baby performed some unintelligible rain dance, but at one point she got so frustrated that when she backed up into the wall SHE KEPT GOING until her feet were two feet up the wall and she was standing on her hands.

This is what I like to call Vacation Parenting. Much like a Vacation Diet you get to break all the rules: you get to eat bacon and let the kid drink Diet Coke out of a sippy cup. OH DON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT, my sister fed her babies Diet Coke in a bottle. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE. Jon asked me yesterday if I thought we were terrible parents, having let our daughter watch television in her lap and ingest orange Styrofoam. And I told him, “You forgot the part where she backed up into the wall and I laughed at her. If anything we’re preparing her for the first time she gets drunk in college.”