February 09, 2007

Aunt Alice heads south

My niece, Kayanna, is adorable. Of course, I am biased. And I've never bonded with an infant prior to this trip to Florida. I cuddled her, I fed her, I made funny faces at her, I talked to/at her. (I did not, as you may gather, change her diapers, but I learned to recognize the look on her face that preceded the need for a diaper change, so I could hand her off in time.)

My brother is shaping up to be a devoted and bonded dad, in the way I've heard men of his generation can be. My new sister-in-law, when I left, was feeling sleep-deprived, and I don't know quite what she thinks of me. We do, however, laugh simultaneously at the same sights: our reaction to the customer in red sequins in my brother's restaurant required no verbal communication between us.

She was unnerved by the prospect of meeting my mother, the presumptive grandma. Did we paint such a terrifying portrait of my mother? I don't know what my brother has said or left unsaid, but I suspect I was pretty unsparing the few times she came up in conversation. Alice's mother lives in her own, unique version of Wonderland, and it has even less bearing on reality than the Wonderland in which Alice resides.

I did tell my sister-in-law that everyone likes my mother; that the only person who seems to be troubled by her is me. I am also the only daily recipient of her domestic-related phone calls, many of which involve retelling me about a purchase she has made, even shown me, then forgotten she ever mentioned the item. She also constantly updates me on the weather, as if I couldn't open a window, turn on the TV, or check it on line.

It is the little things that drive me insane.

I spoke to my sister-in-law after my mother returned from Florida. Apparently she was looking over some pictures with my brother, and, presented with one of a woman about my age holding my niece, my mother said, "the baby looks cute, but the nurse is ugly." Said nurse was, in fact, my sister-in-law's mother.

If I had explained my mother as Sophia on The Golden Girls, a woman without the ability or interest to censor herself, my sister-in-law says she would have understood that completely. My mother is of the, don't-ask-me-what-I-think-unless-you-want-my-honest-answer school. It makes her to be described as "interesting."

Well, she does keep things lively.

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Blogger The Misanthrope said...

Did your sister-in-law point out it was her mother? And, what did your mother say at that point? Funny stuff.

10:49 PM  

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