My cousin and I are extremely close. She is only six months older than I am and we grew up with a relationship somewhere between sisters and best friends. We are very different people with completely different backgrounds, but we have been side by side our entire lives; providing each other support, laughs, and lots of love.
When she moved all the way to Chicago a couple years ago it was a little sad, but since our whole family is based in New York she and her husband come 'home' often. I am guilty of waiting too long to visit, but finally last week Little Smith and I made the trip and we got the added bonus of meeting her new sweet baby. It was pretty perfect.
Her home is absolutely beautiful and magazine ready thanks to my aunt's decorating skills. You know you are in for a good trip when the guest room has an en suite bathroom (coming from my home which only has a single bathroom total, it was a luxury!). Little Smith got to break in the picture-perfect nursery and I am pleased to say that he didn't trash it or stain anything- which was a true worry given the pale palette!
I was happy lounging inside the house, giggling with my cousin and cooing with my new baby niece, but Little Smith only had one thing on his mind; outside!
My cousin's three dogs are unquestionably her first babies. This boy was in heaven running around with them and taking their toys, letting them steal some back... bark, squeal, repeat. Add a kiddie pool that the dogs play in and a hose and you have yourself days of enjoyment. Little Smith was obsessed with that hose and eventually sprayed himself in the face which was a shock to him (and hilarious to me!). Classic summer fun.
And as if a ginormous yard and a pack of dogs wasn't thrilling enough... there were horses! Three really big horses that roamed around like a scene from a painting all day long. Each morning Little S would wake up at 4:30 AM (ahem, thanks time change) and we would have a quick breakfast and immediately race to feed the horses our banana peels. It was kind of a magical way to start the day.
And while I'm pretty sure the animals were the highlight for Little S, for me it was simply spending time with my best friend and admiring what a brilliant mother she is already. The baby is so easy going; barely cries, eats like a champ, and sleeps between 6 and 8 hours straight each night at just four weeks old. I don't want to say that my son was anything short of pure joy... and he didn't really cry either... unless of course you put him down for one single second! This little lady just stared up from her bassinet like an angel, I could hardly believe it.
I did have several moments, while juggling my own toddler and my infant niece, where I wondered how it is really possible to have more than one child. Having been an only child myself I have always wanted more than one kid, but my goodness it does seem like a challenge! I had forgotten how fragile and vulnerable a small infant really is. When Little Smith was in that stage I literally carried him or wore him in a sling 'round the clock because that's what he seemed to need. I imagine a second child must be quite a different experience from the first.
The week went by so fast and there were a few tears when we had to say good-bye, but it was such a treat to have this time together. I loved watching Little S start to take interest in the baby and I think these two will have a special relationship as they get older.
Little Smith is still walking around the house making horse noises, which sound like loud fake laughing and usually result in real laughing from me. We're also planning our next visit (road trip!?).