My parents, when visiting, hold to the concept that they are here to hang out, be helpful, and luxuriate in their grandbabies. My dad does a lot of work on one of the two laptops he travels with these days (retired or not, Type A is Type A). My mother spends an exhausting amount of time cleaning, tidying, cooking and doing whatever is useful in addition to lots of childcare, play tea parties and baby rocking. This is not to understate the game attitude that my dad has towards all things baby; he plays, tends, makes the remote work to play yet another Thomas the Tank Engine episode. He also is keeping a running tally of diapers changed so he can exact a comparable number from his grandkids when he is old and needing his own tending. Today he installed the magnetic invisible child locks on the dining room hutch and cabinet, securing the liquor bottles from prying hands. Pequita is quite interested in the few miniature bottles of vodka and the like that we have in front of the jugs of gin and tequila. (Hey, I like martinis and margaritas. It is cheaper to buy the half gallon bottles. Anybody who has a problem with that isn't invited over for the next Mexican Festival Night.)
Homestead Mama and I had a sweet moment of nursing babes to sleep next to each other on Valentine's Day, and prying the squished chocolate cake out of Pequita's hands the next morning that we forgot to get off the coffee table in the living room; we wanted more, however. Tonight our favorite romantic restaurant was having a French theme night with a band playing French cafe songs (very Django Rhinehart meets Edith Piaf) and we had a really exceptional meal while my parents babysat. We put the kids down to sleep and careened into our 8:45 pm reservation right on time. Frankly, that is a late dinner reservation even for our childless days - we just aren't the late-night-out couple. I used to be, and could be still if I were single, but H-Mama is assuredly not, and she's a lot of fun to snuggle up to with a movie or a book or a game of Backgammon. My palate is still rejoicing - our shared appetizer was a roast beet, endive and goat cheese salad. I had the roast duck with Israeli cous cous and fig reduction. H-Mama had pork loin with smoked black beans and roast squash. We shared a bottle of cabernet and finished with our usual dessert, molten chocolate lava cake. We didn't get home until 11:17 pm. Monito was on my mom's chest in the rocker in the living room dozing as my parents watched CNN rehash the democratic debate. Pequita, as always, could sense with her uncanny baby receptors that H-Mama was within 25 feet and started to cry as soon as H-Mama had let the dogs out. We were in bed within a few minutes of returning home.
It was lovely, made even nicer when they agreed to babysit again tomorrow night so we could go to happy hour with our friends from the mom's group. Margaritas and tacos, and then home early enough to put the kids to sleep and make a nice meal. We're trying out this aged steak recipe by Mark Bittman - basically dry out some nice cuts of steak in your fridge for a couple days and then grill them. I'll make my favorite brussel sprouts with toasted pecans and brown butter as a side, and we'll try out dad's easy no-knead bread that he has rising on top of the TV cabinet for the next 14 hours. (I'll be putting a new loaf in the breadmaker tomorrow morning just in case.) I guess cooking is one thing I don't do much since Monito and I miss it - we are still eating leftovers of the Moroccan Stew with organic goat meat and the venison chile that I made earlier in the week. Having my parents here allows me to spend a little time in the kitchen, which I really miss.