Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fat Babies

I hate to generalize, as all generalizations are stupid (Oh God, the English dork humor, make it stop), but it's true: Mexicans love babies. You can walk down any street in Any Town, Mexico, and everyone, especially the timeshare hawkers, will tell you how bonita or guapo your kids are. But what we learned last week is the only thing Mexicans love more than babies is fat babies. Hence, Grady loves Mexico. He spent last week getting pinched, adored, and squeezed by every tourist and local in Mazatlan.

Dylan, too, loves Mexico. Iguanas! Frijoles! Sand Snowmen! We stayed at a place that had loads of kids her age and we learned that children have secret signals they give each other. It took some super-decoding, but here's what we came up with: 1 cautious wave means "Can you ditch you parents and play?" 2 little waves means "Meet me at the kiddie pool in half an hour," and a shy look from between your father's legs means "Hey, you're not a child, you're a midget. I ain't fooled."

Dylan, through secret waves and bribery, made a few friends around the pool, despite only knowing Dora-Spanish. She'd ask, in Spanish, if they knew of any animals that needed rescuing, or if they had a backpack that turned into a kayak, receive blank looks, then jump on their backs for horsey rides. If only meeting adults were that easy. Then again, that's how I met Regina.

Our vacation wasn't spent, entirely, eating and swimming. Mazatlan is famous for its Pulmonias, which are just convertible taxis that look like a VW Thing and a Bumper Car had an illegitimate child. We took one downtown and cruised the Malecon like teenagers on a Saturday night (even if it was a Tuesday morning). We then pushed the stroller over bumpy sidewalks and down three foot curbs around the Old Town. There's an open air market there that's been around forever. The thing about open air markets is they are, literally, out in the open air. This means that the pinatas, sugar cane candy, pirated DVDs, and serapes are all out there. And so is the meat. Hog heads, livers, chicken feet, fish eyes ... sure, they're all on ice, but they attract the open air flies. We have a corner on the ranch where we drag all of our dead animals; even in July, it doesn't smell as bad as that market. We hightailed it home and made it back to the pool in time for the end of happy hour.

We were there for New Year's, which, if you have two children, means absolutely nothing. The best part was getting little wistful over breakfast on New Year's Day as we watched the vomit-stained party-goers make their walks-of-shame back to their hotels. To be young! we thought. As we were eating, a young, attractive couple came in and sat down. They'd obviously been out all night, but really didn't look any worse for wear. The guy asked Regina if we were just getting in from a night of partying as well. His girlfriend looked at him like he'd asked us if our children were for sale. She pointed at Grady in his car seat, "They have babies," she told him. Nevertheless, we chose to take it as a compliment that young people still look at us and think, "They might be able to go out and party all night," and not as an insult that we looked so disheveled people assumed we'd just been on an all night bender with our kids.

Life, or at least our week, in Mazatlan was great. Dylan and Grady got in plenty of swimming and telenovelas, and Regina and I got complimented on our ability to make "big babies." We ate like the apocalypse was coming, napped like we were retired, swam like the polar ice caps had all melted, and spent evenings in our underwear, watching the tangerine sun drop into the ocean. We're definitely going back, and if Grady continues his mashed-foods intake, he'll be the most loved baby in all of Mexico.

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