We all trekked to Atlanta for the Sixth International Babywearing Conference, where I met up with many, many babywearers (the conference had about 800 attendees) and led two sessions (one a hands-on "Mei Tai Tips and Tricks" workshop, and one a combo lecture/discussion on feminist perspectives on intensive mothering, specifically breastfeeding and babywearing).
Robert and the kids had many fun adventures in the three days of the conference, and we all ate much delicious southern food. We also got to drive around for the weekend in a giant 10-passenger Ford transit van, which Avis gave us because they'd run out of more normal-sized vehicles. Apparently, driving around in the van, with its wide turning radium, predilection for driving over curbs, and wobbly, high-up feel, brought out the inner Aunt Grace in me, as I clutched the side door and gasped and averted my eyes from the road repeatedly.
We loved Hawaiian barbeque at Waikiki; breakfasts at the Flying Biscuit and the Silver Skillet; barbeque with Korean-influenced sides (garlicky creamed corn, green tomato kimchi, etc.) at Heirloom Market; donuts at the 24-hour-a-day Sublime Donuts near Georgia Tech, where the animated transition slideshow of their donuts kept the kids mesmerized on the donut-pillowed couch; and burgers and milkshakes at Grub Burger--where they offered to split the s'mores shake into two cups, each with its own whipped cream, toasted marshmallow, chocolate, and graham--and at Cookout--where Robert got a kick out of the (lack of) service and the "side dishes," which included fried chicken soft tacos, bacon soft tacos, and a corn dog, on the $5 combo meal.
On Thursday I went to the aquarium with everyone, complete with the dolphin show that got us all soaking wet (much to Samantha's dismay and Marcus's joy), and then headed back to the conference early while Robert took the kids to the Olympic rings fountain and the big ferris wheel (or the "fairest wheel," if you're Samantha).
On Friday they went to the Martin Luther King, Jr. birthplace, where Samantha learned that he was a very messy boy and his baby sister slept in a dresser drawer, and then to a playground next to it.
On Saturday they went to Stone Mountain, for ropes course fun and mini golf.
It was great meeting so many friends I'd known online for years and years, and getting to meet their babies and kids and have them meet and hold mine. What fun! Robert, when greeted by name at the hotel pool by a mom and child, was initially a bit put off, but then just relaxed and started greeting the moms back by asking "Which one are one?" (answerable, in case you couldn't tell, by a one-sentence mini biographical sketch: "I'm the one from Minnesota with a pizza oven," or "I'm the one from Illinois who's an opera singer," etc.).
One evening there was a make-your-own weighted doll workshop. This involved removing the heads from baby dolls, then removing all their stuffing, and adding tiny rocks tied inside knee-high stockings, shoved down into each arm and leg and into the body and the head, and then putting back the stuffing around the rocks so it doesn't rattle. At the end of this fairly creepy process, you have a doll that weighs about 5-6 pounds and can be used to teach new parents how to wrap or wear a baby. Bonus: it was fun to make, and Samantha is crazy about the doll now. Marcus came to the workshop with me and was a huge help. He gloried in removing the stuffing and then shoving it back in, and he also crawled around under the tables picking up all the supplies other people dropped. He became adept at threading the ziptie through the baby's neck in order to fasten the head back on, and he helped three other moms with that step when they were stuck.
The hotel (Renaissance Waverly at the Cobb Galleria Center) was quite comfortable, and we all slept well and enjoyed our stay (especially, for Robert, once he sorted out his access to the executive lounge).
We flew back home on Sunday afternoon. Des Moines in July 2018? You bet!
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Created: 7/18/16. Last Modified: 7/18/16.