My family threw a baby shower for Lynnette, Madison, Tony, Dezeray, and me on Saturday. Here are some of the best shots of the night, all of which were taken by my cousin Tyler, the family’s photographer.
Maggie was the official mascot of the festivities. She was gracious enough to spend most of the night cooped up in her pen so that the humans could play, eat, play, eat again, and mingle in peace. She only barked to alert a nearby human that she should like a piece of ice. Maggie was also unintentionally the source of the deepest laugh of the night. Near the end of the night, soon after we cleaned up the garage, I sat down in a chair next to Maggie’s pen and started duh-duh-duhing the old British Bulldogs’ entrance theme. It’s the one that sounds super-English. The thing is, I was so tired, I didn’t even realize I was doing it. It wasn’t until Matty said, “What, British Bulldogs?” that I realized what I was doing. I couldn’t stop laughing. It wasn’t humming and it wasn’t singing, it was just a bunch of tongue rolls and duh-duh-duhs. When I finally did stop laughing, I composed myself long enough to do it again and capture it on Instagram. “That doesn’t even sound like it,” my dad said. “It does, it does,” Lynnette said with a tone of resignation. YOU SEE DAD? MY WIFE GOT MY BACK.
Tyler and Kristi planned games and I thought they arranged them splendidly. The “thinking” games took place in the afternoon before the copious amounts of food could ravage our collective ability to create rational thoughts. One of my favorite games featured pictures of animals and a list of names assigned to the baby versions of those animals. I thought it would be easy – and it kind of was – but I had no idea what a whelp was, and so of course when Lynnette asked “What’s a whelp?” I simply replied “Welp…” I thought we had this game won easily because Lynnette has a biology degree, but that proved no match for the cheating skills of my brother Paul, the lawyer. He’s pictured above trying to litigate his way through this game, probably citing Roe v. Wade or some other lawyers’ school trick. The best part of the night was watching my mom and dad interact. “What do you think, Al?” my mom would say. My dad would say something reasonable (because that’s the only thing he’s capable of) and my mom would mutter something or make an inarticulate noise, then go with her idea anyway. When the answers came out, my dad said “I told you!” twice. This has been going on as long as I have been alive and it is my personal equivalent of comfort food or a favorite blanket.
Matty and Tanz are due in the middle of October and I cannot wait for them to become first-time parents. Tanya has already been elevated to sainthood in our family, and I am positive she’s going to be an amazing mother, but can you even imagine a world in which an infant is under the care of the inimitable Matty Higa? Me neither, but it’s going to happen. I have hope, though. A little over 7 years ago, I thought the same thing of myself and somehow Madison unearthed the best version of me. I hope and wish the same for Matty. Just in case you were wondering, yes, the child of Matty and Tanya already owns a Red Sox jersey and a Red Sox blanket.
The post-dinner games were much more active. The first game involved two members of a team of three building a diaper on the third. I have included this picture solely because I want to point out how awesome it is that my dad hit the Rick Rude pose. Obviously, this is another of the night’s many highlights.
Team Pascua put on a diaper-making clinic. Lynnette and mom wrapped the diaper so tightly onto dad that he was able to take off the diaper in one piece and step out of it at the end of the game. It was put together so well that I am sure it could have served as a functional diaper – for a number 1, but probably not a number 2. When I openly marveled at the diaper’s durability, Mom Pascua simply said “Leave it to the nurses.” Hashtag Swagger.
The final game was a relay. Perhaps because the game involved physical skill, our collective competitive edge awoke. We stacked our team with Matty, Paul, Ritchie, and myself. The first leg of the relay was drinking from a baby bottle. Matty volunteered for this portion as well as the final leg; he was a true team captain. Drinking from a bottle is not high-intensity but it did serve to remind me of how long Madison took to drink her milk as a newborn. It looked like she was actively drinking from the bottle, but the milk level never seemed to lower. I can’t wait until the Tony and Dez pop out and they take doubly long to drink their milk. Good times ahead.
The second leg of the relay involved blowing up a balloon, placing it under one’s shirt, holding a plastic golf ball between one’s knees, then hopping a short distance to drop said ball into a plastic container. Choosing Ritchie to do this was a no-brainer. He is still in high school and therefore has not seen his athleticism erode like the Kailua shoreline. It needs to be said, however, that Karen Higa performed admirably in this event. Maybe she went someplace else in her head. Maybe she imagined that the plastic golf ball was a mote of dust and the driveway was the living room floor, because that makes total sense. There’s NO WAY she drops that ball.
Gross. The third portion of the relay required the player to devour a thing of applesauce. I don’t like apple sauce, but eating is something I do well, and game theory says you put your players in spots where they have the best chance to succeed. This is my spot. I drank the warm apple sauce more than I ate it and the entire time all I could think was “I won’t have an room for dessert.” You know how this ended. I did have room for dessert.
After the apple sauce, Paul bobbed for bottle nipples. If the whole lawyer thing doesn’t work out, he certainly has a career in competitive nipple bobbing. Paul fished all the nipples out of the bowl with an elegant efficiency that moved almost too quickly to behold. All of the members of the family dropped ooohs and ahhhhhs at Paul’s mastery. “Now you all know what Paul studied in college,” I said. He did not refute my statement. Sustained. Overruled.
The final event of the relay might have been grosser than the apple sauce. I’m glad I didn’t have to do it. Tyler and Kristi melted chocolate in diapers and the participants had to eat the chocolate. “So gross!” my dad said, in the exact tone and with the same inflection I would have used. My mom found the whole thing hilarious and I can’t blame her. Pictured here are my uncle Reyn and aunt Joy who ate the chocolate about as voraciously as I’ve seen a human eat anything. They shook their heads, grunted, and licked the diapers clean. They put out virtuoso performances. They were outdone only by Matty, who took down the entire mass of chocolate in one bite/gulp. You can see his mouth wrestling with it in the background.
Lynnette, Madison, and I opened gifts while dessert was served. We got a lot of diapers (which are the best gifts ever) and some of them came in the form of this diaper cake adorned with blue and orange ribbon. Yes, I was celebrating the Mets ascension to the championship of the National League East in this picture, and pretty much all day Saturday. Mets in 2015!
The big gift from my family – and the big get for Lynnette – was a Joovy double-stroller. Both Lynnette and I do research whenever we make big purchases. I left the selection of the stroller to her and man, she did some incredible work. There were random nights when she’d talk about things like turning radius, angles of seat reclining, component materials, and ease of foldability. This Joovy is the one she settled on, and many of my family members chipped in to order the monstrosity from Amazon. I guess putting the thing together was the final game of the night. Now, I have to admit, if you put Matty and I together with the goal of constructing something – even if you give us the instructions, all the tools, and sufficient time and space, there is a pretty good chance we’re going to screw up. There’s a 100% chance that we’ll get side tracked and start re-enacting scenes from Star Wars with the stroller’s safety rails. I give Lynnette credit. She sat back for 5 minutes watching Matty and I (with our uncle Irv) crawl through this process before taking the instructions so as to read them to us (but mostly Matty). It will take me some time before I master the folding and unfolding and adjusting of this new super-stroller, but I already know two things: it’s heavy and it fits in the back of the Highlander. You take the good with the bad.
Happy Pre-Birthday, Tony and Dez!
I am a much better writer than I am a speaker. I tried to thank my family on Saturday night, but feel I fumbled through it. So here and now:
Every kid grows up thinking their lives are “normal”. They assume what is true in their lives is true for all other kids. It isn’t until they are faced with a disparity in that regard that they are able to compare and contrast their own lives with those of others. My entire life all I have ever known is unconditional support. I have encountered enough in my life to know that this, our family, is not “normal”. It is special. I am and will be forever grateful for all of you who watched me play AYSO, struggle in Little League, graduate from high school, eek it out through college, get married, and become a father. You all helped get me here, and I am heartened to think you will all help me get my kids there, too. Thank you so much for Saturday and all the days before then.