Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tailgating, the Irish way.

Since moving close to Notre Dame it has been an annual Fall event to walk to campus and tailgate. It is quite a big deal around here, people get their coolers and tents set up at least 8 hours before the game even starts and continue to tailgate well into the evening even after the football team has played and is gone and probably at home in their pj's.
We moved here in 2001, that makes one year of tailgating baby- free...and I get pretty nostalgic about it.  If I remember correctly it was a smorgasbord of alcohol, bad food that you LOVE and friendship. The following year I was pregnant and while the food really hit the spot,  my husbands drinking did not settle well, at least not with me. The following year we had our first son, I carried him in a bjorn and dodged drunk peoples attempts to touch him. It almost sent me into a new mommy panic attack, but I made it. The very next football season we had doubled. Now we had a bjorn and a stroller.
I noticed the fun of wondering around the festival of beer, burgers, cookies and hummus became a bit less enjoyable and I found myself saying things (referring to college students) like " these kids need to be careful, there are children here" or " I wonder what her mother would think if she saw her doing that keg stand"  The following year we did not have an additional child and we even got a babysitter so we could relive the good ol' tailgating days.  This resulted in my husband enjoying himself a little too much and me pouring a cup of ice cold water on his head...long story which you can imagine, did not have a happy ending.
The next year I was pregnant (again) and I was so overwhelmed with the debauchery of people having fun,  that I cried and waddled home. So when I told my husband I would like to go tailgating again this year, he looked at me with a bit of (understandable) concern.  To our credit, we are a bit more realistic and know we cannot spend 2 hours in a parking lot no matter how much we (he) would like to.   We had a specific place to go with people I trust and are friends with or as I like to think, a child support staff.
I had Oscar in the bjorn and the mile walk felt a bit like a 10k with a 21 lb. baby attached to me.  The middle 2 were in the wagon and the oldest was happily trotting along side. What I noticed is that people seemed to stare at us.  Maybe it was the fact that we had so many boys, or maybe it was that they all look like slightly modified variations of each other and Don.
*A note about tailgating, or football in general. Something primal inside me happens and I crave anything with salt and fat. Nachos, cheese, potato chips, etc.
Also, with children you can't have a long conversation with anyone because your eyes and mind are watching to see which one of your kids might try and escape your eye shot.
We finally arrive and the boys were impressed with the spread. They each got a plate and filled it with thier choice of food, Jacks plate had less of a variety as it was just filled with candy corn. Finegan decided to diversify, but sticking to one color palet of brown, brownies, cookies and coke. Parker went out on a limb and added a carrot to his plate, but I believe it was just for show because he never ate it.
It felt like we had finally gotten a handle on it. The boys were playing football with their daddy, the weather was perfect and for a moment it felt like the Gipper himself was guiding us from the heavens to have a perfect family tailgate. That lasted , in its entirety about 10 min. It was then that Fin started dodging bees, Jack started sneaking around like the pink panther and Parker threw a football that hit me right in the head.
I gave Don the nod and we both knew that our time in the perfect zone had come to an end.  As we were packing up to leave, ( the boys needed food to go in case they got hungry on the 10 min. walk home) a college girl approached me.  I will assume she was slightly intoxicated, but she asked me if all these boys were mine..Yes I said, wondering which one asked her for something, they have a habit of asking strangers for candy, they figured if they beat a stranger to the candy question, than they can accept the candy if provided.  She then said, Wow, how? Did she want the technical answer or the non- technical,. What? I said, " well you are so young, how did you have them so fast? It was now indeed crystal clear she was intoxicated, but I told her I was, in fact, 33 years old.  I think I even said it with that much cheese. 
She then told me that she though I was only 25. I would have kissed her right there, but given the fact that
1. she was drunk and
2. I had a hat and sunglasses on that made 3/4 of my face un- visable
I can understand why she thought that.  Because my husband was actually attending the football game, I drew the lucky straw to take all of them home.  There is not a workout in the world that could prepare one for pulling 70 pounds in a wagon while 20 + pounds are attached to the front of you.  Parker assumed the patriarchal role and made sure to clear out any beer cans/bottles that got in our way on our sidewalk lined way home, except when we were encountered by any dog, but especially one in clothing, in which all things stop and he has to pet them.
Overall it gave us the boost we needed to attempt this again next year...but for now we will bask in our parental glory

1 comment:

  1. Christina L Duis-HallOctober 17, 2010 at 4:26 AM

    Noelle,
    I always love to read your blogs they make me laugh and I so see myself in your shoes minus one kiddo and me having girls.

    ReplyDelete