Martin and I, both former residents of Los Angeles, were excited to visit our old town this past weekend for a wedding. Aside from driving through on a couple of return trips from Southern California, it had been six years since I’d been to LA. Because the wedding was downtown, we stayed at the beautiful (and reasonably priced) Hotel Figueroa. It has a pool, a bar next to the pool, a restaurant, a beautiful lobby and great rooms, although it is a big “faded” as one friend described it.
When I lived in LA, I rarely stepped foot downtown. Downtown was considered dirty and dangerous, full of homeless people and drug addicts. But downtown is rapidly changing, and it was a pleasure to spend almost our entire weekend going to wedding events and restaurants there (Marvimon House, Ciao Trattoria, Cafe Tiara, Hotel Figueroa – we didn’t make it to Angelique, but that’s supposed to be another great place for breakfast.) Sunday afternoon we stopped by the west side to eat breakfast at the farmer’s market, check out the Grove (which didn’t exist when I lived there), visit my old apartment building and my friend Lesley who still lives there, and go to LACMA. Then we drove by Martin’s old house in Hollywood and the Disney Center before making our return. We never made it west of La Cienega, and I was fine with that.
Aside from the wedding and seeing Jeff and Lesley, one of the highlights of our trip was meeting three-year-old Joey, who gave me some great birthing advice. Joey, her parents and her one-year-old brother sat next to us at the pre-wedding dinner Friday night, and it turns out that, in addition to being an accountant, Joey’s mother gives birthing classes. Joey attended her little brother’s birth at home, and has learned quite a bit about the process herself.
Saturday night at the wedding, while I was resting my back on a couch beneath the Los Angeles sky, Joey approached me and asked if I had a baby in my stomach. Here is how the conversation went:
J: Is there a baby in there?
J: Is he swimming in salt water?
Me: Um, he’s swimming in water, but I’m not sure if it’s salt water.
J: When I was in my mommy’s tummy, I swam and swam like this (she demonstrates). Swimming is a good way to start labor.
Me: It is? I’ll have to try that.
J: Mm hm. Just remember, don’t go to the hospital too early.
Me: Okay, I’ll remember that.
(This is when her mother jumped in)
Mother: And what should you do, Joey, when the baby crowns?
Joey: Don’t push! Or you’ll tear. Like this (she puts her arms in a V above her head to demonstrate a huge tear.)
Me: I see.
J: And if you don’t push hard enough, your baby will have a cone head.
(This is when the father butt in)
Father: That’s true, but don’t worry, it will go back to normal the next day.
Me: All by itself?
Father: Yes, within 24 hours it will be fine.
And then Joey got distracted by a piece of wedding cake and running in circles after another little girl, so that was the end of my birth prep class. Today is Joey’s fourth birthday, so I want to wish her a happy birthday and thank her, once again, for all the great advice.