One of the things that I am finding challenging about parenthood is managing some of the more mundane tasks that require me to be out and about with my daughter.
It’s been a little intimidating at times, I have to admit, to face the prospect of bundling her up, getting her into her carseat, making sure she has the appropriate things packed in her diaper bag, blahblahblah… It’s sometimes just easier to stay in. Well, that’s not entirely true — if it is something I can do by walking, stroller door-to-door and back again, then it is easy. It’s trips out in the car that are more of a challenge.
I think it’s because you have to prepare for a couple of scenarios. Is she warm enough/dry/fed/has toys to entertain her, so she doesn’t fuss in the car? Is she warm enough to be outside when we are NOT in the car? How do I get the car loaded up/cleaned off/warmed up AND keep my eye on her? Do we have layers on that can come off if we are indoors for a long time? And then there’s the issue of where we’ll be and for how long — because then we have to think about whether I can carry her, or her in the bucket, or if a stroller is required. AND if the place is even stroller-friendly. (Thankfully we haven’t gone there yet, because my car trunk is too full of crap to fit the stroller into. A project for another day.)
It’s all such a quantum leap from life as a childless person, where you could just get up and go.
But I am adjusting. I have made some mistakes, like going to the doctor — literally, about a mile down the road — without a diaper bag, thinking it was close enough it wouldn’t be necessary… only to have Stinkerbelle drop a massive load just minutes before her appointment. Or driving home from the grocery store, on one of our first trips together, only to find that her car seat was not completely latched in place (a 90-second drive through our subdivision, but STILL). And invariably, I get her dressed up nicely to go out, and she barfs on herself about 30 seconds before we are ready to go. But I am learning.
I mentioned on Monday that I had to get my car an emissions test, and get new stickers for my plates, and get groceries… yeah. That didn’t happen on Monday, when the weather was snowy. (There’s that procrastination thing — it’s sometimes easier.)
So today, I decided it was time to get it done.
It was sunny and bitterly cold, so I had to think about clothes and blankets and layers, not just for the outdoors and for the car, but for the up-to-an-hour it might take at the dealership to get the car tested. So I decided to forego the quilted clothes in favour of jeans and a t-shirt and a jacket — AND A BIB — and strapped her into her carseat with a couple of snuggly blankets on top. I got the car warmed up and packed her in, and off we went.
She was due for a nap, so I thought we could time things so that she’d sleep through the ride there and through the appointment. And she did doze off, right on schedule, as we drove there. But, once we arrived at the dealership, as soon as a gust of wind hit her in the face, she was up and awake. After only about a 5 minute nap. SPLENDID. And once I walked into the waiting area to find it packed with customers, I began to dread the wait. A tired, hot baby in a car seat with nothing to do in a room full of people can be a recipe for disaster.
But not this kid.
She was as happy as can be. She blew raspberries, and charmed other customers, and bellowed out DA DA DAs, and didn’t fuss one tiny bit. She played with her toys and chattered at anyone who would pay attention. She was happy to be out in a new place, with new faces to see, and didn’t seem to mind sitting in her car seat at all. The appointment passed quickly and painlessly.
Off in the car again, to drive clear across town and back to the licensing office. I thought for sure she’d be either fussing or sleeping, but nope — she just carried on playing and talking and was happy for the whole ride. And that appointment was a breeze too.
Finally, we headed to the grocery store. By this time, she had completely missed her nap, and lunch was inching closer. She was still fairly content, but her voice was getting that particular edge and volume to it that told me that soon, her patience was going to run out and she was going to need some lunch and a snooze. So, with as much speed as I could muster and babbling like a loon into my cart (where she sat in her bucket) I rushed Stinkerbelle around the store.
In the baby aisle, she was okay. By the bakery section, she was getting squirmy and shouty. And then, to the checkout.
Now, our grocery store has self-checkout, and it is often staffed by a woman named Mabel. Mabel is quite possibly the nicest grocery store employee on the planet. Possibly the solar system. She is always, always pleasant. And she LOVES her some Stinkerbelle.
Thank doG for Mabel today, because Her Babyness was just approaching critical mass when who should peer over the side of the cart but one of her peeps. And Stinkerbelle LOVES the adoration of the masses, so when she saw Mabel’s face, she broke into a huge grin and began squirming with happiness and chattering up a storm.
One must ALWAYS put on a good face for one’s adoring public, after all.
And thank goodness, too, because I got checked out and packed up without a meltdown. And her goodwill lasted just long enough to get everything into the car, driven home and unloaded.
And then she melted down. In the privacy of her playroom. Which was easily remedied with a nice lunch and a bottle.
So, a morning of tedious errands done. Me and the girl, out in the world, getting stuff done. I am sure it gets easier as things become more routine, but I admit I was glad to be home again. Mission accomplished.
(Although, I am in no way ready to solo at Christmas shopping yet. Thank doG for the internet.)