I know what you’re thinking. It’s about time. I mean, seriously, it’s been five weeks already…
But Guys, this is a Big Deal.
I’ve progressively become more introverted since my college days, so I’m already more content to stay at home on the acreage by myself with our daughter, rather than make trips to town every day. And in my defence, I’ve gone to church three times, in addition to a doctor’s appointment, and a couple of trips across the lawn to my in-laws. But honestly, I was also terrified of taking Baby Girl in the car By Myself (Yes, that deserves capitals).
All of my child-rearing experience begins with 6 months and up, for which I am at more at ease… but Baby Girl is So Tiny (caps, again). AND embarrassingly… that car seat baffles me.
You would hardly think that a collection of cloth and plastic could cause so much stress in a woman, but I kid you not, it does. When we brought our little one home from the hospital, I attempted to take the car seat out of the car, and for the life of me, could not. There was a jiggle here, a push there, a latch on the side, hold your breath and turn to the right… Our “Fast Action” Travel System was apparently baby-proofed against this ignorant Mama.
I kept envisioning myself in the Wal-Mart parking lot, struggling for twenty minutes to get my baby out of the car while the passer-bys offer looks mixed of sympathy and amusement…
And so, I attempted to avoid the inevitable, and stayed home. Until last weekend.
Baby Girl had been struggling with nursing and weight gain during her first few weeks, so I was a bit anxious that she was eating enough. All I had to do, of course, was bring her into the clinic and get her weighed, giving me peace of mind and a much calmer nursing session. So I finally did.
Murphy’s Law, as it were, made sure that it was an icy, foggy morning. As if I weren’t paranoid enough, I was grabbing onto every object in sight as I walked from the house to the car. There, I slid her into the base (the easy part!), and triple, quadruple-checked her buckle, her neck, and her little knit toque. The mirror that I had so meticulously set up on the back window had since fallen off, and refused to cooperate, but at least she was safely in the car.
Of course, the gravel roads were a complete mess. For the previous week, the weather had warmed in the beautiful sunshine, melting the snow and creating ditches from the heavy tires. Our car sits low, and it scraped and tilted over every mound and dip along the way. Needless to say… I drove VERY slowly. Grandma, scenic, Sunday-driving style.
The rest of the trip, to sum up, was pretty uneventful. I actually got Baby Girl out of the car seat to get weighed, with surprisingly little effort. We then went to visit my husband at work, and he placed her carefully back in before kissing us good-bye. When we got home, I happily moved to take out the car seat, impressed with myself for such a successful first outing.
And that’s when I realized why it had been so easy to remove her seat on the way there… I hadn’t actually set it in properly. For the next 15 minutes, I climbed over the seat, prodding, pushing, clutching, grunting and twisting to get that thing out… all while holding my breath so as not to wake my sleeping babe. To make matters more interesting, the farm cat was feeling lonely and tried to crawl into the car and onto my lap, meowing and clawing his way around. Every few seconds I had to pick him up, and place him back outside, only to turn around and see him climbing back in again. Neither one of us were ready to give up on our ventures.
Eventually, I did get the car seat out (baby still sleeping), and brought her gingerly into the house… albeit breathlessly. But hey, I did it.
I used to revel in enjoying the little things in life, and I still do – But now it’s more than just about enjoying, it’s about celebrating them. Every little step isn’t just a moment of happiness, it’s a success story. And even though it’s at half the rate of my normal speed, it doesn’t make it any less wonderful:
“Congratulations, Lisa! You hair is washed!”
“Way to go, Girl, you read three pages in your book today!”
“How Awesome! You stepped outside and got 30 seconds of fresh air!”
“Success, Mama! You finally left the house the other day…”
Little by little, we’re getting there – baby steps, as it were – and we’re celebrating every one: Every full two hour nap, every colic-free evening, every day without tears. Each one seems like a full-blown battle to accomplish the smallest bit of ground, but I’m slowly learning to accept each as a beautiful part of this incredibly bumpy, new journey.
And it may have taken me two weeks to finish writing this blog post, but hey… baby steps, right? Because I finally left the house the other day, and I feel pretty darn good about it.