April 08, 2006

Shopping Struggles

My sweet, adorable, tiny baby boy has become a squirming, squealing 18-lb. lug.

My mom and I went shopping last Thursday and (of course) took Small Boy. Mom, in her infinite wisdom, suggested we take a stroller. I voted for the front carrier, but deferred to her experience. For Petsmart, the first instance of pull-Nathan-from-the-car-seat, I figured it was a short errand; why not just carry him and save myself the hassle of the stroller?

Problem #1: It wasn't a short errand. Petsmart's ID tag machines are cool and all, but engraving isn't fast in any sense of the word. Each character takes two passes. Go ahead and imagine how many characters there are in a dog's name, reference address, and home phone number. Now double that (we have two dogs, after all).

Problem #2: Nathan wasn't the calm, observant sort he used to be. We weren't done with Tag 1 before he started squirming and hyperextending in my arms. Since he discovered his ability to move on his own without parental intervention, he strongly disapproves of that option being denied him. He rocked back and forth; he tried crawling up my rib cage and over my left shoulder; he tried twisting his head and upper torso from side to side to escape the dreaded motherly arm enclosure. When all these failed, he expressed himself in the sort of high-pitched scream/squeal/wail that only ever happens when he's positioned just perfectly to pierce my eardrum.

Problem #3: By the time Tag 1 was done, I had to go to the bathroom. I pushed in the tokens for Tag 2 and proceeded to dance the recognizable "I have to go to the bathroom but am being forced to delay the action for now" dance while holding an 18-lb. squirming mass in my arms. Both tags finally done, I crammed them into a pocket and tried to calmly, coolly walk to the back of the store while desperately scanning the aisles for the rescue portal labeled "WOMEN". Since I wasn't up for trying to hold Nathan while going to the bathroom, I put his burp pad on the poured cement floor, put Nathan down on top of it, then did my duty - all the while trying not to think of how many dogs had been on that floor where my son was now playing. Correction: the floor where my son was now crawling, crawling to the floor drain (conveniently located in the stall I had chosen). I finished, pulled up my jeans, fastened the necessary toggles, and swooped Nathan and his burp pad back to my shoulder just before Nathan stuck his little fingers into the alluring holes of the drain.

I'm not up for the describing what it takes to wash one's hands while one is holding a 7-month-old. Life is too short.

I never thought to revel in going to the bathroom by myself before I had children. I didn't know having a child would remove that experience from my life. It's not something they tell you in premarital counseling or childbirth prep classes.

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