Monday, October 08, 2007

The Things We Carried

We spent a weekend recently at the home of some old friends, baby in tow. Traveling with a baby is an enormous pain in the ass. In August we had to make an eight-hour drive South to Illinois for a funeral, and that sucked. Particularly because it was hotter than Hell and my mom was with us, bringing her own special blend of “help” on the road. This time it was just our little family…and a car full of crap. Piper has started rolling in earnest, so when she falls asleep we can no longer just plunk her in the middle of the bed and call it good. Therefore we had to drag along our Pack n’ Play, which, although cute, is big. We also brought the stroller in case we went/walked somewhere and the almighty bouncy seat. The baby is at an age where she can play and be entertained now, which necessitated a floor-quilt and a tote full of toys. I learned the hard way last time that I didn’t pack enough clothes for the baby so this time I brought two of everything: two footie sleepers, two long-sleeve onesies, two short-sleeve onesies, two sweaters, three hats, and a warm one-piece outfit with long sleeves and a hood, just in case. I checked the weather but it can change pretty fast here and 74 degrees can feel like either 54 or 94, depending on where you are and what time of year and how humid it is and whether or not the gods have received their virgin sacrifices in a timely manner. So I packed for all occasions. I also brought extra clothes for me, since I learned that lesson the hard way, too. It’s not a lot of fun smelling like spit-up all day. I also packed a ridiculous number of breast pads, since I didn't pack nearly enough last time and therefore drove home all the way from the Indiana border with a Lightdays Unscented Pantiliner stuck inside my bra. Our car was not exactly stuffed by the time we loaded all this in there but it sure didn’t leave a lot of extra room.

It was sort of depressing, really, because we swore we’d never be THOSE people. The ones lugging mountains of crap around for one small baby. You've seen them, I'm sure. They are laden like pack-mules, bags and totes and mysterious foldable pieces of baby gear hanging from their limbs, and they leave a trail of squeaky stuffed animals and stale Cheerios in their wake. We have become those people. I’m trying to look at the big picture – she won’t be in diapers forever, eventually she’ll be able to get in and out of a regular bed by herself, one day she’ll be able to turn the pages of her books all on her own instead of just chewing on them. The amount of stuff she needs will decrease slowly. We just can’t go on any long trips with passengers until then.

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