Yesterday Elisabeth* turned 2 weeks old, and so far has made it through her first weeks relatively unscathed – a miracle, if you ask me.
I have two younger brothers. I started babysitting when I was 12. I have always been comfortable around babies – taking care of infants was a breeze!
And then I had my own. Now I am a model of ineptitude.
Want to semi-suffocate your child while dressing her? Watch me! Go through three diapers in one changing session? I’m your gal! At least I haven’t let her roll off the changing table or dunk her thumb in hot coffee (ahem, mom and dad).
How did this happen? Where did the ease with which I used to handle babies go? This child has rendered me completely clueless.
And then there is all her stuff. The car seat, the stroller, the sling. It’s bad enough that the kid doesn’t come with an instruction manual – why can’t her gear? (Oh wait. Most of it does. I may have let my husband read them hoping he would always be around to do the work for me. Bad call on my part.)
Yesterday my mom and I took the baby on her first outing to Target. Big step for baby! Bigger step for me. After spending the better part of an hour stocking up on diapers (how did we already go through all our diapers?!) and wipes and the other miscellaneous items one inevitably finds while shopping at Target, I needed to nurse. I strolled Elisabeth out to the car, unhooked the car seat from the Graco stroller frame on loan from a friend, and then stared at said stroller frame, dumbfounded. How in the world does it fold? It was a complete mystery.
Flash back just hours earlier, as we were loading up the car:
“Let’s take the stroller frame!” I suggested, noting how compact and neatly folded it was.
“Do you know how to use it?” My mom asked.
“How hard can it be?” I answered brazenly, and into the trunk it went.
My brash attitude toward the stroller was now biting me in the… In the name of nursing, I abandoned my efforts to fold the stroller frame and shamelessly left it next to the car for my mom to deal with after she checked out. Onto the next challenge: nursing in the backseat of the car. This effort went about as well as folding the stroller.
Soon my mom joined me in the parking lot and tried to tackle the stroller, with zero success. 20 minutes later, I’m sitting in an overheated car, milk squirting everywhere, cradling Baby in one hand trying to keep her eating, iPhone in the other hand looking up stroller demos on YouTube all while trying not to flash the Target shoppers. Meanwhile my mom is jostling and kicking and pulling and cursing the stroller in vain, desperately looking around the parking lot for someone – anyone – to help.
“I give up! I’m going to just put it in the trunk like this!” she said, removing all our shopping bags from the trunk and stuffing them in any open car space. A few minutes later, “I can’t get it to fit this way, either!”
“Wait!” I exclaimed, “I found the instructional demo on YouTube! It says it’s an easy, one-hand fold!” An easy one-hand fold? And we’ve spent 20 minutes trying to close the damn thing? I placed an insufficiently fed baby back into her car seat, and after viewing the demo around five times, somehow managed to fold the stroller. Lord help me.
Later that day, my sling further destroyed any iota of confidence in my parenting skills that remained. Please note, the sling is literally a piece of fabric with velcro. It took the efforts of me, my husband and my mom to determine that I am a complete idiot. Or that is was the wrong size. Or both. We spent way more time than was appropriate trying to figure out how to fit Baby comfortably (and safely, of course) into this sack of cloth, to no avail.
“Just get the jersey wrap thingy,” my mom suggested.
“But the jersey wrap thingy isn’t award-winning or featured on The View!” Despite my sling’s fabulous credentials, I had to give up. Defeated by a piece of fabric. Pathetic. I packed up the sling to return to Amazon, sadly reconciling myself to the fact that the likes of Khloe Kardashian and Denise Richards are smarter than me; according to the sling’s website, they are both users of this particular product. -Sigh-
A new baby carrier is on the way, and since Elisabeth has become fond of pooping everywhere but her diapers – like the bath, or all over my shirt – my diaper average/change has definitely lowered. I guess that counts as progress? As long as I keep her from rolling off the changing table, I think they’ll let me keep her.
*Elisabeth is currently being called many names, all of which may show up on this blog. Just so you are aware, they include: Elisabeth, Ellie, Elle-Belle, Elle, Lucy, Luce and Chunky Monkey. Yes, she is going to be a very confused child. But now that you’ve been notified, hopefully you won’t be a confused reader.