|A prime example of being good with babies. This photo is a lie.
I was clicking around on pinterest and saw this article about “How to Travel with a Baby.” I was like, fucking duh, you pack up their shit, put it in the car, then also put them in the car and go to the place you want to go. This article had a lot more involved, far more than “buckle up and go.” It involved first aid kits, baby CPR and the reminder to not drink and drive. Who really needs to be told that? Of course a baby is going to need first aid and CPR if you let them drink and drive.
Reading this reminded me about the first time I brought Jaclyn’s infant daughter Caitlyn anywhere. She was 3 months old and had stayed the night at my house and we were going to a BBQ at a friend’s house where Jaclyn would meet us later after she got out of work.
The following story I did not tell Jaclyn for 2 years out of fear that I’d like traumatized her daughter for life. Or that once she knew, she’d definitely not want to be my friend or ever trust me with her kid ever again.
|Gather round, kids. Time to get weird.
I was actually really stressed out about going somewhere with this kid. She’s an easy baby, but I had to drive a whole car with only me and a tiny baby in it. So much could go wrong. I also had the added responsibility of bringing potato salad. I had a lot to juggle, literally. I had to get myself, a baby, a car seat, a stroller, a diaper bag, my own bag and the best damn potato salad ever all into the car in the garage by myself in one trip. I didn’t know the rules of “do not leave baby unattended” for even 2 minutes. I even brought her in the bathroom with me when I had her over by putting her in a bouncy seat and facing her away from me as I peed. I didn’t know the nudity rules about babies either.
|Clearly a good babysitting decision
Anyways, I didn’t want to make two trips and irritate the baby so I had an idea. I called the front desk (we lived in a swank luxury apartment building) and asked them to bring by a luggage trolley (the kind you get at a hotel with a bellhop) to my door. Why didn’t I just ask one of them to help me is beyond me… they were all nice and knew me. But somehow I had it in my head that I was on a mission of solitude and had something to prove. So I loaded everything up on the luggage trolley and took the elevator to the garage and felt really smug at my bright idea.
|The blanket when it was new. It looks far more disgusting now.
|If you forget a pack-n-play you can toss them in a laundry basket.
Babies don’t even care.
As soon as I was about to start the car, it hit me what I’d forgotten: the baby blanket. You gotta have it. Especially this baby, she is engaged to that blanket to this day. Mike had bought it for her the previous day when after Jaclyn dropped her off, she’d forgotten a blanket, and we didn’t have any. I was just going to use a towel as a baby blanket, but Mike is a good uncle and went to Target and bought her the prettiest and softest and pinkest blanket he could find. So there was only one option, I had to go back and get the blanket.
Right as I was unbuckling Caitlyn from her car seat, I kind of hit her in the head by accident and she started screaming. I felt so awful. So, so, so, so, so awful. Fuck. I hit the baby. That is totally on the list of things to not do to a baby. I still had to get her blanket and make it quick, so I carried the wailing baby to and from the car as fast as I could. I buckled her back in, didn’t smack her in the head by accident this time, and tucked her in with a blanket and pacifier as I started to drive away. She would always fall asleep in the car so I was hoping she’d do that soon. She was still crying and I just snapped and I yelled at her, a baby “OMG shut up stop crying jesus christ you’re fine, I didn’t even leave a mark.” I hadn’t even made it out of the garage yet, so someone getting into their car nearby heard me yelling at a baby and looked at me like I was the worst person in the whole world. The look of disgust from a witness really sealed the deal that I was a piece of shit, worst babysitter ever.
Maybe you didn’t know this, but yelling at a crying infant? Doesn’t work. She calmed down naturally in a minute or two after the rhythm of the road put her to sleep. But for 2 years I was so afraid that somewhere ingrained in her subconscious was Aunt Dee smacking her in the forehead and then screaming at her for crying about it, and she actually hated me, or it would just come pouring out in therapy one day.
When I confessed this to Jaclyn a couple months ago, she assured me that no, I didn’t damage Caitlyn’s psyche, and that as a mother, she’d even done some stupid accidental stuff to her own kid and I shouldn’t beat myself up for it. I’ll probably feel bad forever for it, but at least now, Caitlyn can’t black mail me with her repressed memory when it resurfaces like “I know what you did… you think infants have no memory? I’m telling my mother.” To which I will counter “tough shit, I told her years ago and you ain’t got dick on me.” Because of course she’s gonna try to black male me someday…. or black mail?
The moral of this story, is if you hit & yell at a baby by accident… come clean… in a couple years.