We survived our big adventure in Manhattan yesterday. We were all beat by the time we got home last night, but all in all, it wasn’t as big a shit show as it could have been.
I’m sure this isn’t just a New York City thing, but I did experience the feeling that I was the only one on the planet who’d ever had a baby. People gawked as I hoofed it down the street strapped to a wailing infant whose cries may have been heard in Colorado. I swear to you, there are men who run the streets in lingerie and people who walk around with rats they’ve dyed purple perched on their shoulders, and I’m pretty sure they don’t get the bizarre looks I received. Being a mother must make me aggressive though, because I found myself wanting to flip them all off and scream, “Oh yeah! I’m pinching him so he screams to annoy you! I love it when he cries like this, ya dick!”
Is it just me or does time stand COMPLETELY still when your baby is unhappy in public? What may have been 20 seconds of fussing felt like 3 days of window shattering screams. And also? You know how in horror movies there is always the scene with intense screeching sound followed by the camera zooming in on the face of the victim amidst a really terrifying situation? You know how the world around them gets smaller and closes in? My world did that. Surely I’m not alone… Bueller?
All sense of, “I’m cool as a cucumber” and “I’m just a few deep breaths away from total zen” melted away when I felt I’d never settle him down. And the worst part was that he was strapped to me (which was also the best part in lots of ways), but that crippled my ability to adjust him. With Henry, a two degree tilt can be the difference of sheer bliss and an all out tragedy. A fast jiggle can be the medicine that soothes his soul… until it instantly turns into the the poison that nearly bursts his spirit.
Armed with that knowledge, picture this…
I’m walking down the street at a rapid pace. I have a 94 pound diaper bag sliding off my shoulder. It is conveniently supposed to strap across my chest “messenger style”, however, I have a flopping wildebeest- er, baby on my chest instead. I’m standing upright, then tilt to an angle hoping that’ll solve my problems. His cries quiet for a few steps. I get cocky. I keep walking. People think I need a V8. Then his cries rev up again. So I jiggle. Cries continue. I shimmy. Cries continue. I hum. Cries continue. I shush and hum. Cries cease to whimpers.
I walk four blocks with my body leaned to the side- jiggling, shimmying, humming, and shushing like I’m under the influence.
When I met up with George, I threw the diaper bag at him like it was on fire.
We arrived at the radiology department at NYU for Henry’s hip ultrasound. I was tunnel visioned. All I wanted to do was find a seat with some room so I could dig into the diaper bag for my nursing cover. It wasn’t necessarily “time” for Henry to eat, but dammit, it’s the only trick in my arsenal that seems to calm him once he’s that worked up. George checked us in. (Thank god he was able to come to the appointment with me.) I bee-lined to a seat in the waiting room, fought with my diaper bag to free my nursing cover, slung it over my neck- realizing I didn’t give a damn who saw my boobs or who I offended at that point. Within seconds, my angry baby’s cries settled and my blood pressure returned to a “not totally dangerous” level.
After showing the radiologists (and everyone else on the second floor of the hospital) what his lungs were made of, they confirmed Henry’s hips were perfectly normal (I guess this is a concern when babies are breech). He instantly calmed once we re-diapered him, so fortunately we were able to exit the hospital a bit quieter than we’d entered it.
George was able to take the baby back to his office for an hour while I went to my post-natal OB check up. I thought this might feel freeing, however, I found myself tapping my toe with angst the whole time I was at the doctor’s office. I pictured a massive baby meltdown while George was trying to work, and the doctor couldn’t examine me fast enough. I worried Henry would be hungry (even though he’d eaten just moments before I left him and George packed a bottle for this exact emergency situation). I had anxiety that, for the first time in his life, Henry might be picky and turn his nose up at his bottle in hopes of nursing instead. I rushed back knowing the second I stepped off the elevator, I’d find George’s boss reprimanding him for his squawking kid. Instead, I found a sleeping baby tucked peacefully in the corner of George’s office- George surrounded by doting females admiring our offspring. Life without me? Perfectly awesome.
It was rush hour before we were able to leave, so we dodged the subway and caught a cab home. Henry was almost as exhausted as I was, so we opted to skip his bath and headed straight to bed.
We slept like babies.
My baby may be an occasional hooligan by day, but he’s a consistent sleepyhead at night.
So we did it. We survived a day away from home. My diaper bag packing skills unfortunately didn’t suck, as it seems we needed “most” of the crap I packed. (The bright side to that heavy beast will either be one extremely buff arm… or one really lopsided shoulder.) We endured the stares, some mild embarrassment, and some serious physical exertion, BUT, I successfully nursed my son in public without flashing my nips to the masses, I made it back home without ever bursting into tears of rage, and the best part, I gained confidence to tackle that sort of an “adventure” again!
I’m determined to have my baby AND my city.
Although I think it may require growing an extra arm.