Daycare vs Mama Bear

Daycare vs Mama Bear

Our daughter was placed in an in-home daycare when she was 12 weeks until about two weeks ago. Let’s say the woman in charge’s name is Maleficent.

We met with her while I was pregnant. Her home was set up beautifully– like it was meant to be a daycare. She had a nice carpet, games, toys, books, and no television. There was an abundance of stimulating colors and sounds. The best part was that it was two minutes away from our home and it was not super expensive. She claimed to have 20 years’ experience, seemed super nice and approachable, but wasn’t too eager for our business, which I liked. On paper, everything looked great.

I left the house and looked at my husband. “I feel like that was great.”

“Same! I think that a good option.”

“But I feel like it’s not going to work out…”

“Oh yeah? Why do you think that?”

“No reason, just a gut thing.”

A gut thing wasn’t sufficient enough reason to say no to such a good setup. We both decided it was the best option for her–fewer babies in a home means fewer germs. Plus, she’s super close by.

So, time went on. I had a 50 hour labor. Our beautiful baby was born. I had an amazing maternity leave and when she was 12 weeks old, we sent her into the she-devil’s lair.

Things started of swell. She sent us pictures, she’d give us gifts and advice on Emerson. We thought we had a great lady in our corner.

The issues really started when Maleficent began complaining about our daughter’s spit-up. She told us it was too much for a girl her age. We understood–she did spit up a lot. So, we took her to the doctor.

“It’s not affecting her growth. She’s quite energetic, so perhaps it’s just how much she moves after she eats. Try settling her down.”

That sounded plausible to us. We told the daycare.

“Well that’s just crazy. You need a new doctor. I have brothers-in law who are doctors. I know.”

“Well, thank you for your advice, but we went to our actual doctor. Let’s just try this and see how it goes.”

As time went on, our daughter’s spit-up decreased a bit at home, but still existed. She continued to be a happy, energetic baby.

“You need to take her to the gastroenterologist.” Maleficent consistently texted us. So, I took her to the doctor again.

“Try slowing down her feedings after one or two ounces. She’s growing and looks great!”

So we did. We slowed down her feedings. Spit-up was almost completely gone. When we told the daycare she responded with, “Why, that’s just crazy. She’s the slowest eater I have.”

I looked at her. “Well…I know she can eat an eight ounce bottle in five minutes. I think we should try this and see how it goes.”

She stared at me, “You don’t see her as much as I do.” RED FREAKING FLAG. But I thought, no, this is just an issue with me. I don’t care how mean or rude she is to me, as long as she takes care of my baby, right?

“That’s true, but I did take her to the doctor. Please take breaks every two ounces.”

Emmie would come home constantly with spit-up on her. I figured Maleficent wasn’t slowing down the feedings. When I asked her about it she said, “You all just aren’t doing what’s best for her.”

I felt so guilty. I want to do what’s best for my child every time. So, we put her on anti-reflux medicine. Her spit-up was still minimal and manageable at home, but maybe we were doing something wrong.

It wasn’t just the spit-up she made us feel guilty about. She bombarded us about starting solids. When I told her we were waiting for the doctor’s go-ahead (she was 5.5 months at this point), she told us we weren’t feeding her enough. When we asked her to increase her formula feedings to every three hours, she responded with, “No. Her schedule is every four.”

I continued to question myself. As a new parent, I trust the guidance of experienced moms, especially a childcare provider. Was schedule more important? Isn’t it important that we listen to the doctor?

At six months old, we got the go-ahead to try solids. The daycare provider did not want to have solids at her house because she “didn’t want to be responsible for that.” That’s fine, I thought. We’re taking it slow anyhow.

Things progressively made us more anxious and paranoid about our parenting skills. She would send passive-aggressive texts about how our daughter was wearing “just a onesie” when it was hot outside and how she “prefers outfits.” Fine, we’ll put her in outfits. We then got a text message telling us our daughter was “really” sick–low-grade fever, continual bowel movements, fussiness, the whole nine yards. She texted my husband to pick her up by 3:30.

At 2:41, she texted him: “I have babies sleeping. When are you getting here?” He was four minutes away.

He picked her up, took her to the doctor immediately, and waited impatiently for the results. Everything was fine. She was smiling and bouncing and happy.

Perhaps the daycare lady was just mistaken, right?

Along with continual texts about the babe’s spit-up, which, once again, was almost nonexistent at home, we had a discrepancy about summer pricing. As a teacher at a private school, I work some hours in the summer, but not full-time. We changed our schedule with her in the summer, and I therefore believed that our prices would be different (also per a conversation we had prior to starting). When she charged us the same price, I called to discuss things with her.

She became irate and defensive, telling me I’m putting words in her mouth.

“I NEVER said that the pricing would be different.

“Maleficent, you did, but if that’s your policy, we’ll abide by it.”

“I NEED CONSISTENCY, I NEED CONSISTENCY.”

“Okay…please tell me when we’ve been inconsistent so I’ll know for next time.”

“I DIDN’T SAY YOU’VE BEEN INCONSISTENT. I SAID I NEED CONSISTENCY. DON’T PUT WORDS IN MY MOUTH.”

“When you continuously say you need consistency, it implies that we haven’t been consistent. Why else would you say you need consistency? It would be a moot point if we’re already being consistent…”

“THAT’S NOT TRUE! And I NEEEVVVEEERRRR SEE YOU! I ONLY SEE YOUR HUSBAND BECAUSE HE ALWAYS HAS TO PICK YOUR DAUGHTER UP!”

That’s when I felt the guilt pang so deeply, I shut her down. Yes, my husband does often have to do the heavy-lifting with our daughter. It’s hard to be a teacher and in graduate school. Yes, it’s my decision, but it’s for our family. And it’s none of her business.

“I’m going to stop you right there. I’m going to go and let you calm down while I take care of my daughter. We’ll talk later.” Her end of the phone hung up.

I continued to believe that it was just me she was having the problem with. She seemed fine with my husband and my daughter still seemed happy. It wasn’t until two weeks ago that shit hit the fan.

My husband called me, telling me Maleficent was extraordinarily annoying.

“Apparently the babe needs growth hormones.”

I started shaking. “She said what?”

“Yeah, she said the babe needs growth hormones. She also mentioned that we aren’t feeding her. Also, she was gossiping with me about another mom and how dirty their child was. She joked about how she gave the baby a bath.”

At that moment, I called another daycare we’d been looking at to see how soon they could start. I was irate, in tears. Growth hormones?! My daughter is not even eight months old. Gossiping about other mothers and giving babies baths without permission? I left work, texted Maleficent telling her that I was going to pick my daughter up.

When I picked her up, she had my daughter in her carseat on the porch while she hid behind her door. “She just woke up,” said Maleficent. “You came during her nap.”

“Great. I’ll be calling later.”

I texted her to see when we could talk. She responded with, “Consider this your three weeks’ notice to vacate from daycare.”

I responded, “If it were unclear, today was her last day.”

She wrote us a letter. I wrote her a letter. Ours to her said, “Our last day of your daycare will be June 16th, 2017.”

Hers to us: We need parenting classes, don’t feed our child, and neglect our baby. We don’t care enough about her and despite our terrible parenting, she has managed to thrive under Maleficent’s care.

Our daughter is in a new daycare where she thrives. She has no bouts of spit-up, she is advanced, makes friends, and is allowed to wear onesies. In fact, they said, onesies are better for crawling. She’s getting chunkier every day.  We pick her up, and she crawls with glee towards us.

Please moms, go with your gut. Don’t let what looks good on paper be more persuasive than your intuition. You know best.

Experienced Moms vs New Moms

Experienced Moms vs New Moms

You know that guy in your office who has been there for years, got a great education, has done really well, but refuses to accept new ideas because he “knows it all”? Any time you, the newcomer, suggests changes, he scoffs, pats you on the head, and says, “Oh, honey. You’ll learn.”

That’s how I feel about moms. 

I’m not trying to say all moms do this. In fact, I’m quite lucky to have a mom, mother-in-law, and grandma who give advice when asked and consider my family’s needs. Thanks, moms in my life. But I’ve come across quite a few moms who don’t respect the needs and wishes of other moms. That’s not okay. 

There are times when moms need to jump in. For example, if a baby is not placed in the carseat correctly–intervene. If the baby is almost falling out of the mom’s arms–sure, intervene. But when it comes to things like different philosophies of raising children, please shut-up. 

Let me tell you a story.

If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that my daughter is small. Our doctor has suggested that we wait to give her solids until her six month check-up to make sure everything is all set. Here’s a conversation I had with a mom:

“How are the solids going?”

“Oh, we haven’t started her on solids yet. Our doctor wants us to–“

“YOU HAVEN’T STARTED HER ON SOLIDS YET?” I looked around expecting the ground to be crumbling, demons driving chariots of Thestrals surrounded by fire to be appearing. Yes, not giving my not even six month old child solids meant the Apocalypse.

“Well, the doctor wants us to wait…”

“No. You can’t wait. Start her on solids today.”

“Well, we appreciate that…but the doctor…”

“Look, I’ve raised four children, have three grandchildren, and have plenty of doctors in my family. I know what’s best. Please start your daughter on solids.”

“Okay, I totally respect that you know what you’re doing and that you have doctors, you know, in your family. It’s just that, we have talked to our actual doctor…”

“She’s OBVIOUSLY HUNGRY.”

I stopped her. She’s not obviously hungry. She’s a chunkers, albeit small. Her legs are the size of strombollis and her chub hangs over her diaper. Her hands have literal dimples in them from the amount of fat she’s got going on. Not only that, but she’s always smiling. She’s always turning over, giggling, trying to crawl. She’s not an unhappy or malnourished child. Honest to God, she’s pretty damn perfect.

“No. We’re listening to our doctor.”

Here’s the clincher. Here’s the real grinding my bones, dragon-Mama turning part of this whole uncomfortable interaction.

“Well, most parents say thank you.”

I have never so badly wanted to smash all of my belongings. You know that part in Coraline (spoiler alert) when the Other Mother starts turning into the spider? Her neck starts to extend upwards, her face becomes more gaunt, and her teeth become fanglike? Her nails grow into long, pointed, knives, fingers following suit. That’s what happened to me.

I glared at her. “I will thank you when you have given advice that is both wanted and correct. I will thank you when you have listened to my perspective, respected it, and gone on your merry way. I will thank you when you are not so blinded by being right that you take what’s actually happening into consideration. I will thank you when I feel you deserve to be thanked.”

That was mean.  I get it. I get that she was just trying to help. And I want the help. I want to do what’s best for my kid. But moms, you do not have the authority to ignore someone else’s needs just because you’ve “been there and know best.” I respect you and I respect your knowledge. Being a mom is hard, and raising productive members of society is hard–I clap for all of you. Just because you’ve had the experience and raised great kids doesn’t mean you can force another mom into feeling badly for how she is raising her child. Stop belittling other moms– it’s hard for all of us. 

Moms, I love and respect you. Please love and respect other moms.

Attrition vs Appeasement 

Attrition vs Appeasement 

In certain situations, mothers stand alone against a sea of stupidity. I’m talking unwanted advice, idiotic interrogations, or unnecessary beratements (beration? Beratings? Wtf is the noun form of berate?) that we all receive. I have a few such incidents which occurred to me over the weekend. In my last post, I recounted the story of flying to our prospective families’ homes. The trip was fairly smooth overall. Let’s take a look at the journey back. 

We had a pretty easy go at the Atlanta Airport Security line, having been able to go through the VIP section of the line (this more than made up for not having been allowed on the plane first). The TSA agents were super nice and efficient with their gigantic bins. There was also a nice woman and her daughter who had us go in front of them. Wow. We made it through with enough time to go to the bathroom. There, a woman noticed me struggling with my infant and gigantic diaper bag (I still haven’t learned), and helped me carry my stuff. “We’re in this together.” Thank you, lady, you’re an amazing, beautiful person.

All these events made me believe in good omens. This trip home would be perfect. You know who else thought his life was going well? The Count of Monte Cristo.

We got onto the plane.  

“Oh my goodness! Your baby is so cute! And boy is she little. Was she a preemie?”

No, ass. I stared blankly at her for a moment. Look at me. I’m five freaking feet tall. Look, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being premature, and I don’t mean to make the word have a negative connotation. I was premature as were four of my sisters. We all turned out wonderfully and at least somewhat put together. But, my God, why? Is this not a super personal question? What if she did have difficulty during her birth or eating or growing? What if she is underweight and it’s a sore subject? Why would you ask me that?
Maybe she meant well…but, I still think it’s stupid.

 My Mom’s group on Facebook believes I’m overreacting to this situation, and I get that. Honestly, my mom’s group is full of beautiful, competent women. And I get that other moms may just want to bond with you. Perhaps I’m too private. But this comment on my daughter’s small stature infuriated me.

But, I acted with appeasement. I smiled, “Oh, no, she’s just small like her mama.”

“Oh! It’s just that she’s so little…” Yes, I get it. She’s little. Do you want me to give her a donut?

I laughed again and just walked to my seat. I hate her.

My daughter was mostly good with few screaming episodes. In one instance, she had a poopsplosion. I took her to the restroom to change her and found that she had pooped ALL over her onesie. She just smiled at me and giggled. You know what you did. You know you’re cute. One day, I will hold this against you.

I didn’t have a onesie with me in the restroom, so I took McImp back to our seat sans onesie. She was just in a diaper. What was I supposed to do? Leave her in the bathroom?

As I was searching for the onesie, my husband was holding the babe. I found it and began to put it on my child.

A flight attendant approached us. He looked at me in disgust as my husband and I attempted to clothe our wiggling infant. “Excuse me, you must do that in the bathroom. This is, after all, public transportation.” He walked away smug at having an unnecessarily poor attitude with us.  

Once again, I smiled. “Of course, I understand.”

The thing is, I don’t understand. We weren’t changing her in our seats. We aren’t heathens. It would be the equivalent of my husband or I putting a sweatshirt on while sitting on the airplane. I wanted so badly to lash out, to tell this flight attendant that I just wanted to more easily clothe my child. I wanted to explain that someone else was waiting for the bathroom when I left, and I would have a naked baby longer if I loomed outside of the restroom door waiting for the person to leave and obstruct a potential bathroom-goer from entering. No, I thought. I’ll just make it easier one everyone if I just changed her outfit in my seat.

But no. This is public transportation. Apparently, I’m inhibiting others’ comfortability. I hate him.

So, here is is. My outlet of attrition. I am building my strength against the idiots through my blog. Perhaps my venting is unfounded. Perhaps I’m easily offended or too harsh on others. Even so, here we are. Horrible moms who make life on others difficult through our attempts to figure it out.

You know what? We’re amazing.

Driving vs Flying

Driving vs Flying

There once was a tale of a people just trying to survive with their families in a poor town. This evil man comes into town and steals money from the townspeople claiming they owe more and more! The people wait and wait for a hero to show up when finally, their hero comes and steals their money back for them.  
This evil man, of course, represents the Airline Industry. 

I live in a city where there is a huge music festival at the same time as Spring Break. My family lives in a completely different state 1800 miles away. I like my family. My family likes my baby. I want to see them. The airline industry, however, has decided that to fly from us to them should cost more than it did to bring her into the world. 

So, we decided to drive. The 1800 miles. With an infant. 

“Well…you won’t get a lot of time with us if you drive. You really should try to find flights,” says multiple members of our family. 

“But you don’t understand,” I try desperately to explain. “The airline industry has decided to monopolize Spring Break! It costs my mortgage to fly home.”

“Well,” our family sighs, “you do what you think is best..” followed by a heavier sigh.

They raise fair points. Fine, we’ll fly. Here’s the thing. In order to fly at a somewhat affordable price, we must drive three hours to another airport. No big deal. She was great in the car. Smooth ride.

We get to the airport. I hate the airport.

“Yes, we’d like to check our bag.”

The attendant has a surly grin on her face. It seemed like she had just gotten into a fight with her superior and she was looking for an excuse to exert some dominance.

“Mmmhmmm, and are you checking your stroller?”

“We think we can check it at the gate.”

She chortled. For real. A real chortle.

“Well, let’s just weigh it, then.” She places the stroller on the scale. She smiles with real glee as she says, “Ooooh, I’m so sorry. It’s actually 23 pounds. You’ll have to check it.”

My husband wraps the stroller in its bag as I rock the babe in her car seat. I hand the lady my credit card and ID. Look, I’ve got a weird name. I love my name, but it’s strange. When I tell you what happens next, I’m using a fake name, but it will include the same amount of weirdness.

“Who is Marion Veronica Smith?”

“That’s me.”

She smiled again. And then laughed. Again. “No, no. Your ID says your last name is O’Reilly.”

“Yes,” I said through gritted teeth, “Smith is my maiden name. If you look at my ID, it says ‘Marion Veronica Smith O’Reilly’. My credit card says, ;Marion Veronica Smith’. How many IDs could I have stollen with three of the four same names?”

“Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm……” she says as she stares at the two cards, weighing them as if she’s Montesquieu figuring out the checks and balances system.

“Look, I have a school ID with my maiden name. Would you like it?”

“Yes…” I hand it to her. She accepts it. But I still I hate her.

We continue the line through security. We are loaded with crap, the biggest crap of all being my daughter. Just kidding. I love her. Long story short, everyone was super nice in the security line, although it did take us forever. Then, we got up to the gate. My daughter was incredible the entire time. Another passenger said, “Just so you know, you can go first. They’ll say, ‘Anyone with small children can board.’ That’ll give you time to get situated.” Thanks other mom, you’re amazing.

They did not call for small children. We had to go with the other plebeians as we were lugging around a 13 pound angel who, while adorable and mostly well-behaved, wants to just sit and sleep. I mean, at what point is it even worth having a child if we can’t get on the plane first?

We get on the flight. She cries a bit, we feed her, she’s amazing. The plane begins to land. She cries a bit, we feed her, she’s amazing. We get off of the flight fairly happy.

They sent all of our carry-ons to bag check. We wait. We wait and wait and wait. We wait one hour. She’s still well behaved. Mom is cranky. I’m mature. I handle it.

We go to the rent-a car location. We wait. We wait and wait and wait. She poops. She poops and poops and poops. Like, imagine an entire flock of birds decided your car was target practice. My daughter was the flock of birds and her outfit and my husband was your car.

We finally get the rental car and load up the car seat, which we brought. I forgot the clip for the car seat. After many a curse words from my heathen mouth and many a kind word from my husband, he figured out that the car seat has an alternate way to hook to the seat. He’s amazing. I love him and I hate the car seat.

After my daughter screaming in the car for ten minutes, my husband avoiding cars to get back to her and give her the pacifier, and us figuring out the alien city, we arrive at our first stop at 3:30 am. Our flight landed at 11:30 pm. The airport is 35 minutes from our destination. To be fair, the time did jump ahead one hour, but saying that just makes the whole situation less dramatic.

So, thus far, our trip (which has only just begun) took 14 hours to get to our destination. Driving without stops is 13 hours. We’re driving a lot anyway. I want to drive from now on. I hate when my husband is right. Even so, he’s my Robin Hood.

Blog Recognition

Image result for Blogger Recognition award

 

Thank you so much I’m Sick and So Are You for nominating me for the Blog Recognition Award! In my brief time of spilling out the hysterics of being a mom, I really appreciate the recognition. Honestly, if constantly getting spit upon by my mockingly angelic child means other bloggers think I do okay, I’ll continue to be spit upon.

Since I’ve been nominated, here are the rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers for this award.
  • Comment on each of their blogs, letting them know they’re nominated and linking back to this post.

How My Blog Started:  My blog got started because I constantly feel like I never do the right thing as a mother. All mothers are amazing, and yes, we are all goddesses who are raising the next generation of geniuses, but we somehow feel that gives us a right to always think our way is the best way. And it is. For us. For some reason, lots of mothers reach a level of hubris on par with Oedipus which somehow gives them the right to judge other moms all the time. I hoped my blog would a) give me an outlet to admit when I’m wrong and b) show other moms that it’s okay to mess up sometimes. As long as you don’t give your baby moonshine or leave them in a hot car, I feel like we’ll be okay. Mothers mother differently.

#1 Piece of Advice to New Bloggers:  Write what you feel. Don’t stress over every little word. As long as you love your piece, you’ll use the right language.

#2 Piece of Advice to New Bloggers:  Yes, say you feel and do it passionately, but revise. You don’t want to say “shit” when you mean “shut”, or worse, you don’t want to say “fudge” when you really really mean “fuck”.

The 15 Bloggers I Have Nominated:

I’m super new to blogging, so I want to nominate those who inspire me. You should check out all of these awesome bloggers!

  1. Raw Uncensored Motherhood
  2. Books and Traveling with Lynn
  3. Devouring Books and Lattes
  4. This is Fatherhood
  5. Living a Full Life After ED
  6. So Called Mom
  7. Just a Man
  8. Motherhood Mishaps and Everything In Between
  9. IVF. Discuss.
  10. It’s a Bella Life
  11. Brittany Thielman
  12. My Caffeinated Chaos
  13. Old House in the Shires
  14. Me Rebooted
  15. Mrs. James Blogs

 

Thank you again! I’ll have a new post up tomorrow!

Staying In vs Going Out

Staying In vs Going Out

Your child is a beacon of holiness hand-delivered to you by a choir of little, chubby, creeplily winged babies. As they hand over your own little cherub, those flying miniature Michelins sing songs filled with such beauty, such melody, your heart instantly fills with what can only be described as ethereal love.

That’s why I can never ever go out without my baby.

Each time I put on that sexy red number I can finally fit into after having my baby four months ago, I recreate my own Reverend Dimmsdale situation. I just want to hide into the woods and shout, “Pearl is mine! She’s my baby!” So, I avoid it. I stay home and watch her. 

No babysitter is ready to handle this four-month old. She’s her own fountain of spit-up and poop. How would I take it if she got a diaper rash because of some inexperienced babysitter? No one knows how the only way to get her to sleep is to sing Billy Joel’s “Lullabye” in the perfect key of G major. No one understands that you have to hold her hand while she rests on your chest or else she grabs you, worried that you’ll run away. No babysitter could possibly do the cutie-booty dance with the perfect hip-thrusts to get her to wiggle her toots out. Nope, I’m staying in.

Who cares if she claims to have 30 years of experience and I’ve checked all of her references. She claims to be CPR certified, but how can you really tell? She says she raised five children, all of whom grew into semi-stable adults. Yes, you know this to be a fact, and yes you know her personally. Fine. She’s my mom. I just don’t want to leave my baby.

Apparently, I’m stifling my child and ignoring my husband by refusing to go out. The voices begin again:

“You need to keep up the romance in your relationship.” “A happy mom is a happy baby. Live a little!” “You have to give your baby some time with someone else.”

Then, the Reverend Dimssdale begins again. How could I ignore my relationship? Isn’t the love between my husband and I just as important to our family? He’s such an amazing husband and father. The least I could do is go out on a date with him. After all, we know she’s in great hands. 

Fine, you’ve convinced me. I put on the red dress and the heels. Too soon for the heels. Flats it is. We go out to an amazing Brazilian steakhouse. My husband wears the button-up I love. We are ready to have a romantic night, just the two of us.

“What do you mean you left your four-month old at home while you hussy it up with some guy?” “What kind of selfish mother are you?” 

I’ve turned my home into a restaurant called Hester’s. Now, we can suffocate our child with love and simultanously enjoy a nice filet mignon. 

Too Prepared Diaper Bag vs Not Prepared Enough Diaper Bag

Too Prepared Diaper Bag vs Not Prepared Enough Diaper Bag

Really, there is no in-between, is there? You have either prepared way too much or way too little.

I know what you’re thinking: this is not one of those baby issues I’m overly concerned about. Nor should you be. Let’s just take a look at what happens when you do either, because remember, you really can’t do anything right.

When I first had my perfect angel-face, I would carry the heftiest diaper bag you’ve ever seen. I looked about ready to hike the entire 2200 miles of the Appalachian Trail for six months. I packed four extra outfits, fifteen diapers, two burp cloths, three pacifiers, an entire pack of wipes, 10 two-ounce bottles of formula, and two bottles–only to be away for three hours. I was ready for anything. 

My ultimate goal is to be super mom. I thought, “But what if [insert crazy, apocalyptic adventures which can only be seen in movies] happens? I’m going to be prepared! If she spits up all over her outfit and a burp cloth, I’ve got extras. Plus, I can feed her what she spits up! What if, after that, she poops on her extra outfit, thus needing another diaper and a ton of wipes, and of course, another outfit. WHAT IF– we are in the desert with no access to water, and she drops TWO pacifiers in the sand and a rattlesnake swallows them, poops all over herself because of the heat, and spits up INSIDE of her bottle? Yes, all within the three hours we’re gone. I don’t know why we’re in the desert and I’m sure she would have other problems to worry about, but in case it does happen, I am prepared. 

As time went on, I realized I would never take my daughter to the desert. Also, I was told I was carrying too much. “You really need only one extra outfit, maybe four diapers, the one pacifier and burp cloth are fine, a small package of wipes, and one bottle.” Okay, I’ll bite. She’s over three months old, I can lighten up a little bit.

Not. Let me explain what happens when you lighten up a little bit.

I was on the way to a doctor’s appointment. My doctor is an amazing man who lets me bring the babe. So, I pack light, after all, it’s only a one-hour doctor’s appointment. I packed 3 two-ounce bottles of formula, one extra outfit (no onesie, because what’s going to happen?) one bottle, three diapers, one pacifier, and one package of wipes (it’s just easier that way). I fed her before we left and headed out to my doctor. I was feeling good.

We got to the doctor about 45 minutes later. Traffic, I tell you. No big deal. She slept the entire way, and there should be no reason she’s hungry. 

Here’s the thing: at this point, little doll baby was going through a bit of a growth spurt. About half an hour into my appointment, she starts screaming as if I hadn’t fed her in fifteen years. I tried everything. My doctor tried everything. She would not calm down. She kept rooting, trying to suck on her hands, all the tell-tale signs of hunger. Alright, I thought. I’ll feed you one of the two-ounce bottles. 

I forgot the insert in one of the bottles. The formula went through the holes of the bottle all over my doctor’s couch and the baby’s outfit. She’s still screaming. I’m simultaneously searching frantically through the bag for another bottle and bottle of formula while cleaning the doctor’s couch and baby. 

I FOUND ANOTHER BOTTLE (used bottle, disgusting). I leave my soaking-wet child with the doctor, run into the bathroom, and clean out the bottle’s insert. I run back, stick the insert in the other bottle, and put the formula inside of it. My hands are shaking as I desperately try to feed my child. I grab the baby from the doctor, apologizing profusely for my horrible parenting. My hands are shaking. The baby is screaming. 

I spill half of the formula all over the baby. What. The. Fuck.

I reach into the bag to get the last bottle of formula. At this point, she’ll have about three ounces. Okay, I thought. That’s doable until we get home. I start feeding her while I look through the bag for an outfit. No onesie to replace her already soaked one, but an overly-large Play and Sleep outfit. Awesome, I thought. She’ll look like a homeless ragamuffin. Fine, at least she’ll be dry.

So, we calm down. I feed her. She’s fine. The doctor’s fine. We laughed awkwardly at my incredible misfortune. We continued to sit and chat a bit. Then, it was time to burp her. No big deal.

I forgot the burp cloth. Let me repeat: NO BURP CLOTH. The child is burping burping burping on my shoulder. Then she gives me this look. The look that’s resembles a wiley coyote when he’s about to eat you. The look a politician gives you when they promise something they know will never come true. The look that says, “Oh yeah. I’ve got something brewing.”

Then there it was. The most heinous amount of spit-up I’d ever encountered. Think of Vesuvius and my face and shoulder were Pompeii. That’s insensitive, but in that moment, that’s how I felt. And how was my angel-face? Smiling. She was smiling, that creepy little goblin.

My doctor? Laughing uncontrollably. Mama? Literally just sitting there staring at my little Puck, except instead of love she was spewing, it was….you know.

We got everything cleaned, thank goodness. She fell asleep, because, you know, she has no heart.

In the future? I will pack like I’m hiking. Because parenting is an uphill battle.