Meredith C. Carroll: Will my baby like me?
Meredith Pro Tem
Despite what I used to scribble in my journal during the countless miserable weekends I spent being grounded in my bedroom as a kid, I think I’ve always known deep down the type of parent I’d be someday. Which is exactly what I suspect is now keeping me up at night.
My husband and I have spent our weekends over the past several months attempting to complete baby projects in anticipation of this month’s arrival. Recently we divided up a shopping list in Target, filled with everything from diapers to a nasal aspirator, but after loading up his cart, Rick found me in the same exact spot where we had initially separated 35 minutes earlier.
“What are you doing? Your basket is still empty,” he noted incredulously.
The thermometers had me hypnotized. How was I supposed to know if the best one was the oral one, the rectal one, the one that goes under the arm or the one that goes in the ear? And what if I chose the right one only to stick it in the wrong place? Would the baby be traumatized? It was one of my first important decisions as a mother, and it seemed wrong to screw anything up before even going into labor.
Then a friend got me nervous because we hadn’t put our name on preschool waiting lists yet.
I got a little defensive. “But this isn’t the Upper East Side of Manhattan. How hard can it be to get into preschool when the baby isn’t even born yet?”
Still, we called three recommended programs in the area and, sure enough, the lists were already at least two and a half years deep. One of the places mailed some information explaining its student-driven, rather than teacher-directed, philosophy. Which made me wonder why we’d be spending several thousand dollars a year to send a kid there at all. It seems to me that if we want a 2-year-old to wreak havoc while adults simply watch and smile from the sidelines, it would be easier to stay home, serve Red Bull and Pixy Stix for lunch, and hope for the best.
Then my sister put the fear of God in me the other day because I still don’t have all the parts for the breast pump she gave me.
“I bought mostly everything, but they didn’t have the tubing at the store. I think they’ll give that to me in the hospital, though,” I said.
I could hear her jaw drop over the phone. “Seriously? If you have any trouble breast-feeding and need to pump but don’t have the tubes when your milk comes in, then you’ll have no choice but to wait until the part arrives in the mail, and, in the meantime, the baby will have to be fed formula and you’ll be beside yourself with pain from being engorged and won’t be able to sleep, so you’ll be a wreck and make everyone around you miserable,” she scolded me.
There’s also been the ongoing issue of the bedding. We had the room painted months ago, and since that time I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect crib quilt. Of course, babies aren’t actually allowed to sleep with quilts in their cribs, yet I’ve still been driving myself, and those around me, somewhat batty in search of the perfect one. There was one I thought I liked from Pottery Barn Kids, but when I actually saw it in person I knew instantly it was all wrong. So I ordered another one only to feel lukewarm about it when it arrived.
Last month I started hitting the refresh button on the computer 10 times a day waiting for the fall line to appear. I even went so far two weeks ago as to call them up and plead with one of the customer service representatives to describe the new quilts to me over the phone.
“When’s the kid making its debut?” my dad asked for the nth time this week.
“There’s still a few more weeks to go,” I reminded him.
“I bet the baby heard about you and is too scared to come out,” he said, cracking himself up.
Sure, I’ve done my due diligence and studied up on tar-colored poo, vaccines, RSV, BPH-free bottles and the benefit of organic onesies. But my real question is if the baby will actually like me. Is it possible that I could give birth to the one child in history who recognizes instantly that its mother is a louse? A louse who failed to pick the correct valance for the bedroom window?
Who were Rick and I kidding when we thought I was together enough to be responsible for another life besides our houseplant? I suppose therapy was invented for kids born to people like me. Poor baby.
Aspen resident Meredith C. Carroll writes a Friday column. E-mail questions or comments to email@example.com.
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