She ain’t heavy; she’s a bag of rice |

She ain’t heavy; she’s a bag of rice

Andrew Gmerek

My back is stooped and my shoulders numb. My feet ache and my arms are as weak as President Bush’s energy plan. My knees groan with every step I take, my neck is stiff and even my jaw is locked from the strain. The strain, that is, that comes from carrying a 15-pound baby.

Before everyone gets excited about our new arrival, however, I have to tell you my wife and I haven’t yet been to China to pick up our baby girl, and we won’t be leaving until sometime in September or October. The 15-pound baby I’m talking about – the one that’s already wearing me out lugging her all over the neighborhood – I picked up at Price Club.

Actually, I purchased this baby – wrapped in a burlap sack – at Price Club for a discount only club members receive. But before someone screams for a social worker with a story of black market babies and I end up on the front page of the Summit Daily News pictured in handcuffs with a coat over my head, I’d better explain.

It all started, as many of the strange happenings in my life do, with my wife surfing the Internet.

Ever since we decided to adopt, my wife has spent hours glued to the Internet learning as much as she can about babies and baby handling. Her knowledge came in handy while we were shopping at Price Club when she said she’d read on the Internet that to prepare to lug a 15-pound baby around China and back to the United States, we should practice with a 15-pound bag of rice. And since Price Club sells everything in bulk, we were at the perfect location to start hauling some extra weight.

It didn’t take long for my wife to find a large bag of Basmati rice and to load me down with it.

Now, 15 pounds doesn’t sound heavy, and it isn’t when you’re lifting it up and then dumping it down somewhere fast, but just try lugging 15 pounds around a store while holding it like you’d hold a baby.

That’s right, no slinging it under an arm or tossing it over a shoulder.

This was, my wife pointed out, for all practical purposes, our baby. This is our baby Basmati, she announced.

And so baby Basmati was born smack dab in the middle of Price Club.

After carrying Basmati around for approximately an hour, I began to do the parental shift, moving the bag of rice from one arm to the other. So it was with great relief that I laid Basmati on the checkout counter. After the checker scanned my new daughter, I hefted her again and decided I’m not physically ready for fatherhood.

So, to help carry our baby, I eventually purchased a device that resembles a cross between a race car and a medieval torture device, called a Baby Bjorn.

This sling-like device is supposed to help hold a baby against the parent’s chest, and I guess it works, because we’ve already hiked baby Basmati around the block a couple of times. But when I pay $80 for a sling-thing, I think it should not only cradle my daughter in absolute comfort, but it should also feed, burp and change her diapers.

Of course, this ordeal isn’t over yet, because now my wife is threatening to dress our bag of rice in little girl clothes when we take her for walks. I really have no idea what the neighbors will say when they approach our child for a look and a coo only to find a dinnertime staple instead of a human being.

What my wife doesn’t know, however, is that through all this, our baby actually is getting a little lighter with every passing day. I just hope she doesn’t realize what’s going on when we have Chinese food with plenty of rice six days in a row.

Andrew Gmerek is a weekly columnist for the Summit Daily News.

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