More Snow, Car Seats and Elmer

I can't believe it is snowing again. Snow is pretty and all, but the city is clearly not equipped to handle it, and I am tired of being at home all the time. We ventured out today, but I worry about her getting too cold, or getting stuck in the snow.

When I was picking out baby gear before Laurel came, I opted for a convertible car seat. This is the kind that stays in the car...not the "baby bucket" kind. I reasoned that it was a better buy, since a) I don't drive all that much and b) Laurel would fit in it for years to come. And until recently, I was perfectly happy tooling around town on foot and by bus and the Moby Wrap or the Baby Bjorn are perfect for that. We actually ended up getting a used "baby bucket" style car seat from one of Mark's co-workers, along with the stroller that it snaps into. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to install it in my car, so I basically just used it as a place for Laurel to sit, in the kitchen. But then, Sarah enlightened me to an alternate way to install it using seat belts, instead of the LATCH system. I looked up the directions on the internet, and it seems safe enough, so I started using it. Baby gear is so complicated.

I was drawn to the idea of being able to set Laurel down when I went out...without disrupting her naps when I ran errands by car. (I've become a bit nap obsessed, because I am convinced that this is they key to good night time sleep.) We went out to dinner the other night, and it was really great to be able to sit her down while we ate, without dropping crumbs all over her head. However, today I was reminded of the reason I didn't want the baby bucket...they are really dang heavy! Good enough for suburban life where you always park near where you are going. Not so good when you are circling Squirrel Hill, looking for a parking spot in a snow storm, when half the spots in the neighborhood are buried in eight feet of plowed snow, and you have to park 4 blocks away from where you are headed. So, I staggered down the icy sidewalk, Laurel swinging wildly from side to side as I attempted to walk while not hitting myself in the leg with the car seat.

But I was reminded of the merits of the baby bucket when I went to the Coffee Tree and was able to set a sleeping Laurel right next to my table while I enjoyed a soy latte and met an interesting old man named Elmer, whom I shared a table with in the crowded coffee shop. He entertained me with stories of his world travels while Laurel dozed at our feet. Elmer was taking a much needed break from his wife, who has dementia, and the look in his eyes reminded me very much of how my grandmother looked when she was taking care of my grandfather.

Elmer's first words to me were, don't you have wheels for that thing? Which of course, I do, but I left that part at home because I figured a stroller wouldn't be much use on the snowy sidewalks. And how much baby equipment do I really want to haul around? Elmer's last words to me were, you better tell your husband about me, you don't someone else to tell him they saw you out with another man. Very funny, Elmer!

Anyway, it got me to thinking about the baby gear we thought we would need, versus what we have actually found useful. It seems with baby gear, everything seems useful, at least for a short amount of time. But one could probably get by without most of it. I was thinking I should write a review of our gear, if for nothing else, my own reference should there ever be a sibling for Laurel. I have a feeling the sleep deprivation is going to erase my memory of this time of my life.

I also wish there was a way to ask Laurel about some of it. Say, Laurel, do you prefer cotton or fleece sleepers? Is your crib mattress comfortable? Do you feel squished or cold in the baby bucket? But what would she really tell me, even if she could talk? The uterus is basically a hot tub with constant nourishment and soothing ambient noise. Other than the lack of space, I think she would probably tell me that nothing is as comfortable as floating naked in warm amniotic fluid.

The snow continues to fall, and I am waiting until Laurel falls asleep so I can dash outside and throw some salt down. M won't be home from class until very late tonight, and there may be 6 more inches by then.

I will leave you with something that will surely put a smile on your face, a video of Laurel performing her latest talent...yelling.


Amy said...

I was just thinking about the baby gear today. Thinking about all the things that lay un-open and my desire to put them on Craigslist. I was also thinking about all the things I am so pleased with and my favorite items that I picked our after pouring over friends' advice and internet research. Even though I love it, you are right, it is only good for so long and that time frame is very short.

Anonymous said...

Everytime I need a smile I watch one of the Baby Laurel video's.
Thanks for sharing.
Aunt DC