May
28
2009

  Learning to Prioritize / Worldy Baby

I took William out today for his first day of heavy-duty errand-running. We both learned some things.

I learned that when I'm running errands that require just a quick hop into a location then back into the car, that 1) it would be easiest to either leave W at home with Terry (which is not possible now since he doesn't have enough breastmilk to bottle-feed while I'm out), 2) the next best option is to bring Terry with me while running errands, so he can sit in the car with Will while I run into the location, 3) the most practical option is to pop out the carseat and carry it in with me, leaving W strapped in.

I learned this because for my first two stops, I unstrapped baby, put him in the sling, took him in with me, then strapped him back in the seat when I got back to the car. It wasn't any trouble taking him out and putting him in the sling, but it was a nuisance to get him strapped in again.

But it's definitely easier to shop with him in the sling instead of the carseat, so into the sling he goes when I've got more serious shopping to do (versus just dropping stuff off at the dry cleaners). Too bad we can't just leave the kid in the car during short errands like our parents were able to do back in the day.

I did keep William in his carseat when I went in to pick up a few things at the WalMart, since I didn't really need the cart to hold a lot of items, I put him in the basket of the cart and put the items in the toddler-seat part of the cart. When he's in the sling, he can't see very much. This is by design, since it encourages him to sleep, or at least be quiet and not overstimulated. But he handled the WalMart fine since he slept through most of it, and the motion of the cart seemed to keep him restful. He only started to wake up when I was standing in line to check out, and that was probably because he was getting hungry. I thought the WalMart parking lot was too busy to feed him, so I went to Lowe's where I could park facing some bushes way far away from the store so I could breastfeed in peace.

Although Lowe's had carts, W was back in the sling for that stop since I had to visit the ladies room, and I just can't comprehend how to do that with a carseat. Blech. But it's easy with the baby in a sling. And I had even fewer items to buy at Lowe's so I was able to carry them in my hands and I didn't even need a cart. Like Terry had his "agile computing" with his AFS programming teams, I have "agile shopping" with my baby in his sling.

I learned that I really need to prioritize now. I didn't really have to prioritize before, I could get all my errands done. It was just a matter of how efficient I was and how tired I got before I was finished. But with W in tow, unless I want to deal with a screaming infant (and I don't, who does?), I really CAN'T get all my errands done. At least until I mentally adjust from a pre-baby list to a post-baby list which will be much shorter. But based on what I used to be able to do, it's just not possible. So I learned I've got to keep an eye on his mood, figure out when and where I can feed him, and figure out what errands are most important to get done today, and which I can put off for another time.

Granted, most people learned how to prioritize way before they reached my age, but prioritizing is one of the most difficult things for someone with ADD. So of course I don't do it unless I absolutely have to. Terry usually helps me out if I've got more to do than I can finish-- I tell him my list of things, and solicit his advice for which I should focus on. He used to offer advice unsolicted, but that made me very mad, since sometimes I don't care what is best, I just want to do what I want to do. Now I ask for help when I'm really motivated to make progress, and he has learned how to very gently suggest I change my focus when he sees me going astray, and also knows to back off immediately if I give him some other reason why I'm doing what I'm doing. Years of marriage therapy really did help us learn how to keep the peace. But I digress.

Hmm, what else did I learn today? That I don't have to pull over every time W is screaming until his face turns red in the back seat. He was overtired on our way home and wasn't falling asleep in his seat. I pulled over near the Bellair service station in Ivy to check his diaper (since he really will scream until he gets changed if he's wet), but it was clean. He was quickly soothed, and we motored on. But he started screaming again as we were approaching the 1-lane road portion of our journey (the last seven minutes). There was no place for me to pull over, and I really didn't want him to continue screaming since he was turning himself all red in the face and alarmed. Talking to him, telling him we were almost home did nothing for him, and turning up the radio to drown out his cries didn't work since every time I raised the volume, he raised HIS volume. But then in desperation I cut off the radio and made up a song about poor inconsolable William-in-the-backseat, and he stopped crying! It was a terrible song, it didn't rhyme much and I didn't come up with a discernable melody, but he didn't seem to mind. If singing to him calms him down on future car trips, this was a great discovery. It's too early to count on it, it could be that the stars were aligned just so it worked THIS time, but won't work again. But I'm hopeful.

What did William learn on our trip? Probably all kinds of stuff. He was looking around a lot when he was awake. He got to see all different kinds of stuff than he gets to see at home. And got lots of different motion-- riding in the car, being pushed in a cart, being carried in a carseat, and riding in the sling. When we got home, Terry looked at W and said he looked more worldly than he did when we left early in the afternoon, more sophisticated. I think it's amusing that Terry put it that way. How worldly can an almost-seven-week-old baby be? But I suppose it is possible that he is more worldly tonight than he was this morning, in a relative way. So on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being a newborn babe and 100 being, I don't know, Gore Vidal, let's say W went from .01 to .02. Which still isn't very worldly, yet twice as worldly as he was. . .

Your posts are getting more

Your posts are getting more and more amusing to read. I remember when I told you how good the car seat would be when your baby was little and it would be so convenient when you just had to run in somewhere. You looked at my like I head four heads and seemed perplexed why I would ever think you'd want to take a baby anywhere in a big bulky carrier. Oh, and just a warning -- enjoy the shopping now and for the next year and some. You might think it's easier when your kid can walk...but it's MUCH more difficult (even with one).

You were absolutely right, I

You were absolutely right, I didn't know what a pain in the @#$ it would be to buckle a baby in his carrier while leaning over in the back seat. I was only thinking about the time in the store, which I still think is mostly easier to manage with baby in a sling. Now I know the convenience factor is not in the carrier itself, but in the time and effort saved by not having to strap the baby in place a bunch of different times.

I already believe that it's got to be much easier to shop before the kids can walk. I see moms in stores with walking kids, having to chase them all over. Not sure how I'll manage then, but I've still got 8 months or so to figure that out. . .

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