Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Long Arm of the Car

Today we took a trip to the airport to drop off Abuela, and in doing so, experienced 2 significant moments in Kaylani's life. The first is that as of 3:45pm, Mommy and Daddy were alone with Kaylani for the very first time since she was born. We're actually alone for the first time in almost a month since my mom was here 10 days before Kaylani was born. Since then, we've had one of our mothers, or various guests, stay with us (and take excellent care of us). It's been a long time coming, but we're officially on our own with our baby girl. Yikes! So far so good though.

The second is that when Mommy went inside with Abuela to help her check-in for her flight, Daddy drove around for the first time with his baby girl all by himself. The monkey mirror attached to the back seat helped me see her while I was driving (of course while keeping my eyes solidly glued to the cars in front of me), but it's not exactly the best way to see what she's doing. And wouldn't you know it, as soon as the car stopped and Mommy got out, Kaylani started crying.

It's like she knew. It's like she has a sixth sense (okay, it's probably a combination of her normal five senses), but she knew that Daddy was in the front, and couldn't do a damn thing except drive around hoping that the motion would calm her down. It didn't. I then did the next thing that I knew. I tried to reach back to her and calm her down. I've seen it done so many times by so many parents that it just seemed like the right thing to do. What I didn't know is that it's IMPOSSIBLE!

Let me set things up for you a bit. I drive a Toyota Highlander. Kaylani sits in a Graco SafeSeat that rests on a car seat base. The seat is anchored in on the rear passenger side. Got the picture in your head? Okay, now we can proceed.

So at the first red light I came to, I had my own little fire drill (you may call it a Chinese fire drill) and ran to the back seat to get her pacifier out and give it to her. Success! It was quiet...all the way until I got back into the driver seat. Inevitably, out comes the bobo (which is Spanish for pacifier by the way), and back come the cries. This is when the "reach around" comes in (funny how expressions change once you have kids).

I, with my eyes focused on the road ahead and my left hand steadily on the steering wheel, reach back to the rear passenger side, push down her car seat shade, and begin my blind search for the bobo. No luck. In fact, I couldn't even feel her head. It's like I was reaching in the back seat but she was actually in the trunk. She was SO far away! I gave up and started to wonder if I had abnormally short arms, a long car, or a ridiculously tiny baby who hides her bobo from her Dad while he's driving.

Now I know parents who can do this. I know parents who drive SUV's and can do this. I know parents who have shorter arms then me, and bigger cars then me, and can do this. What's wrong with me? Did I miss the training class at the hospital? Actually, come to find out that this type of behavior is actually frowned upon by the hospital. Well what the hospital doesn't tell you that while you shouldn't do it, it's really the only way you can stop the crying!

Anyways, I did what anyone would have done in this situation if they were given the option. I didn't pull over and get the bobo. I didn't turn around and look for it. Instead, I reached for my cell phone, called Mommy, and said (very calmly), "Mommy, we're gonna have a meltdown...and then Kaylani will start crying."

Mommy finished getting Abuela settled and then came out to meet us. She put the bobo in place and we had an uneventful car ride home. That was car ride alone #1 for Daddy. Car ride alone #2 is gonna go better, even if it means I have to get one of those mechanical extend-o arms from the toy store. I'm serious! Wait for it...


Mr. Sherman said...

You should stop the crying the same way my parents did. Turn up the radio until you can't hear it anymore.

JonnyTam13 said...

That's how you stop the voices in your head, not how you stop crying.