Monday, February 6

Last Week's Lessons

I don't know if I was just in a learning mood last week or what, but I was thinking yesterday about several realizations and epiphanies I had over the past seven days. Of course, any time things like this occur to me I have a compulsion to either post them in a Facebook status or blog about them. Maybe I'm a bit of a mental/verbal exhibitionist, but I'm pretty sure the random thoughts and experiences are what make Facebook or a blog worth reading. At least that's the only reason I keep my blog, so if for no one's entertainment other than my own, here we go...

Life Lessons From Last Week

Lesson #1:    Grocery shopping with a baby saves time and money. To clarify, this doesn't mean if you have a baby you'll save time and money because quite the opposite is true, I think. The savings I'm talking about only occur if you take the baby with you to shop for groceries. You might find it surprising, but up until this point I have not had to (nor have I wanted to) take Brock to the store by myself. Either Blaine or a grandparent would keep him while I went by myself or Blaine would come with us and entertain Brock. I'm not sure why, but I love to take my time grocery shopping, even in the obnoxious Walmart. I just like to be able to compare prices and coupons (and sometimes calorie contents) and go at an easy pace up and down each aisle. It's almost relaxing to me. I even used to take my ipod and listen to music while I shopped. Counting drive time, checkout time, and loading/unloading time, the whole process could take me up to 2 hours. The week before last (I only shop every two weeks) my nana and papa came by to see Brock and while they were here I said, "Hey, you guys want to stay here and let me go get some groceries?" To which they replied (as all wonderful grandparents do), "Of course!" Two hours and about $200.00 later, I made it back home with a trunk full of food to relieve the grandparents from their (maybe longer than expected) baby-sitting job. Last week, however, my need for groceries snuck up on me and I didn't really have any good opportunities to go other than at night after Brock went to bed, which I don't really like because then I don't get in bed until after 10:00. So I sucked it up and said, "You're coming with me kid." From previous experiences when Blaine was with us, I knew I only had a limited amount of time before he got bored and irritable (Brock, that is... although the same could be said of Blaine too probably). I also knew that time frame was probably even smaller because he would be strapped in the buggy (which I was told when we lived in Louisville is an exclusively southern word for what the general population refers to as a grocery cart) with no daddy to fly him all around the store. With my list in hand, my purse filled with at least five different toys, and my running shoes on (not really, but that was a funny picture in my head) I zoomed through that store and got $100 worth of groceries back to my car in 45 minutes! (I should say I did pay for them... I didn't just take them to my car). 45 minutes! I was amazed, and even more so because I still had a happy baby who didn't cause any scenes. I promptly called Blaine to tell him what a SuperMom I am and give him an opportunity to admire and be in awe of me. Then I thought to myself, "I hope I got everything I needed... how did I spend half the amount I did last time?" So who needs coupons, just take a baby with you to the store. It's like racing a ticking time bomb to get groceries!

Lesson #2:    Always keep some backup toys in the front seat of the car. This sort of tied in with my grocery learning experience. We went together to get groceries on Wednesday; we got home just in time to unload groceries, have dinner, and get everything ready to go to church. After 20 minutes in the car going to and from the grocery store, 45 minutes strapped into the buggy, and 30 minutes stuck in his high chair, Brock was a little restless so he was understandably irritated when we got back in the car to go to church (another 20 minute drive). However, he didn't voice his irritation until we were well on our way, of course. So here I am driving down the road with a wailing baby in the backseat who is making my eye twitch, and I'm feeling a little guilty because of all the activities of the afternoon. He's normally perfectly content to ride in the car so I'm not used to having to deal with temper tantrums while I'm driving, but I looked over in the passenger seat desperate for something to toss back to him to take his mind off his issues, and I happened to luck out. One of his snack bowls was sitting there from earlier in the week, and he loves chewing on them because they have these rubbery grippers. I eased the bowl behind me over the top of his carseat into his hands (all while still driving and trying to maintain the correct speed and stay in the correct lane; parenthood is dangerous for so many reasons), and he instantly stopped crying! For three minutes. Ok, that worked for three minutes, and I've got about 10 minutes left in the drive. I need three more items to give him. Fortunately, I'm a slob and never clean out my car so there were several things to choose from. By the time we got to church, Brock's carseat was filled with his bowl, a pacifier still in the car from when he was three months old, a rattle that just happened to be in my cup holder, and my keys. Honestly, I could have just let him cry because I'm not one of those, "Never let the baby cry, always keep him happy" kind of people, but my main concern was that he was going to get in such a bad mood that he'd pitch a fit with the nursery ladies at church, so I was just hoping to keep him content and happy for them. Anyway, now I know. And next time I'll probably start with the keys first because even though I'm sure they are a safety hazard, they kept him busy for a good five minutes longer than the other baby-approved items.

Lesson #3:    My neighbor doesn't hate me. Ok, this isn't really a lesson but just a realization. I wrote a heartfelt blog post to my neighbor a little while back (found here if you didn't see it before) about how sorry I was for all the ways I had ruined a potential future friendship with her. She has a little girl who is maybe six or seven months older than Brock and I kind of had hopes of setting up some playdates or just neighborhood strolling dates and getting to know her since we now had the one thing in common that can create instant bonds between women - Motherhood (note: it can also create instant tension, jealousy, competition, and irritation between women too, so it's not all rainbows and roses). Anyway, Blaine and I were taking Brock outside one afternoon as she was walking by with her daughter and she actually looked up at us and smiled. Blaine (who knows the whole sad story) said, "Hey, how's it going?" and told Brock to wave, and then she didn't just smile and say hi back. She actually turned her stroller into our driveway and told her daughter to say hi too! As she continued on her walk, I whispered to Blaine (with probably a little too much joy to be considered normal), "She doesn't hate me!" Either that or she just thinks my husband is hot.

Lesson #4:    The Backyardigans theme song is my baby whisperer. Every now and then I'll pull up a random children's show on Netflix (we don't have cable) if I'm trying to kill a few minutes before bedtime or something, and sometimes Brock is interested, sometimes he's not. One show that I find particularly cute and entertaining is The Backyardigans. I had turned it on enough times to learn the intro theme song and would occasionally sing it during the day. Well, apparently, that made it interesting to Brock because now all we have to do is turn on that show and for the entire minute that that theme song is on, he is glued to the tv. Hardly anything will distract him from it and as soon as it's over he starts wiggling and squirming and whining to hear it again. He doesn't care too much at all about the show itself, just that song. Now all I need is someone to make that one minute song into a 30 minute recording that just plays over and over, and I could make dinner every night without interruption.


Here's hoping this next week provides just as many helpful insights!

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