My PhD advisor and his wife generously gave us a nifty car seat that can detach from its base in the car and reconnect to a metal frame with wheels in order to become a stroller. Because of its versatility, we call it the “Adventure Seat”. In general, Sonya loves this new seat, sitting quite contentedly in it for over an hour at a stretch. However, it’s come to my attention that Mitali and I as early parents may be creating some rather unintended associations with the term “adventure”.
“Oh boy, Sonya! It’s time to get in the adventure seat!” we said several days ago as we strapped her in. What we didn’t realize at the time was that she had just taken a colossal dump. Thus, as we placed her in the adventure seat and clicked the over-shoulder harnesses into the buckle at her crotch, we inadvertently strapped her butt cheeks into whatever she had just deposited in her diaper. We then proceeded to drive downtown, wondering why she was crying. “We know you want to get out, Sonya,” we cooed over and over, chalking up her complaints to a general dislike for being confined. Finally, after what must have seemed like eons in baby time, we reached our destination, got her out, and discovered that we had been marinating her butt in her own excrement for the duration of the ride.
Other times we have hopped into the car just as she decides she is hungry. Howling with fists clenched and face beet red, she assaults our ears with pleas for milk. Being exclusively breast-fed, there is nothing we can do until we stop the car. We try to explain this to her as lovingly as possible. “Dearest Sonya, we know you are hungry! But you need to remain safe in your seat until we stop the car! Thank you for understanding, our dearest one,” we say, though I doubt she can hear us over her own pitiful, gasping wails. And even if she could, I wouldn’t blame her for remaining inconsolably angry. To her, withholding milk probably seems as unreasonable as strapping her into her own poo.
“We’re so excited about the many adventures we’re going to have with you!” we’ve told her time and time again. The truth is that adventures are fun, but can be rife with discomforts that simply need to be enjoyed for what they are. I want Sonya to be patient when things get tough or painful, to know that we aren’t putting her through unnecessary crap. But, as far as that goes, we have some work to do.