By Pamela Brownstein
“Having a baby changes everything.” Wow. Shocker. What an original observation. I heard this phrase from many people when I was pregnant, and thought, obviously.
Now that our baby is four months old, I’m just starting to understand that generic saying. I guess I just wish people had been more specific with their advice.
For example, no one told me what it would be like to go grocery shopping with an infant in a car seat/baby bucket. The first time I had to do a “quick trip” to the grocery store (which, I’ve discovered, now there’s no such things as a quick trip anywhere. “Stopping by” to pick up dry cleaning or “running in” to get a to-go coffee doesn’t exist when you have to carry and care for and safely harness a tiny human being.) I stood staring at the carts, and thought, where do I put the baby? A helpful employee saw my confusion and showed me that the bucket should fit in the front little seat on the shopping cart. Apparently though, the car seat I have is too big and doesn’t fit. Even if it did fit, at only 5 feet tall, I wouldn’t be able to see over the bucket while pushing the cart. I learned that the hard way at PetSmart when an employee showed me how the bucket locks onto the cart to stay in place: Not only couldn’t I see where I was going down the aisles, but later in the parking lot I had no idea how to unlock the bucket from the cart and needed assistance with that too.
Back at the grocery store, I just put the car seat in the cart and did my best. I laughed when the baby woke up with a loaf of bread in his lap and saw himself surrounded by cans and jars and vegetables.
So now my advice to new parents will be more specific: “Having a baby makes every trip logistically more complicated.”