Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mama Is a Criminal

I returned to work this week, and Zane returned with me. So far it has been a soft re-entry, and both Zane and I are making a smooth transition from spending our days at home to spending our days at the office. That's not to say I haven't faced new challenges this week.

Going about my normal work day at the office is MUCH different with a two-month-old. It's little things, like going to the ladies' room. I am picking up this motherhood gig pretty well, and I'm doing an excellent job of getting a lot of stuff done using just one hand. Sadly, going to the loo is not one of them. So, the question recurs: what do you do with baby when Mama has to haul ass to the ladies'? Answer: lay baby safely on his back in the pack 'n play, lock the office door behind you (after looking at your office keys THREE TIMES to make sure you have them), and run! Crisis averted, and he didn't break during the three minutes I left him alone in my office.

I have learned that the same strategy I use for the ladies' room also works for such things as retrieving the mail, taking out the trash, or even just visiting the vending machine for a Diet Coke.

As the week has progressed I have become quite the brazen Mama, having discovered simple, yet very effective, strategies to steal even a few minutes of freedom from my infant appendage.

Today I felt confident enough to attempt the mother of all challenges: lunch.

To this point, I have either brown-bagged my lunch (once) or picked up salad from the drive-through (twice) because it's just not easy to pick up takeout with a two-month-old. You know the routine: strap infant securely into the car seat...drive to preferred restaurant destination...park car...carefully un-strap infant from the car seat...pick up infant lovingly...smother with kisses...walk into restaurant holding infant because the Bjorn is just too much trouble for a five-minute errand...fumble through pocketbook to find wallet and pull out cash...hand over cash to the high-school dropout working the register...accept change (coins ON TOP OF paper money) while fumbling wallet, pocketbook and infant...shove everything into bottom of pocketbook...right the position of the infant in your arms...pick up takeout bag...walk to car, unlocking doors with remote key...open driver door...throw in pocketbook, keys and lunch...open rear passenger door...smother infant with kisses...strap infant securely into car seat...drive back to office...and, well, you get the picture... A lot of work for a five-minute errand to pick up lunch.

Until today.

Today I really wanted Chicken Pot Pie from Jason's Deli. There is no drive-through at Jason's Deli, but they DO allow you to call in your order. Thus began my wicked strategy: call in the order, go through the routine for safely transporting my child in my car, BUT, yes, yes, that's it! I'll park right in front, run quickly into the restaurant, sans bebe, get my food and be back before he even has a chance to begin waking from his nap. And that is exactly what I did. I left my infant in the car, alone, strapped into the car seat, doors and windows locked, so that I could freely use both hands to fetch my lunch. No longer am I simply a candidate for Worst. Mama. Ever. I am now a criminal.

Last year, the Legislature passed another law to save the stupid people from themselves. Leaving a child unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle is a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by potential imprisonment up to 60 days and/or a fine not exceeding $500. Additionally, if the violation results in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to a child, the penalty is increased to a third degree felony, punishable by potential imprisonment up to 5 years and/or a fine not exceeding $5,000. The law was designed to punish idiots who leave their children in the car during the blistering Florida summer while they bet their last dollar on the dogs or spend three hours in a shopping mall (actual cases that were used to support passage of the bill.)

As I ran (yes, I actually ran) into Jason's Deli, never taking my eyes off my locked car, parked right in front of the deli, I cycled through my explanation for the cop who would surely arrive at any moment and arrest me for neglect and reckless endangerment of my child. Two minutes later, Chicken Pot Pie in hand, I returned to find my child still sleeping and no worse for the wear. Goody gumdrops! Surely I have at least two MORE minutes to quickly, very quickly, pick up a cup of Cake Batter ice cream from Coldstone...it's just next door to Jason's...and Zane is still peacefully sleeping, the dear angel...and, well, it IS Zero Nutrition Thursday...

12 comments:

LMP said...

First, that coins on top of paper money bit is one of my greatest pet peeves and if I ever snap (I'm certain I will one day) the unfortunate soul who gives me my change that way, causing the coinage to fall all over the place, will be the first one I mow down.

Next, In Georgia I'm told it's actually a felony to leave a child unattended in a car for even a millisecond, you Floridians are softies. Still, +1 WME point for your brazenness...and in a hot state, too!

Epiphany Alone said...

Oh, Paige, I should never have doubted you. I concur with a point for the car shuffle.

The Plaid Sheep said...

Did you know that back in the 50's mamas would leave their babies in their carriages outside the store when they went shopping, like a baby parking lot? Right here in big bad NYC. It's true, my aunt used to do it.

*pab said...

I'm hurt that I was doubted! :)

Spencer Family said...

Seriously this is one thing that drives me crazy too! How am I supposed to run into the pizza place and pick up the pizza I've already paid for and is sitting on the counter, if I have to also carry my child plus the pizza and open the doors?! I'm always swearing at the stupid people that ruin it for everybody else!

Anonymous said...

Have you thought of taking the car seat/carrier inside with you? That's why it has a handle.

Round the Bend said...

ooh, I second the point for leaving your child unattended in a car (and completely feel your guilt) and suggest a possible second point for inspiring anonymous to offer snarky parenting advice.

I do also highly recommend a sling - if Zane will sleep in a sling, you can have use of both arms for hours at a time!

Epiphany Alone said...

*laughs out loud* there's always extra points for snarky anonymous parenting comments...Go, Paige! You irk the Internets!

*pab said...

Anonymous: If I had carried him in the car seat, I wouldn't be on the points board for February. BTW. thanks for the snarky parenting advice...I got extra points for your agitation! :)

RTB: I have two slings, and Z adores them.

karen said...

"I'm hurt that I was doubted! :)"

Oh, Paige. With you all giddy happy new Mama-y with perfect beautiful wonderful happy baby who didn't cry once for even a millisecond until stuck with innoculations? You doubted we'd doubt your ability to turn into a REAL WME? Please. We have our standards and you, my dear, have been a serious threat to our reputation. Your recent points for this event (and for the snarky anonacomment) are a great move in the right direction. I applaud your efforts to become a worthy member of our group!

P.S. @anonymous: I triple-dog dare you to carry a baby in a carseat and a large hot pizza through the shop door single-handedly. Please keep in mind that putting your baby directly beneath that steaming pizza is a serious danger - if you tip the box and cover your baby in hot cheese, grease and sauce, you could disfigure him! Think Child Protective Services will show up at the hospital when you bring your kid in for second degree burns from your pizza?

Marit said...

I live in Holland and used to race back and forth to school on my bicycle to pick up my daughter while clutching a piece of paper with my name, adres and husbands phone number on it, along with the message "baby sleeping in the house!". I always made it safely back and forth while my son was sleeping, but Oh, the agonies I suffered thinking of what might happen!

LMP said...

-Marit, thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for that comment. The image is one that will afford me a smile all day today, no doubt.

-Anonymous, I can respect a snarky comment, even if it makes me think "here is someone who has never hefted one of those God-awful car seats while trying to do anything else at all" but come on, why not log on with a name? Own it!