Urban Wildlife Encounter
May 31, 2006
Attention citizens of Washington, DC: If you have misplaced your shopping cart full of shoes, I may have found it.
So I've been making a concentrated effort to take Noah for a walk outside every day. I don't really enjoy it as much as you'd think, mostly because it is 1) outside, 2) not inside, and 3) full of nature.
But after two full weeks going by where I realized that I NEVER LEFT THE HOUSE, NOT ONCE, I decided that my child and I were getting our asses to the fucking playground, come hell or high water, if only because the playground is close to the Starbucks where I could get in my daily quota for face-to-face human interaction by ordering an iced coffee in a non-baby-talk voice.
So far, getting out for walks has not been quite as treacherous as other outings, mostly because there's no deadline. Except for the vague idea of "later."
(Digression: That's actually the best part of staying home with a baby. Your deadlines are fluid. Your time is not structured. There's no one to judge you for just how much time you spend chomping on the baby's thighs. You can do work unshowered and eat lunch at 10:30, followed by dessert at 11. No one really needs to know that you watched Father of the Bride on HBO and then followed it up with Father of the Bride Part II. And no one definitely needs to know that you maybe cried a little bit.)
I've also gotten better about the hysterical compulsion to take EVERYTHING Noah might possibly need along with me. I no longer carry a rectal thermometer in the diaper bag. I'm comfortable leaving the extra socks behind and now realize that five diapers and two bottles for a 20-minute walk may be overkill, just a little bit.
Instead, we take our walks on the wild side. The wild side of NO SPARE OUTFIT.
I always take Ceiba too, because I cannot bear the look on her face when she realizes I'm leaving her behind. Honestly, you can HEAR her heart breaking. It's like a high-frequency dog whistle of guilt.
Amy: Noah, do you want to go for a walk later?
Ceiba: WALKWALKWALKWALKWALK NOWNOWNOW OHDEARLORDINHEAVENNOW
Noah: *languidly arfs up some Cheerios*
I also cannot bear the look on Max's face when he realizes I'm depriving him of 20 fucking minutes of peace, serenity and open access to the dog kibble.
I don't know why I'm so compelled to take walks, because we're not exactly the happiest bunch of campers out there, since our respective criteria for contentment cancel each other's out. (Noah is happy when we are moving. Ceiba is happy when we are not moving so she is free to run around in circles and chase imaginary squirrels made entirely out of bacon. Mama is happy in the shoe department of Neiman Marcus while various Italian salesmen bring her espressos and Manolos while complimenting the delicate bone structure of her feet.)
(This is code for: Mama is happy when she is napping, because IN HER DREAMS.)
And yet. We walk. Outside. Everyday. Where there are bugs.
The original idea was to take Noah to the playground and meet other moms. You know, cool moms. Moms with babies! Moms who would immediately invite me to martini-soaked playdates! (Go ahead and laugh at me, it's okay.)
Mom, you are totally killing me here. With the hat. And your lameness.
The first day there was a group of older kids and two glowering nannies, one of whom informed me that her charges were scared of dogs, and I thought she was kidding until two of the children spotted Ceiba and promptly scrambled to the top of the slide to scream in terror.
The second day there was a pack of teenagers hanging around the swings. Moving on.
The third day we had the playground to ourselves, which was downright pleasant until a woman walked through with a big yellow lab. The dog proceeded to take a huge dump in the sandbox, and then they both walked away without a word.
I am not so very enamored with the playground anymore.
So on today's walk, I stopped by our condo office to finally (FINALLY) turn in our application for new pool passes. (I've been, um, stalling.) (I also turned in the form stating that we have a child under eight years of age residing in our unit, and therefore deserve to be first in line for getting lead paint scraped off our windows.) (I think we need to move.) (Oh my God.)
Anyway. I am thinking that the reason I haven't met any of those cool martini-swilling moms yet is because they are all hanging out at the pool, and next week is going to be AWESOME, provided no one judges me for showing up in my maternity bathing suit, or possibly a poncho.
Oh, and just so I'm clear -- two bottles of baby sunblock should be enough for an afternoon at the pool, right? And like 10 of those Little Swimmer diapers? Maybe I'll stick an extra one on my infant CPR dummy and bring that, just to be safe.
I should still have room to pack the cocktail olives too.
The kind of nature I can totally get behind.