Adventures in Baby Wrangling

Posted by: Maggie

When Eleanor was still a tiny one, not yet walking or crawling, I thought it was a hassle to go out and about with her. I was not a fan of getting the stroller in and out of the trunk, making sure that I had a bottle of pumped breastmilk available if we were going to be out at a meal or snack time, making sure I had a stocked diaper bag complete with change of clothes for the spit up or diaper blow-up accidents, and having a toy to distract her if needed. It was fine when Josh was with us, two people to handle everything was always fine, but by myself it seemed like such a hassle. I usually just left all errands to the weekend so I wouldn’t have to handle all of the baby accoutrement alone.

Man was I ever a namby-pamby. I had no idea how easy I had it. While Eleanor was not an easy baby and did tend to do more than her fair share of crying when we were out, things were soooo much easier back then.

I no longer have to bring so much stuff with us, which is great. We can get out of the house quicker. I just need a diaper bag, snack, and water bottle for most outings. But the difficulty is that Eleanor is not in any way content with sitting in a stroller like she used to be, or at least had no real choice to be.

Now that she is a walker, runner, and jumper she does not want to sit still, or even just walk with me holding my hand. If I put her in her stroller, she wrestles to get the straps off of her arms and then tries to stand up or leans so far forward that she is in danger of toppling out and onto her head. The same goes for when she is in a shopping cart. I usually have to ply her with snacks to get through any shopping trip.

And she is fast, very fast. With my disability, I can barely outrun her. My only advantage is my (slightly) longer legs, but soon even that won’t help much. Letting her walk freely without holding my hands is always trouble. She will not stay next to me and she will not stay out of trouble. She attempts to climb on or destroy anything she comes into contact with.

Lately whenever I attempt to walk and hold her hand she just leans. She keeps walking next to me, sort of, but mostly she just leans in whatever direction she wants to go regardless of the direction we are walking.  She’s not actively struggling to get her hand out of mine, she is just slowly leaning and pulling away in the hopes that I will just let her go and do whatever it is that she wants to do.

And then there’s the screaming. Over the last week she has been in a very cranky and clingy mood. She has started screaming to complain or get our attention. She just lets out a wild high-pitched scream like she is being tortured. I think this new crankiness may have something to do with the new teeth coming in. It really makes for some delightful outings filled with strangers giving us dirty “what is wrong with that child and her horrible parents” looks.

All of the preceding made for a really fantastic trip to Ikea this weekend. We needed a few things to organize Eleanor’s toys and although our last trip to Ikea hadn’t gone very well, we assumed that now that she was a little older she would handle it better. We were wrong.

We decided to skip bringing the stroller and just let her walk with us. But she of course wanted to climb on everything and did not want to walk in the direction we were walking and would not hold our hands. And she would let out those piercing screams every so often. Ordinarily we would just take her out, but if you’ve ever been to Ikea you know that once you’re in the maze of showrooms and marketplace you are in until you reach the exit. What’s more, the trip spilled into lunchtime, so we had to sit and endure lunch at the Ikea cafeteria. We did what we could to keep her calm, which wasn’t much, while we power-walked through the rest of the place to get out as quickly as we could while still getting what we had come to get.

It was the longest shopping trip of my life.

And then half-way home, Josh realized he’d left his credit card. So we got a special bonus return trip to top off the day.

One Comment

  1. Christina 

    Yikes. I feel you. I SO feel you. I do not take Kaitlyn grocery shopping anymore because she won’t stay in the cart. I will only take her armed with a baggy full of snacks and only if I know exactly what I want and it means less than 5 items. She will go to the mall in the stroller, but I don’t dare try on clothes or stop to browse. I only take her if I can go in and go out for exactly what I need. Sorry about your hellish IKEA trip. I SO feel you.

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