Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Trip of Doom : Take 2


{DISCLAIMER : if you have not yet produced your own offspring, you may never want to after reading this post. . . but believe me when I say that kids are the best! They really, truly are. They just also happen to require fourteen arms at any given time.

The point of this post is not to strike fear into the hearts of those yet to embark on this journey, but rather to shine a light into the trenches of parenthood and preach to those found therein that THEY ARE NOT ALONE. Other people struggle, too.}

. . .


Ug.

You guys.

When will I learn?! Remember the library trip of doom I told you about HERE? Well, apparently I didn't learn nearly enough from that experience. . . like, for example, to "just say no".  Today's trip was such an epic shopping experience that I was writing this post in my head on the way home. I knew I couldn't keep it to myself. :)

. . .

I had a trio of stores I wanted to hit at a shopping center; none of which had shopping carts."Good thing my nifty baby carrier came in the mail," I thought. "This'll be the perfect opportunity to try it out. I'll pop Hannah in the stroller and strap Curtis to my chest and we'll be golden."


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{photo source}


I suppose most of this doom could have been avoided had I only been patient and fed Curtis at home. But I decided that I could just feed him in the car before strapping him in his carrier. . . anything to get me out of the house a half an hour sooner.

We arrived at the shopping center and I cleanly sidestepped Murphy's first attempt to foil my outing by providing Hannah with a notepad and pencil to doodle with as I fed Curtis in the front seat. She was reaching the boiling point of boredom and wasn't shy about telling me.

Things started to get interesting a few minutes later when I tried getting the harness on with Curtis still on my lap. Firstly, the front seat doesn't provide ample room to maneuver a wobbly-headed infant and a seemingly bulky carrier. Pretty sure being a contortionist is a requirement. Secondly, I forgot the fact that I have to strap myself in before I can strap Curtis in. . . and doing so with him already on my lap was near-enough impossible. Meanwhile, Hannah was ripping pages out of her notepad and likely calculating the odds of causing lasting damage should she launch her pencil at my head.

I finally managed to get Curtis in all right, but dropped the burp rag in the parking lot {and stepped on it} as soon as I got out of the car. Off to a great start, per the norm. :)

Come to find out, bending over with a child strapped on your front is kinda tricky, so I bypassed buckling Hannah into the stroller. That lasted all of 2.8 seconds because she was trying to climb out before I even had the stroller stopped in the first store. Perhaps her plan was to tuck and roll {to reduce carpet burn, of course} and then run for the nearest open door into oncoming traffic. Who knows.

I finished snapping the stroller seat belt and stood up to talk to the cashier {I was exchanging something, see} when Curtis spit up. I reached for the burp rag and watched it flutter to the floor a good 3 feet away. It was mocking me, for sure. I managed to get most of the spit up cleaned up, although I swear he aimed for the impossible-to-clean-harnesses on purpose. I had the nerve to think to myself, "Wow! He didn't get any on himself or me-- talk about good luck."

I may as well have painted a big 'ol target on the back of my head for Murphy's Law to hit.

However, I will say this. . . cleaning up his spit up was a blessing in disguise because it was then that I realized I had inadvertently tucked the front of my shirt up into the carrier, giving everyone a riveting view of my tank top {thank goodness for undershirts}. I had no sooner finished discretely readjusting my shirt than Hannah decided she was going to die a miserable death if I didn't provide animal crackers forthwith. Unfortunately, she ate all of them on our last outing and I forgot to replenish the stash.

Whoops.

Exiting the store was an interesting experience because I had to 1) sweet talk all of the stroller wheels into rolling in the same direction instead of "every wheel for himself", 2) hold the door open while trying to push said stroller through, and 3) not run over my own toes or bang Curtis into anything. "Little Man" upped the ante when he spit up again during our horrible attempt at a tactful exit. At this point, my Mental Stability Gage was reading around a 5.73 out of 10.

I was now realizing the odds of reaching store number 3 were practically zilch and I'd better wrap up our required stops with much haste. I suppose it's only fair that our second stop was to buy soap from Bath and Body Works. Trying to pick out 4 soaps that smelled good while keeping Hannah from laying waste to everything within a 2 mile radius of the stroller was a t-r-e-a-t. Curtis was growing quite convinced that the carrier was a mode of torture and decided to start telling me all about it in no uncertain terms. At least he had the presence of mind to wait until after I purchased the soap to spit up for the third time.

This time, neither Curtis or I escaped unscathed. He aimed for my shirt front and I could feel the wetness slowly seeping down my shirt all the way to my waistband. Uh-oh. Good thing there was a baby to hide behind until we could scurry our little bums to the sanctuary of the car.

Mental Stability Gage : 2.16/10.

I fully expected all four tires to spontaneously blow up on the way home; that's how well our excursion went. Thankfully they didn't blow up, but something else did. Namely? Curtis' diaper. In short, the only article of clothing that didn't have either poop or spit up on it by the time we got home was his socks.

. . .

So.

First rule of wearing a baby in a carrier : don't feed them right before putting them in. No, no, no. Just don't.

Second rule of wearing a baby in a carrier : when you're retreating to your vehicle with your head hung in defeat, put the baby in his/her car seat first because hefting a toddler into their car seat while having a baby strapped on your front is bothersome.

Third rule of wearing a baby in a carrier : don't be deceived by the pictures on the carrier's box. Take this guy here, for instance:

 photo jeep-2-in-1-baby-carrier-impulse-khaki-by-kolcraft-3_zps714bf97e.gif
{photo source}

He looks all peaceful and happy. . . but he's probably just checking for spit up. Or maybe he's checking to see if his child is trying to burn a hole through his chest with a look of utter contempt. One of the two.

Seems legit.

Fourth rule of wearing a baby in a carrier : if you feel yourself beginning to sweat profusely and you're not sure if it's from public humiliation or because you have a small heater strapped to you, it's probably the latter. Odds are that no one even noticed your supposed faux pas {except you, of course}. . . and if they did, it was probably done so in the spirit of "Dang guuuurl, I've been there before. Don't give up!"

. . .

So my message to myself and to you {should you find yourself in similar shoes} is to keep your head up. Parenting is messy and glorious and embarrassing and enlightening. You learn new things every day-- what to do and what not to do; what works and what doesn't. So just keep learning and making adjustments along the way!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Stand On Your Own Two Feet


For starters, this post has a point and it has nothing to do with music. . . it's just that I have to set the stage, so to speak. Secondly, I'm not tooting my own "musical" horn here {no pun intended}. Honest. If you're tempted to roll your eyes and give me a congratulatory pat on the back because you think that's what I'm fishing for, please refrain. Although a back rub would be nice. ;)

. . .

Once upon a time {this past December}, I was lucky enough to play The Nutcracker Suite with the Herriman Community Orchestra and a fabulous local ballet company. It was a boat-load of music and required a surprisingly large amount of blood, sweat, and tears. ;)

As it just so happens, 99% of the rehearsals were at night in the cramped, poorly lit quarters of our conductor's basement. Then, about a week before opening night, we rehearsed with the dancers in their studio. We were set up in a separate room and communicated with the dancers through an open doorway. That might sound awful and extremely difficult, but it was actually the best we had ever played because 1) we were finally sitting in the classic symphonic half-circle for the first time, and 2) we could actually see the music by the light of day.

At last, we were feeling confident enough to kick some Nutcracker behind and perform this bad boy live {which, if you're familiar with The Nutcracker Suite being performed, you know rarely happens below the professional level}. Well, that all changed when we rehearsed at the middle school where we were to perform the very next night. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, eh?

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{photo source}

The problem was that we were spread out like too little jam on too much toast. The middle school didn't have an official pit for the musicians {not that I blame them} so we were squished between the front row seats and the stage. Couple that with poor acoustics and we couldn't hear anyone but ourselves as we played.

Ordinarily, that wouldn't be that big of a deal. . . but as a whole, we had gotten lazy and relied on hearing other musicians playing their part in order to know when to start playing OUR part. In other words, we weren't counting and paying close attention like we ought to have been.

Bad juju.

Suffice it to say that it was a rude awakening to have the night before a performance. We had to change the entire way we thought about the music and perform as though we were floating in the soundless void of space. . . because that's how it felt. :) We had to re-glue our eyes on the conductor so that we didn't completely crash and burn {imagine a train derailing off a 50-foot precipice onto jagged rocks}.

In short, each musician had to stand on their own two feet instead of relying on someone else.

Opening night was. . . interesting, but that's not what this post is about. :) This post is about how every single one of us has to stand on our own two feet spiritually.

. . .

If you're LDS, chances are you're all sorts of excited about the upcoming General Conference. Can I get a whoop-whoop?! Unless you're in a public place. . . then by all means, save yourself from humiliation and just nod and smile demurely.

But what if you're not excited? {cue dramatic music}

Are you doomed?!

Uh, no. You're not.

In fact, you're just like I used to be.

There was a time not too terribly far gone that General Conference weekend was my idea of a vacation from the Sunday meeting block. What changed? Well, for starters, I think I became more fully converted to the gospel instead of just "going through the motions".  I also realized that General Conference was a priceless opportunity to strengthen my testimony and gain the needed insight to overcome trials and obstacles in my life. Hearing from the living Prophet and Apostles is something that, as a life-long member of the Church, I had often taken for granted.

In effect, I was spiritually lazy. I hadn't learned to truly stand on my own two feet, but instead relied on the testimony of those around me.

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{photo source}

I was a floater {not to be confused with a floatie like what you find in the bottom of your drink after your toddler takes a sip :) }. Unfortunately, none of us can float very long before we start to sink. We either learn to swim or we become a bump on the bottom of the lake of faith.

Now, it's not inherently bad to rely on others. In fact, we need each other! The problem comes when we try to sit on someone's head as they swim toward exaltation. They went through the work to gain a testimony and we need to do the same. Only then can we can swim along together; helping each other when we get weary and worn down.

Don't be like the musician that waits for someone else to tell them when to play. . . practice hard, pay attention, and watch the conductor {a.k.a. the Prophet} and you'll be just fine.

If you find yourself wondering if you have the testimony to stand on your own two feet, I challenge you to try it out. You'll never know 'til you try, eh? I think you'll be pleased to see that you're a lot stronger than you think.

. . .

{Tune in for General Conference (click HERE to watch the first session on Saturday, April 5th at 10:00 am MST) regardless of where you stand. You won't regret it!}

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Library Trip of Doom


I was thinkin' I was all cool and decided to go to the library and scrounge up a book this morning. I really should have known better because searching for a decent and interesting read with JUST Hannah in tow was torturous. Having to lug around a bulky car seat full of sleeping baby and Hannah was a recipe for disaster, but was I to be dissuaded?

Negative.

My love of literature clearly clouded my judgement. :)

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{photo source}
. . .

It all started to go wrong in the parking lot when my maternity pants started to slide down my bum and I didn't have a free hand to pull them back up. You may find yourself asking, "Jessica, why are you wearing maternity pants five weeks after giving birth?" Well, it's simple. I only have three pairs of pants in my possession at the current moment-- a pair of skinny jeans, an old decrepit pair that have miraculously avoided getting "holey", and my maternity pants. I'm scared of my skinny jeans currently {SKINNY jeans, you see} and Old Reliable was dirty. Thus the maternity pants.

Bad idea. I would have been better off in a towel.

Things escalated rather rapidly when Hannah's shoe fell off before we reached the entrance. I managed to pop it back on after a brief pit stop, but we only made it a handful of steps before it fell off again. Apparently I need to revisit "How To Secure Velcro 101" and study up. While I was busy trying to outsmart the inanimate object that was so obviously kicking my trash, Curtis' car seat cover kept blowing all over the place, exposing him to a rather nippy breeze {although he was wrapped up in a warm car seat blanket, I'm still a little paranoid}.

Son of a gun.

We finally managed to enter the premises and make our way to the fiction section. Trying to talk Hannah out of pulling every single book off the shelf is like trying to talk the rain out of falling. . . so I tried to be swift and pick a good book in 12 seconds all while fending off Hannah's attempts at reorganization.

60 seconds later, I was still frantically trying to find a book that didn't sound dumb. Hannah had managed to dislodge many a book, but she made sure to take a long gander at the only book on the entire shelf with a half nekked man on the cover. What are the odds?!? I mean, come on. Throw me a bone here.

I settled on a novel after reading about four words of the synopsis and all but sprinted to the checkout counter.

As we made our way to the car, Hannah wiggled from my hand-hold and made a bid for freedom. . . twice. {You should see me try to run after a kid in flip flops while carrying a car seat. It ain't pretty. I imagine it looks a lot like my feeble attempts at dancing. . .Which is probably why I avoided school dances like the plague. But I digress.}

An annoying little dog cooped up in a nearby car decided to be the cherry on top of my glorious library excursion and yip at me as if his life depending on it as I buckled the kids in. I may or may not have shot him a crusty look or two, but he missed the "you're irritating" memo. They often do, I'm afraid.

I arrived home in one piece only to find that the book-- the book I subjected myself to all this hassle for-- is a total flop. I think I read about two pages before hanging my head in defeat.

Next time? I'm bribing my husband with new car parts and flyin' solo. ;)

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