It took me a long time before I felt ready to have a baby. I mean, a long, long time. And even while I was pregnant, I still worried a lot about whether or not I’d be a good mother. Amongst many of my misconceptions about motherhood, I assumed that (a) a person had to love all children in order to be a great parent and (b) a person had to know a good deal about children in order to raise them effectively.
Perhaps I was naive (read: a little dumb) and everyone else knew it but me, but neither of these things are true. You don’t have to like other babies or other kids because they’re not yours. You’ll love yours like mad. And you don’t have to know much about babies or kids because you’re not directly responsible for the upbringing and general maintenance of other babies or other kids.
I have fast become an expert in all things J, and what I don’t know, I make up/learn along the way. Take yesterday for example. After a few errands, we made our last stop at the grocery store. Instead of pushing him in his stroller–which has limited space for our purchases–I decided to put him in the front of the shopping cart. At the last minute, while unbuckling him from his car seat, I opted to leave his pacifier behind because I think it inhibits his babbling, and I’d like to slowly wean him from the habit.
For some reason, he really, really, really wanted to lick every part of the cart he could reach. Now, they put those sanitizing wipes at the front of the store so people can eliminate the germs from the handles of the shopping carts, but I don’t believe this makes it safe to gnaw on them. Further, I am pretty sure this is an indication of just how filthy those carts are, and in no way did I want J putting his sweet little tongue all over that disgustingness.
He was pretty determined, and after encouraging him to remove his mouth from the cart several times, I wondered how I would be able to keep an eye on him and get any shopping accomplished. While panicking a little, I spied a heap of Saltine packets at the salad bar, meant for those customers who were buying a cup of warm soup. I didn’t even hesitate before swiping one of them up, ripping it open, breaking of a piece of a cracker and offering it to Jude.
In predictable fashion, he gave me a look that said:
“Whoa, hold on there lady. I’ll thank you not to shove food in my mouth before I’m able to inspect it.”
But once he tasted the deliciousness that is a Saltine, he was game and pretty much demanded that I keep it up with the supply at a break-neck pace. So much for getting my shopping done in a hurry. Without shame, I grabbed a handful of the cracker packets, shoved them in my pocket, and proceeded to stop every two feet to satiate my son’s need for crispy goodness.
Hey, if it kept him from licking the shopping cart, who was I to complain?