I can absolutely relate to the amount of effort and worry that comes along with your first solo trip with your baby. It took me FOUR MONTHS to put him in the car and drive by myself. It was less about not wanting to do it and more because I have three other people who can help, most notably a partner who is at every doctor’s appointment and available for errands and such.
That dumb diaper bag really does need to be filled with everything from toys and a pacifier to food (even a thing of formula and a bottle of water just in case I somehow spill my breast milk or something happens and he needs to eat more) and a change of clothing. A burp rag. A blanket. Wipes. Diapers (five million). Plastic bags for dirty clothing and diapers. A changing pad. And this is nothing compared to what’s in store when he needs things like snacks or different shoes or layers or other items to entertain him.
I fretted over what I would do if he started crying while I was driving. Like, what if I were on some road where you couldn’t pull over (OK, this is far fetched, but if you’ve been on 90 with all of the construction, it’s a little more plausible. Fine, not really.)
In a couple of weeks, we’re driving to North Carolina so he can meet my partner’s family. Maybe we’re crazy, but the airport and a plane ride (and the cost and not having a car to use while we’re there for a week) didn’t seem like the better option. While I’m trying to GO WITH THE FLOW about the whole thing, I’m not so secretly terrified he’s going to cry the whole way and we get stuck in some horrible motel in the middle of nowhere. Though really, if that’s the worst case scenario, we’ll be in decent shape.
There are other, smaller things that I’m perfectly happy to admit I patted myself on the back over.
- Sticking a thermometer up his butt
- Holding his arms down while he got vaccinations
- Cradling him while he was having his blood drawn
- Letting him cry (for a little while) himself to sleep
- Cutting his fingernails (and accidentally nipping his finger for which I felt like I’d shot a baby bunny point blank in the face)
- Giving him a bath
And I know there will be other times (some of which I’ve tried to prepare myself for [like when he gets really sick for the first time]) that will probably warrant even more self-congratulations. Not because this stuff is hard, per se. It’s just new. The other worldly love and bond that some people describe they have about their children, I feel is what’s at play when you get through tiny moments with your brand new baby.
Imagining my kid with a high fever or a terrible cough is knowing that I will feel an actual tug on the inside, something squeezing my gut and heart at the same time, ever so slightly.
So when I do something I consider scary because failing at it would mean anywhere from discomfort to the death of my child, it’s a feeling of competency that I’ve never experienced.