Sunday, March 7, 2010

Car Rides Are A Scream

I can't believe I'm sitting here, about to write this sentence. Sometimes I wish Lucas was a newborn again.

...Did hell freeze over? Are pigs flying? Did the Lions win the Super Bowl? No? Ok, I'll carry on.

Car rides have become an absolute nightmare. When Lucas was a newborn and slept all the time, errands were a breeze. He slept like a little angel. My biggest problem then was toting his huge awkward car seat around, trying to look like I knew what I was doing, even though everyone could tell I did not know what I was doing because I had "new mom with infant child" written all over me with my black yoga pants and vacant eyes.

Now, Lucas likes to voice his dismay at being put in the car seat without my attention being showered upon him every waking minute. If you were to listen to him when I was putting him in the car seat, you would understand where the phrase "screaming bloody murder" came from. It's as if we're plunging him into a pit of fire that's as hot as a thousand suns.

While we're still in the house and walking out to the car, I can distract him by singing "The Wheels on the Bus" and blowing raspberries at him. But after I put him in the car and he realizes that I can no longer focus every iota of my focus on him, he gets mad. And he screams at periodically-increasing variables.

I've tried everything I can think of. I've sung about that stupid bus until I'm blue in the face, reasoned with him, turned the radio up and down, and even pulled over to re-insert his paci. The paci is usually the silver bullet, but if he spits it back out when I start driving again, all bets are off.

I'm half-ashamed, half-proud to admit that I can now tune him out to a certain degree. But sometimes I'll catch myself tuning him out, and then I have to push the ever-present Mommy Guilt aside.

How can you tune out your own child's screams?
I ask myself.

It's self-preservation! my self answers back. You have to keep your sanity.

And so it goes, back and forth. I tangle with my guilt and my rationality until we get to wherever we're going. When we do finally reach our destination, I'll unsnap my seat belt and rush over to Lucas' side of the car to rescue him from the cruel situation he was unwillingly thrust into.

And when I open the door, I'll be met with a perfectly calm baby who is either sleeping or happily looking at the toys danging from his car seat handle, showing absolutely zero signs of having just spent 10-15 minutes doing the kind of cry where he's sometimes screaming so hard that no sound comes out and he can't breathe.

Of course.

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