Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Family Outing

For most of my son's six weeks of life, I've managed to shield him from the world in which he lives.  A few doctor visits, a couple walks, and whatever mom has managed to sneak behind my back notwithstanding.  My wife has been itching for weeks to get us out of the house, and with blue skies and spring like temperatures pervading our weekend, I knew that the time had come. We were hitting the road.

Ready for a big day...
After checking the car seat base no less than 17 times, we crept out of the driveway, the car moving at the pace of a parade float as we were off for our first official family outing.

The day was full of first, which for me meant it was full of stress.  Sure, I joke about being an overprotective dad, but much of it is no joke, I can’t help it.

The first sign of danger came by way of the gas station.  As I filled up, I stared at the little lugnut, blissfully asleep in the car when a Volkswagon bus pulled in to the other side of the pump, its engine struggling to idle as the exhaust fumes filled the air. I dashed into the car, startling my wife as I turned the key and closed the sunroof.  Not on my watch Carbon monoxide, the first hazard had been adverted.

I finished pumping gas without incident, sending a Walt Kowalski-like scowl to drivers of loud vehicles and those with inappropriate language until we got back on the road.

Our destination was Charlottesville, Trader Joe’s more specifically, because driving an hour each way for cheap wine and cookie butter is practical, and our marriage is based on practicality.

I drove like a man on a mission, but a mission without time restraints. Arriving at the shopping center the panicking began.  There were horns, sirens, buses, and, gasp, other human beings.  I pulled the stroller of the trunk and to my surprise, was able to unfold it. I looked around, Sniff, that's right, I'm a dad.  I felt parental as we navigated our way through the foot traffic, me and the little guy hanging outside while mom peeked into a few stores.

My senses seemed sharper, and I was on high alert, taking precautions that would put Secret Service to shame. Craning my neck, I glanced in all directions for potential threats.  Who knew the world could be so dirty?  I tried to remind myself that when I was a kid I used to eat bugs and drink creek water.  I may or may not have eaten a scab.

Stopping for lunch at Chili's, I inquired as to whether breast milk was on the menu.  No such luck, we found a booth tucked away and commenced to be that couple.  Being removed from civilization for so long, I worried my wife would walk out of the bathroom with her boob hanging out of her shirt, ready to feed. 

Once again our son was well behaved, and when the waitress approached while I was burping him on my shoulder as if I had been doing it for years.  I whispered politely for the check.  That's right, I got this...

Finally, we arrived at Trader Joe's. I unpacked, and with my confidence growing I took the reigns of the stroller to let my wife do the shopping. But once inside of the crowded store, as the carts whizzed by us and we became lost in the shuffle of reusable bags, ironic t-shirts, and yuppie indifference, my confidence faded. I struggled up and down a couple aisles, the crowd more than I could bear.  Nope, I whipped around and back outside as my son and I escaped to the parking lot for some sunshine.

trader joes
Perhaps he (I) was overwhelmed, or maybe he(I) was just tired.  After all, for him (me), we may as well have travelled to the moon.  He started to fuss as we waited for mom outside, watching the throng of Priuses (Prii?) cruise through the lot.

Eventually Mom resurfaced, and our son was hungry. So, right there in the parking lot, she nursed our son in the back seat as I munched on the groceries in the trunk. We were only a drum circle short of looking like a tailgate party at a Phish show.

By this point I was done. I had had enough firsts for the day.  We drove home, exhausted from our adventure. My son and I anyway, I think mom was fine. And so we made it, unharmed and unscathed after exploring a small part of the world. Maybe we'll do it again next year...


  1. You've heard it before, but shall hear it again from me.
    My first was coiled in bubble wrap, football gear, and a giant human hamster ball before we left the house the first time. Now that I'm on #3, it's more like Mario Kart out there (just kiddin'). I thought I'd be the EXACT amount of paranoid with each little one. Nnnnnnnnnope. I'm still watching for sharp corners and such, I mean, I ain't like it's Thunderdome in my pad. Just different as each one comes along. You're doing great brother. Keep it up.

    The Cheeky Daddy

    1. Spoken like a true pro, thanks Jason!

  2. Aw. I nursed my kids too. I remember nursing all over the place. I never flashed my boob but I did, erm, leak everywhere a couple of times. That was not fun.

    1. I guess it comes with the territory Whispering, it going to take some getting used to for me!