Good Lord was I nervous. I was shaking in my $7 Kmart slip on sandals at the thought of taking a baby out in public. She was 6 months old. It’s been Winter. Much too cold outside of the cold (and sound) insulating walls of our home. Waiting this long definitely had nothing to do with the pure terror and anxiety I felt at the sheer thought of taking her to an event with thousands of witnesses to a potential melt down hours from home and at least a twenty minute walk from the car. Could you imagine? I could.
Taking her to a carnival was brave, but was it too brave? There would be a lot of noise, a lot of screaming. I didn’t know where the parent rooms were, and how long would we be gone. How many meals should I pack? Will she be able to nap, or will my sweet baby girl transform into an raging pint-sized T-rex right before my eyes? It was like mankind’s first journey to the moon, but a slightly bigger deal.
So I packed the diaper bag the night before, giving me time to (over)think about what I’d forgotten. I spent an extra hour trying to fall asleep, forget counting sheep tonight, we’re checking off baby supplies. Baby sunscreen (including second mental rant about why a tiny tube was $12 and furthermore, that I was willing to pay that)? Check. Binkie? Check. Six flavours of pre-prepared baby food in case she hates the first five? Check. Rainbow squeaky dinosaur of distraction? Check. I was ready.
How did this pan out, you eagerly wonder.
Well, kind stranger, let me tell you.
It was fine. I would even dare go as far as to say great. Bold of me, I know. She slept all day, save for the petting zoo (she was very keen on harassing the sheep and the goats…the chickens, not so much), she drank her room temperature bottle in front of the milk-a-plastic-cow tent and we left with the Very Hungry Caterpillar showbag that I was adamant we needed to get her. Seriously, I had this thing circled in the event magazine for days and I had to arrive first thing in the morning in case it sold out – sorry Jason, I know I told you we left so early to avoid traffic, minor detail.
I do suppose it’s totally normal to feel nervous taking your baby out in public for the first time but thankfully, the panic and anxiousness was all for nothing! I scolded myself for not having faith in my daughter behaving well, but with how I was as a child, you really have to be on the guard for the right-back-at-you-naughty-baby-karma. That being said though, she did loudly declare that it was time to go home at the very beginning of the event we’d just hung around for 3 hours to see, the only event I was overly keen on watching, but all things considered, she was her version of an angel, so I guess I could watch the replay at home on Youtube. Ah the days of the internet.
My advice to a new parent? Find a map. Locate, highlight and memorise every parent room or potential change table within walking (running) distance of the complex…Maybe that’s a bit extreme, but definitely have an idea of where they’re located within the vicinity. If possible, and if baby is predictable enough, leave after baby has taken a poop. Conveniently for me, it’s the good morning from Aubree that she graces me with as I drink my coffee every morning. If that’s not your luck, make sure baby has a clean bum before you leave the safety of home, even if it looks like a tiny toileting. One thing I’ve learned the hard way – always bring one more bottle than you think you’ll need. Traffic has caught me off guard twice before – you’d think I’d have learned after the first time but that’s not my style – and, finally, take a deep breath, it’ll be fine.