Thursday, March 30, 2006

Adventures in Babysitting

The last few days have been interesting. I'm so pleased that I'm able to get out of the house, and it's turned out to be about once a day, which is LOVELY. Yesterday was especially fun, because I took the little guy (also known as Senor Senor Junior) with me. We had a blast. Well, not a blast maybe, but I got him home alive and well. And that really is all you can ask of me thus far.

First, my friend Jamie came to visit. She spent her lunch break and then some with us, as she came into work way too early and had some time to kill. It was great to see her, and it was just as great to have a visitor. I hope to have more visitors starting next week when Chris goes back to work (hint, hint to all of you who are within driving distance of my house) as I will be completely lonely. Marcus is cute and all, but he is not much of a conversationalist. Most of the vocalizing he does occurs as he is about to poop. And that's only grunts and whimpers. Although it is kind of funny...

Anyway, when Jamie left, I gathered up my Short Term Disability (or STD - ha!) paperwork, the diaper bag, and I grabbed a bottle of water as I was already thirsty. (Breastfeeding means that you drink water pretty much constantly. I haven't NOT been thirsty since before Senor Senor Jr. was born.) I plopped my gear in the car, then grabbed His Highness and clicked him into his carseat. As we hit the road, I looked down and realized I left the freaking bottle of water on the dining room table. ARGH! No matter... we could stop and get one along the way.

I get almost to the doctor's office, and realize that I never checked to be sure the stroller was in the boot of the car. Fortunately, the new stroller we purchased is large enough to be seen in satellite images of the Earth, so one glance in my rear view assured me it was, indeed, there. Whew! The lady with the "H" word wasn't going to have to carry 9 pounds of baby and 20 pounds of car seat up to the doctor's office. Hooray!

Paperwork drop-off complete, we headed into town for the main purpose of our trip... a bra fitting. Well, MY main purpose. Marcus isn't so much interested in bras for himself. Along the way, I get the notion that a milkshake would be FAR better than water, and I map myself to the closest fast-food restaurant with decent shakes. Unfortunately, McDonalds was the only restaurant that wouldn't take me way off the beaten path... except for Wendy's, but Frosty's require a spoon, and I was interested in keeping both hands on the wheel as much as possible.

So we go to my LEAST favorite McDonald's in Cary. It is my least favorite because many of the patrons, good Cary residents that they are, are egocentric morons who can't figure out how to queue up for a drive-thru window. The design of the parking lot has many a Cary driver refusing to drive AROUND the building, and therefore they start a second line that often extends out into a street. Hard to explain here, but if you are familiar with this Mickey D's, you know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, I didn't think this would be a problem as I was going there at 2:50 in the afternoon. I give you the exact time, because it features in to the story in a moment. I pull up, and sure enough, a good citizen of Cary cuts me off from the wrong entrance of the restaurant and gives me yet another car wait for my tasty (sort of) treat. Oh, but it gets better.

After about five minutes, I realize we aren't moving. It's 2:55 pm and I have not advanced in the line AT ALL. there were SIX cars ahead of me. Can we say "late lunch?" THEN I finally inch forward and cut-me-off-at-the-drivethru woman starts placing her order. I can hear her, because both our windows are open and she has a voice that could cut glass two counties away.

"Is your ice cream machine working today?" (A valid question, I think, as if I hear a crackly "No," I too can just high-tail it out of there)

"Yes," the voice crackles back.

"Well, what do you have that's not a sundae?" the voice of anti-matter asked. (Are you kidding me?! It's McDonald's! Not Baskin Robbins!)

Crackly voice says, very politely I might add, "Well, there are milkshakes, and there is the Flurry."

"Flurry? What's that?" (To which I would like to say, "You SOUND like an American citizen. Do you seriously not know what a Flurry is?)

"Well, it's like a shake, only it has stuff stirred in... like M&Ms."

--Mind you, all this time, my son is napping happily in the car, and I know this is just killing precious nap time before he awakens and wants to eat again.--

"Is it on your menu out here? I don't see it!" (The drivethru only has a partial menu, moron... you are expected to know the entire menu by heart before you can graduate from High School. We do have our standards in North Carolina, you know. Mc'D's menu is right up there with passing SAT scores...)

"It's on our menu, ma'am, yes."

"The one out here? Where? I don't see it!"

--At this point, I closed my window and considered just leaving, but decided it wasn't worth sacrificing a milkshake. After all, this couldn't take too much longer.--

Short story long, cut-me-off-at-the-drivethru finally decided on something to order, and it was my turn at the order speaker. I ordered quickly and efficiently, and the crackly voice seemed to be well-organized and pleasant. So I expected it would only be seconds before I had my milkshake in hand. Alas... I did not move again for another five minutes. I finally DID receive my milkshake at 3:15. TWENTY-FIVE minutes in the drivethru at McDonald's in the MIDDLE of the afternoon.

I headed in to the hospital, my final destination. Rex Hospital has a Women's Resource Center also known as "The Lactation Station" where you can purchase (or rent in some cases) anything related to pregnancy and nursing. They carry the best nursing bras in town, and they have people certified to do bra fittings who are also real nurses and know what breastfeeding is all about.

Sure enough, as soon as we got there, Marcus woke up and wanted to eat. Fortunately, I'm in a place called "Lactation Station," so I found a comfy chair and he tucked right in. The nurse/shopkeeper approached and oohed and aahed in the general direction of my baby's head. This is where it gets weird.

She came right up and lifted up my shirt so she could see the action! Yipes! Fortunately, I knew she was a nurse and therefore didn't scream for security, but it was a bit weird all the same. She also saved herself with the first thing that came out of her mouth... "What an incredibly handsome little guy!" Okay, that does it for me. Compliment my baby with sincerity, and you have a friend for life. Watch all you want, lady.

Then, she told me that we were basically the poster children of breastfeeding. She described everything he was doing and why our technique was "spot on." She threw around technical terms like "hind-milk" and "Second Letdown." Sounds weird to the average Joe, I'm sure, but let me tell you, as someone who only recently was able to embrace her inner cow, I was pretty flattered. I mean, this lady is an expert!

She also guessed that Marcus was a month old at least. At first, I thought maybe it was because she spends so much time working with preemies and their mom's and therefore has lost perspective of how big a full-term baby is. But then she talked about how tall he was and guessed his weight fairly accurately. So I guess he's bigger than I thought.

After His Majesty's meal, we got down to the measuring and shopping. I was horrified to learn my new chest size (I won't reveal it here, but I will say that I rank second now among my friends for biggest maternity rack. I'm into letters I didn't know corresponded with bra sizes). The nurse coddled Marcus while I tried on about 8 bras. I selected three, and good old cluster-feeding Marcus wanted to eat again to get rid of a nasty case of the hiccups. This time, the nurse set me up in one of their lactation rooms with a rocking chair, foot stool, changing table, and a machine that looked to me like a modern iron lung. Turns out that machine is a hospital grade breast pump. EEK! My little electric pump doesn't look nearly so bad now. Wait, nevermind. Yes it does.

Soon, we were headed home, three bras richer but $100 poorer. Marcus screamed until I found disco on the radio (his dad is not thrilled with his musical taste thus far) and we made the rest of the trip home without incident.

Finally, after much hemming, hawing, and general irritability, Athena decided to stay home with me last night rather than going with Dad to the hockey game. Fortunately, Marcus slept until after she went to bed, and she was more docile than usual. I swear I don't know how people do it... have a newborn and a toddler and care for them alone day in and day out. I suppose I could do it if I had to, but thankfully, I don't have to.

So that was my day. Long post? Yes. But I had to make up for all my short little ones!


Jason said...

Disco, huh? Download a little Parliament or Tower of Power and see if he likes Funk.

Jessey said...

Laugh out loud funny. Several times.
I so get where you're coming from, it's like reading from the depths of my own mind...Except for the McD's, cause I'm really more of a Wendy's person.

Also, question: Where are your parents from? Boot and queue up? These are not American terms. What gives?

eaf said...

Mom - New York and Dad - Ohio.

Guilty as charged. I'm an Anglophile. It's a sickness. I pick up the phrases from BBC news and various British tv shows, movies, and mostly friends who live in England. Sometimes the Queen's English just works better for what you want to say. And often, it makes you seem smarter than you really are. (If you don't sound pretentious first). But don't tell anyone I said that. It will be our little secret. :-)

Chris said...

It's "Se┼łor Senior Jr."

Brant said...

Try Curtis Mayfield...

Brant said...

And you speak more "British" than Shelli does - and she's got a British passport, too...

As to the ridiculous lines at drive-thrus, I've pulled out of at least 10 since we moved up here. I know people in the south have a reputation for being slow, but up here it's just downright rude inefficiency.

And I would've honked as soon as she started asking questions and yelled at her to get off her ass and go inside.

Jason said...

Slow drive-thrus are soon to be a thing of the past. All the major restaurants are implementing new systems to speed it up, since they've noticed that 70% of their business comes through the drive-thru window. Those poor employees will soon be working under the gun to get you your shake and fries in under 2 minutes.

Brant said...

Jason - That may be true, but it doesn't speed up the nits in front of you in the line, trying to order Happ Meals for the entire soccer team on 3 different receipts and wanting to pay with a single $100 bill...

Jessey said...

I still can't imagine how someone didn't know what a McFlurry is!

My husband once got stuck behind a twit in the Arby's line who chatted with the drive-thru twit until the place closed. So by the time he got to the order menu, they were like, sorry we're closed. He said, I've been waiting in line for 10 minutes! The twit said, sorry, we're closed now.

And THAT incident is what got me banned from going to Arby's for six months in somesort of boycott protest type thing.
That's my husband, always fighting injustice.

eaf said...

My husband has a similar boycott with Chick-Fil-a. However, it has lasted WAY more than 6 months. I think it has actually been several years. A bad drivethru incident triggered the actual boycott, but he's been ticked off for years that they put pickles on chicken sandwiches.

Fortunately, his boycott doesn't extend to me. :-)

Bern said...

We spent 28 minutes at a BK Drive-thru two weeks ago AND they got our orders wrong!! We came home with an extra Apple Pie and an extra fries. Guess that diluted our anger.

Chris said...

It wasn't a drive-through incident, it was an inside incident. I was so mad I almost threw my meal at the bitch behind the counter and her manager. Hunter was with me, hon - ask him.

Sophie said...

I'm a wimp, I don't even dare to go in a drive through. I'd rather park, get my butt out of the car, stand in line at the counter, and talk to the person face to face. I'll tell you why. One, I usually don't understand what the person is saying (blame it on their accent or bad intercom). Second, fast food places make me nervous because even if you ask for Combo #3, there are always a million questions that follow, and I'm afraid of getting caught off guard. Three, I never have cash on me (do they take plastic at the window??). Four, my car is not made for eating or drive through windows (I drive a Bug, which is low to the ground, has ridiculous cup holders and manual transmission. I can't shift, drive, eat and flip off other drivers all at the same time). Really, I try to avoid fast food places all together, although I am a sucker for Arbys, Bojangles and Chick-Fil-A.