Thursday, June 24, 2010

Seen And Heard

Tonight we leave for our friends' wedding in Ohio. We have to travel 10 hours. With a baby. Uggggh, I dread this trip. Last month we drove 7 hours to the beach and Beatrice slept 45 minutes the entire drive. The other 6 hours and 15 minutes she fussed and whined. I sat in the backseat singing and entertaining her and by the time we got home, no one wanted to talk to each other for a couple of days.

I don't mind the entertaining in the backseat for several hours, it's the fussiness and whining that I don't want anyone else to have to deal with. My brother and sister in law are driving with us. They don't have children yet. I'm one of those people that gets uncomfortable for others in uncomfortable situations. I never want to be that parent with the screaming child in the grocery store or have the kid that won't quit talking during church. I feel like a failure as a parent if I can't get my child to be happy or better yet, quiet. And when I can't make her look out the window happily quiet for a 10 hour car ride, I feel like everyone blames me.

I think it's safe to say that when most people hear the kid having a meltdown on aisle 5, they automatically blame the parent. "If that were my child, I would take them to the bathroom and deal with the situation." "Why can't they get a handle on their kid?" "My child has/will never act like that." I've been guilty of the same thoughts when in the presence of a temper tantrum. Now that I'm a parent, I know how much anxiety there is for the parent when the kid is losing it. First of all, sometimes the kid isn't having a temper tantrum (like my baby, she's a perfect angel). Many times Beatrice is overtired and needs a nap but because I wanted to squeeze in one more errand, she just can't handle the extra stimulation. Or she's hungry or wet or whatever, but not every cry means the child is unmanageable. Nonetheless, there is still that pressure on the parent to prevent their child from disrupting everyone else in earshot.

I guess I don't want anyone to think that I can't handle my baby or worse, think that she is hard to handle. And my crazy empathy for others in uncomfortable situations makes it hard for me to relax and accept that no one expects her to do or be anything on this trip other than a baby. A baby who may cry or fuss or be unhappy about being in a car seat for 10 hours.


  1. Aly, as someone without kids (but who loves them) I can affirm that we all have times where we wish the parents would quiet the screaming child (airplanes are the most difficult for me). But in the end, that's OUR issue, not yours and not the baby's. At one time, we were all children, and we were all babies. Each of us knows, if we would take the time to stop and remember, that sometimes babies are going to fuss and cry. It is what they do--there is no such thing as a baby who doesn't at some point cry or scream or fuss. We ALL did it, regardless of who our parents were. In the end, you chose to be a mother--a very special thing, and if people choose to spend time with you, they need to accept that you come with children!!!

  2. That is great advice, thank you. I do often forget that no one expects her to be happy and quiet all the time. Thanks for the reminder :)

  3. Aly, hi!

    I totally understand your worry. It used to drive me nuts too, but now everytime I come close to worrying about something like this, I pause and tell myself: don't sweat the small stuff. Will this really matter in a day, a week, a year?

    Another thing to take into consideration is that the calmer you will be the more chances that Beatrice will be calmer too and of course vice versa. :)

    I realize you have already made the trip and i i'm sure it went well. But maybe my words will still come in handy at some point in time. :)