A recent post by one of our favorite bloggers, Mary Teague, the mom behind A Momma Grows in Brooklyn.
What do babies need (aside from food, shelter, clothing, and cuddles)? I have been informed--through myriad sources--that babies need routines. Routines purportedly provide our little ones with a sense of security in a complex world, which they are only just beginning to explore.
I am the first to admit that I am not prone to routines. Nevertheless, this past week was Baby's first week at Day Care, and the time seemed ripe for developing a morning routine for both of us. I imagined a routine that involved a lot of night-before organization followed by an easy morning of putting Baby in the carrier, grabbing my bag(s), and taking the bus to Day Care.
By Thursday morning, however, no routine had materialized. I woke up feeling groggy and with a bit of a sore throat. Baby and I played for a little while, and then I made some oatmeal for my breakfast. As I was enjoying my own food, I looked at Baby and thought, "Maybe now would be a good time to introduce [Baby] to bananas..." (I do not know why.) I put Baby in the high chair, mashed up some banana, and gave it a try. It did not go well. Baby started to fuss, which I interpreted as, "Mom, why did you think I wanted a banana when what I really need is a nap?"
I responded by hatching a plan to leave in fifteen minutes, put Baby in the stroller, walk slowly to Day Care, and give Baby a chance to nap in the stroller. After a whirlwind of bottles, back-up onesies, business casual dressing, sun hat grabbing, and general Momma-In-Training hijinx, Baby and I headed out the door.
I took what can only be described as a meandering path to Day Care. I thought that Carlton Avenue cut straight through the neighborhood to within a block of Day Care. So, I walked to where I thought I would find Carlton, which is where I found Clermont. I decided to try my luck with Clermont. (Baby napping yet? No.) Soon, I saw a construction crew in the block ahead of me ostensibly preparing for a wild rumpus of noise and road dust. I got off of Clermont and took Adelphi instead. (Baby napping yet? No.) Within a couple of blocks, Adelphi ended, forcing me to go right, which was where I finally did find Carlton Avenue. (Baby napping yet? No.)
One block later, I was standing on Carlton and Atlantic. I needed to cross Atlantic to get to Day Care, but the pedestrian bridge was closed thanks to the highly controversial Atlantic Yards construction. There are plenty of reasons to rally against Atlantic Yards, but on this day, my reason was pragmatic. Atlantic Yards closed my bridge, which meant that I had to walk Baby down Atlantic Avenue to the next available bridge. Atlantic Avenue is a loud, gravelly, no-trees kind of nastiness. (Baby napping yet? Ummmm, no.) I started feeling pretty guilty for having created this haphazard, nonsensical, no-routine life for Baby. I felt like I was failing to give Baby what he needs, and that is the worst feeling for a Momma-In-Training.
Just before I turned the corner to Day Care, I looked down at Baby. Fast asleep. We pulled over on the sidewalk, and I let him sleep in the shade while I checked work emails. A young family walked by. The mom and dad were walking their toddler in a stroller while the dad sang to his son. The dad sang, "All you need is..." The kid responded, "love." The dad sang, "All you need is..." The kid responded, "love, love, love." The dad sang, "Love is all you need."
Mary Jacobsen Teague is an attorney by day (and night...and, begrudgingly, by weekend) and writes about the occasional triumphs, many pitfalls, and the hijinx and hilarity of motherhood. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.