Before K-Pants, I had always wondered why plastic bags needed a warning that kids under three shouldn’t play with them. Really? Who lets their child play with plastic bags? Don’t they have real toys? Don’t they know kids can suffocate in a matter of minutes?
That was then.
This is now: If I’m making dinner, and K-Pants finds a plastic bag, loving it’s crinkly noise and ambiguous shape, I’m all for him having a little walk on the wild side until the pasta is finished. He’s right next to me, and I check on him constantly, of course, but as sauce is simmering, turkey meatballs are frying, and penne is bubbling away, the last thing I can think of is prying away his entertainment and adding a screaming baby to the mix of pots and pans.
Many moms would say the same thing. This came as a shock to my brother-in-law this summer. We were recently having a wonderful weekend with family and friends, in particular: meeting Joseph, the newest addition to the fold. The era of weddings is waning and children are popping up everywhere. Which is truly miraculous, because they can be very hard to come by.
A group of friendly, like-minded parents is difficult to find on a regular basis, so when we’re together, it’s therapeutic. On this particular day, a delicious barbecue—and quite a few Coronas—were helping things out. My brother-in-law, Jay, was the only single one there. He’s also one of the few people who will do whatever K-Pants wants. Roll around on the floor? Great! Throw blocks? Even better! Secretly eat cookies? I’ve been waiting for this moment! It’s possible he loves K-Pants more than we do, though I don’t like to measure these things.
The conversation started out talking about the baby shaking video moms are required to watch at the hospital. Apparently, at Joseph’s hospital, there was a channel that played it in a continuous loop. When K-Pants was born, I thought this kind of thing was crazy. I figured people who had skipped out on high school might think baby-shaking was a good idea. But then we brought K-Pants home from the hospital, and there were times when he would not be soothed by bouncy, breast, singing, sucking, back-rubbing—anything! If my husband was home we could trade off, but if I was sleep-deprived or it was the end of a long day, suddenly baby-shaking didn’t seem like such a far-off possibility. Will you please stop screaming?!?! Let me be clear: I am not a baby-shaker, and K-Pants has never had his brain rattled, but there are these low moments, when you’re glad you saw the video so you remember it’s a bad idea.
My brother-in-law looked horrified. How could this potential baby-shaker be in charge of the precious Pants?? Given that my husband and I had also just allowed K to stick his hand in the hot wax of the Citronella candle (he won’t do that again!), Jay seemed to have enough evidence to remove the baby from our custody and take him down to Florida to lively happily (and safely) ever after. So far, K is still in NYC, but I now know there’s the real possibility that after any upcoming visit, when Jay sees K-Pants sticking dust bunnies in his mouth or climbing on top of his plastic table to reach the window sill, that he might be enjoying a sunny vacation for a while.