Recently, I was in line at the grocery store with my two little buddies. S was attempting to do acrobatics off the shopping cart, but not bothering anyone, and baby N was, as usual, in the Moby Wrap on my chest. I noticed this guy behind us—young, pudgy, frumpy—shuffling from one foot to another. He kept smirking and rolling his eyes in our direction. I could tell he had something to say. I smiled at him, giving him an opening.
He pushed his glasses up his nose and sneered, “I don’t get why people carry their babies like that. Didn’t you, like, just carry her inside you for nine months? I mean, put the baby down, already!”
Oh, my dear boy. First of all, it was ten months (add it up people—40 weeks, and N was late). Secondly, with those manners, I’m not surprised you were shopping for your Hamburger Helper and beer by yourself.
Although I wanted to drop-kick this stranger, I suspected his mommy didn’t do much snuggling when he was a babe. So I bit my tongue and shrugged. I figured my explanation would take too long, anyway, and this guy seemed like he had some pressing online gaming to do. But, I was left with the nagging feeling that I needed to justify why I wear my baby. So—
Aside from the fact that new mothers tend to enjoy holding their babies (um, hello), there are some very practical reasons why you will find me at the store with my baby in the wrap. Here is my argument:
1. We have to eat. Although I did plant a veg garden, we can’t survive off of basil for the next two months until the zucchini and tomatoes are ready. (I don’t even like zucchini or tomatoes that much). And though I hear there’s a breast milk ice cream shop in England (truly!), my family’s not ready to make that leap. Also, we don’t have a flourmill. Or any wheat to speak of. So I have to go to the store.
2. It’s illegal to leave kids alone in the car in the parking lot. And mean.
3. Although hubby could theoretically watch the little ones while I shopped, if I’m kid-free, you can bet I’m going to do something way better than hang out at Smith’s. Yeah, if such a miracle were to occur, I’d probably spend my time…sleeping…or reading…or going to a coffee shop to work and wind up looking at pictures of my kids on Facebook...or going to a coffee shop to work and wind up talking to the lady next to me about my kids, and then showing her pictures on Facebook…
In short, I have to shop and the kids are coming with. Now, I could either carry N on my hip (while pushing a cart, grabbing groceries and making sure S doesn’t climb into the refrigerated foods section to cool off) or carry N in the car seat. The first option is ludicrous, and the second one isn’t so hot either.
See, baby N spent much of her first months under the illusion that the car seat was occupied by evil spirits which she had to combat by screaming at the top of her lungs. Which brings me to my next point:
4. I've found that people generally don’t like being around babies who are screaming at the top of their lungs.
5. Finally, even if I did take baby N in the car seat, where would I put her? I couldn’t put her inside the cart, unless I was going to pile the food up all around her. (Okay, it might be kind of funny to make her like a real live Cabbage Patch Kid—I can just see her little face peeking out between the cantaloupe and kale, but I don’t think she would like that very much). Lots of parents put the car seat on the handle of the cart, but that feels very precarious to me. Besides, I have to reserve that seat for S in case I catch her bogarting all the free snack samples or something.
And so, the remaining logical choice is for me to carry N in the wrap. It’s easy, she’s content, and I have two free hands… which I just might use to give the finger to jerks I meet in the check-out line.
Oh, not really.
Well, yeah, maybe in my head.