Today, I took my 7 month old grandson first to Home Depot and then to the grocery store. How hard could it be, I thought. One little baby, plop him into a shopping cart, purchase my requisite 3 items and out the door in less than 15 minutes…not.
First of all, there was the shopping cart cover I’d ordered from Balboa Baby that came without instructions. The intent was to rid my house of the extremely cushy high chair cover that came with the Graco Tablefit high chair. I liked the idea of cushy except that my daughter informed me that cushiness accompanies the soon-to-be-banned flame retardants that are in the blood streams and urine of 97% of all Americans, flame retardants that cause cancer, infertility, lowered IQ, behavioral problems, etc. etc. in our children and have since the 1970’s. Hence the flame-retardant-free shopping cart cover from Balboa that I absolutely could not figure out in the parking lot of Home Depot. The leg holes were nowhere near where legs really are and what were the two long ties complete with Velcro patches for?
After a frustrating 5 minutes, (5 minutes is a long time when you are carrying a squirming 18 pound baby) I gave up, folded the cover, used it as padding and strapped the little guy in using the belt on the cart… my first mistake. How does a 7 month old baby explore his universe? You guessed it. Within seconds the end of the belt was in his mouth. I thought of the potentially hundreds of unvaccinated babies who had chewed on the belt of this cart. Horrified, I pulled a sanitary wipe from the pack in his diaper bag and scrubbed everything in the vicinity of his fat little fingers. Then I found Sophie, a teething giraffe that has taken the baby world by storm, at the bottom of the bag. Happily, baby was diverted…temporarily.
Soon, another issue made itself evident in my Home Depot visit. My intent was to purchase gardening gloves and a preventative for the powdery fungus that attacks my non-blooming lilac bushes every spring. I turned into the garden section and stopped as if seeing the words for the first time: USE GLOVES, FLUSH EYES WITH WATER UPON CONTACT, UNSAFE FOR PETS. Quickly, I backed up and out. Visions of the little guy chewing on the lid of Daconil while I chose gardening gloves was too graphic for this first time grandma. Besides, who needs lilacs anyway? Home Depot was summarily abandoned.
Next stop, the grocery store. This time I didn’t bother trying to figure out the cart cover. Unfolding it, I wrapped the Velcro straps around the baby, weaving them through the bars of the cart and securing them to each other. Voila, nothing needed sanitizing, he was comfortable and safe. All went well until I attempted to check out my purchases at the self-check. The little guy wanted to inspect every item before I scanned it, especially the plastic, crackly ones which of course headed straight for his mouth. Eventually a lively young lady employee came to my rescue. “He’s adorable,” she said. “What’s his name?” I told her. She smiled. "Hi, John." He smiled back, buried his head in my shoulder and looked at her again. The entire sequence was repeated, several times. Meanwhile she finished scanning and bagging my items while I pocketed the receipt. Half my mission had been accomplished.
Safely in the car, the baby chewed happily on Sophie all the way home where his dad, eating a late lunch, took him from me, bypassed the play gym, the jumperoo, the Baby Einstein Octopus and mirror, rattles, and various stacking toys and deposited him into the bottom half of a packing box sitting on the floor. “A box?” I asked. “A box for a playpen? Does his mother know?"
Dad shrugged. “He likes it.”