The Baby On Board sign potentially means many things — a yuppie status symbol, an alert sign for first responders in an emergency, a sign that tells other moron drivers to get off your ass because you have precious cargo. But I think the real reason we put it up is that we’re all secretly hoping that it somehow emits a protective forcefield around the car.
I tried to psych myself up, though I was just as likely psyching myself out. It’s just like a video game, I thought to myself as I strapped the baby into the car seat for the first time, getting us ready for the drive home.
I’ve been preparing for this my entire life. Everything I learned from video games was going to be crucial for this drive: laser-sharp focus, quick reaction time, precision-timed jumping. Well, maybe not that.
We walked out of the postnatal ward, venturing towards The World. Somewhere in the corridor, I’m pretty sure a person either sneezed or coughed or spontaneously bled out of their eyelids, sending an air raid of germs to rain down on my three-day-old son.
I decided I would be totally fine with living in that hospital room the rest of our lives. All three of us, just like that. The baby in his little plastic container bin, the wife on the hospital bed, and me on the pull-out bedchair thing. We’d subsist on the many shades of brown foods from the hospital cafeteria, and in the evenings, we’d play along with Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. It would be okay.
Speaking of that little plastic container bin that baby slept in: yeah, about that. After months of crib research on the internet, I’d come away thinking the only reasonable, safe option was the organic, sustainably-sourced, certified-chemical-free, New Zealand pine crib that cost a million dollars, with a mattress made from handpicked soybeans personally blessed by a priest.
So that’s what I bought.
Rookie mistake. And I realized it once they placed my kid in a plastic tub on a metal push cart that might have been used for room-service food delivery in a previous life. And you know what? My kid was perfectly okay being in that tub. And he would also be perfectly okay one day rolling around on our formaldehyde-emitting laminate floors. Putting the dog toys in his mouth. Licking the restaurant table. Eating microwaved macaroni.
Everything will be fine.
There are so many warning labels affixed to everything your child will remotely come in contact with. Warning labels on the food he eats, chair he sits it, on the back of the pacifiers, on the clothes tags, on the sheets, on the crib, mattress, every single toy — like, EVERYTHING CAN AND WILL HARM YOUR CHILD.
Then there’s the warnings on everything you’re doing wrong, from the way you put the baby to sleep to the way you possibly fucked the car seat up. There’s a million warnings about medical care, the air, the water, the sun. Taking your child outside is DANGEROUS.
EVERYTHING IS BAD. That’s what parenting is like in 2015, navigating a world of everyone telling you everything is bad. I’m personally rejecting and taking a stand against this.
Everything will be fine. It’s a bold new philosophy.
And that’s also how I made it out to the car. The drive was a blur. But everything was fine. Except for the part where a Goomba tried to cross my path, but I did a precision superspeed run/jump/land and took out a Koopa Troopa as well. The kid slept right through it. I’m such a pro.