As amazing and awesome as it is bring home a new baby, sometimes the happy, excited feelings can be overshadowed by the nervous ones. Honestly, that seems to happen to us a lot as new parents, now that I think about it, and probably because we're acutely aware and unable to negate just how monumental some of these moments are. But a baby? Yeah, a baby probably has no idea (lucky). For this reason, and many others, I imagine that what a baby thinks when they ride in a car for the first time is very different than what a parent thinks when they're strapping their precious babe into that carseat for the very first time and braving that dreaded freeway. Gulp.
When it came time to go home after giving birth, my partner and I had approximately one mile to drive in order to get from the hospital to our home. However, it will come as no surprise to other parents that it took us longer to clip in our son's car seat and make sure he was safe and secure, than it did to actually make the three-minute trip (and not just because we want back up to the maternity wing to ensure he was safely clipped).
While my partner and I were sweating bullets and cursing whoever decided to invent the deathtraps that are modern automobiles, our son didn't let on that he had any particular feelings about the situation we were forcing him into. In fact, he was cool, calm and oh-so collected. However, if he was thinking anything while we made that mini-yet-somehow-terrifying ride home, I imagine they were something like this:
"Whoa. It’s Bright Out Here."
My son's first moments in the car were preceded by his first moments outside, which I can only imagine were blinding since it was sunny and bright in a way that the hospital and the womb definitely weren't.
"What Is This Giant Mechanical Beast, And Why Are You Putting Me Inside It?"
OK, to be fair, he’d already been exposed to some technology inside the hospital and also in utero (because I'm sure he could hear the Netflix) but I’m sure the car took it to a whole new level.
"That’s Pretty Convenient How My Carrier Snaps In Like That. You Guys Thought Of Everything."
We sure did, son! That’s why it’s only going to take three million hours to make sure it’s all here for your drive home. Then, wait until you see your room.
"This Seat Is Cozy Like The Womb, But Drier. And My Limbs Aren’t As Secure. Strange."
Maybe at some point they’ll be a way to combine swaddles with car seats, but until then I am going to follow all suggested safety measures exactly as they’re written.
"Why Is Everyone Staring At Me? I Mean, You’ve Been Doing That My Whole Life, But It’s Even More Intense Now."
Get used to it, little man. We’re going to be doing this a lot for the next, oh, forever.
"Why Are You Crying Again?"
I’m just getting warmed up for the next six weeks since I hear this is pretty much all I’ll be doing.
"Should I Be Crying Too?"
I want to be like, “No, it’s cool,” but then I remember that it’s pretty much the only thing he knows how to do, so I don’t want to totally squash his dreams or set unrealistic expectations. So, while you're completely safe, son, feel free to cry away. (Oh god, please don't cry when we're stuck in traffic. Please.)
"So, Where Are We Going? Starbucks?"
To be fair, this is a legitimate question, especially if he’s basing this assumption on how I spent my time leading up to his birth.
"I Like This Gentle Movement And Soft Rumbling"
This is called a car. Whenever you have any problems falling and/or staying asleep, this is probably where you'll end up. Welcome to the future, little man. We’ve been waiting for you.
This is nothing, baby. Just wait until we leave the parking lot.
Ah, I understand. It is hard to wait fifteen extra seconds under these circumstances. It's cool. We'll try again tomorrow.