Hush little baby, don’t you cry.
March 29, 2010

For months, Charlotte wailed when I placed her in the car-seat.

Nothing seemed to help.  She cried whether it was light or dark.  Whether I sang or was silent.  Whether the radio was on or off.  She screamed when I gave her toys and when I did not.  When I covered the car-seat with a blanket and when I did not.  When the sun shade was not attached and when it was.  For the life of me, I could not figure out what the problem was.

I’m ready, Momma!  Let’s roll!

And then one day she just outgrew it.

I feel a little ashamed to admit this, but I am not exactly positive when this happened.  Driving around while a baby shrieks from the back seat pretty much causes brain matter to leak out of your ears, so one would think that I would have noticed when the screaming stopped.  I mean, the moment when your brain matter stays contained within your skull is a big milestone in the life of a child, right?  But notice I did not.

Actually, to be completely honest, I pretty much stopped going places for a couple months.  I started walking to the library (as it turns out, other mothers are not very interested in mingling when you show up to story-time ten minutes late and sweating like a pig) (just in case you were wondering about how to lure other mothers into having adult conversations with you – the answer is not, you know: BE STINKY).  And to the market.  And to the post office.  And to the park.

And I began to time my daily walks to coincide with mail deliveries in our neighborhood.  That way I could pounce on unsuspecting stay-at-home mothers who were picking up their mail.  YES, I AM SERIOUS.  I mean, I love Charlotte and I honestly believe that she is lovely company, but guess what?  I need more conversation than “and now Momma is spreading peanut butter on her toast!”

Not much more.  But more.

But this week, as I was driving around completely and pathetically lost, I realized that something was different.  And by “something,” I mean that there was silence in the backseat.

Silence.

Pure.  Blissful.  Unending silence.

Most of the time, I find this whole growing business to be bittersweet.  Most of the time, I take the new developments with a smile even while I mourn that Charlotte’s babyhood is melting away.  But I like my brain matter between my ears, so today?  With regards to the car-seat?  I feel no shame, no guilt in admitting that I was thrilled.

Grow, sweet child.  Grow.

*** Check it out, I’m a maven.  A superhero and a maven.  Can’t beat that.


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  1. By Alicia on March 29, 2010

    LOL, Jude went through the SAME thing! My theory: They start to hate the car seat when they’re learning to really move around. They just figured out that ‘hey, I can get what I want, when I want it by moving these lanky things attached to my torso”. Then, here comes mom and dad with this torture device that keeps them in one place. They can SEE the things they want, but can’t get to them! and mom and dad? They’re hidding behind the torture device not helping one bit!

    And then… eventually they realize it’s only temporary.

  2. By on March 29, 2010

    You’ve got to be kidding me—They grow OUT of this??! Oh my goodness, I’ve stopped driving too. For Months. After a fateful drive home from the grocery story, during rush hour in the rain—when I couldn’t even make it to the side of the road to stop the car and comfort him—I swore off the car unless absolutely necessary. Which is maybe once every week or two, during which he screams his head off. And I feel awful, but a part of me also feels that a little bit of driving is necessary or he’ll never become accustomed to being strapped in the back seat. He’s 7 months now, a little younger than Charlotte, and I’m going to take your story as a ray of hope. Congrats on the return of your mobility! (Although walking everywhere is great too, minus the stinky part).

  3. By gretchen from lifenut on March 29, 2010

    It’s nice when the lightbulb flickers on. It’s a sign she realizes you are still there, it’s not forever, and hey! She can just suck on her toes for 10 minutes.

    And just when I think she can’t get any more cute…eek. How does she do it?

  4. By Heidi on March 29, 2010

    Ha!  Yes, I am with you on this one.  No shrieking is a GOOD thing. 

    (We have that same dog Charlotte is holding…isn’t is just so cozy?!)

  5. By Cynthia Krajcarski on March 29, 2010

    I checked out your interview as a Maven… And I have to say, I would let you photograph my L & D.

  6. By Jessica Johnston on March 29, 2010

    maybe she was crying because her straps are waaaaay too lose :) I’m kind of a stickler for kids being in carseats correctly (ask my friends…or atleast they used to be my friends…). Ignore this comment if you simply loosened the straps when you were home because she was napping - but if you drove like this - here are 2 rules to always follow: chest buckle should be at ARMPIT height (which is higher than it looks) - and you shouldn’t be able to pinch any slack on the straps when it’s tight enough. Pinch above the chest clip.
    Keep that sweet baby safe!! Glad she stopped screaming :)

  7. By Kate on March 29, 2010

    I so get this!

    Annika screamed every single time I put her in her carseat for several months. The screaming would subside once the vehicle was in motion, but the process of leaving anywhere with her was pretty awful.

    Putting her in the seat was literally the last thing I did before stepping out the door, so that I could subject myself and everyone in a five-mile radius to the screams for as short a time as possible.

    Then awhile ago, I found myself at the swimming pool without Annika’s soother. This meant I had managed to get my daughter into her carseat WITHOUT. HER. SOOTHER! And she hadn’t screamed.

    This was unbelievable to me. I may have done a little victory dance right there on the spot.

    It’s the small things, ya know?

  8. By Sarah Christensen on March 29, 2010

    Jessica - Don’t worry, my husband is a stickler for car-seat safety too.  I make sure the straps are tightly and securely fastened each and every time we take a spin; but as soon as we got home, I wanted to take a photograph as evidence that she’d fallen asleep.  I loosened the straps so that when she woke up, she could stretch and wouldn’t be too angry to find that she was still in the car-seat!

  9. By Nicole on March 29, 2010

    I read your Monday’s Maven and had to check out your blog. Love your photos and your writing.  If you’re ever in Utah, you are welcome to photo my labor and delivery!

  10. By Alicia on March 29, 2010

    I’d say to check out a local birth center… I bet you could find ooddles of women who would want you to photograph their l and d.

  11. By Megan R. on March 29, 2010

    Love your interview on Monday’s Maven…good luck with the possible future career!  Sounds amazing if you ask me!

  12. By Mary @ Parenthood on March 29, 2010

    Elizabeth hated the car seat too, which made the two long car trips we made rather interesting (ever shake a rattle for more than an hour at a time?  My poor arms!)  Then, when she was just shy of a year we switched out of the infant seat and she stopped shrieking on the short trips.  I even did a long trip with her all by myself in which there was some crying but not the kind of shrieking that made me want to ignore safety regulations and cuddle her while we drove.

  13. By Stephanie on March 29, 2010

    Is that sweet girl still in her infant car seat? My little monkey is 4.5 months and is VERY close to outgrowing it already. YIKES!!!

  14. By Sarah Christensen on March 29, 2010

    Stephanie - When Charlotte was about 5-6 months, I thought the same thing, but so far, so good.  We bought the Chicco KeyFit 30 for two reasons - a) safety ratings for our car, and b) it’s good and long.  We knew that any baby of Donald’s (who was never shorter than a teacher again after the third grade) could feasibly be enormous, so we it was important to us that the car-seat we put her in could accomodate a long baby.

    That said, we also have a Britax Marathon that we’ll be moving her into soon.  She’s a fraction of an inch away from the recommended size limits for the KeyFit 30, so in two or three weeks, we’ll have to change things up.  We’ll still have her rear-facing, though.  My goal is to keep her rear-facing until she’s 15 months if we can.  We’ve only used the Britax once and her feet seemed a bit squashed, but I figure squashed feet are a fair price for a safe baby!

  15. By on March 29, 2010

    Love your blog, love the pictures. Thought I’d share another one you might like:

    http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/

  16. By tracey on March 29, 2010

    YAY for good changes like that! Driving around with a screaming kid is never safe…

  17. By Janelle on March 29, 2010

    We went through the exact same thing - I definitely stopped driving anywhere unnecessary and we even turned down very fun-sounding vacations because we couldn’t handle the screaming.  And then…it just stopped.  I’m with you - a milestone that I can happily embrace!

  18. By Zoe @ Playing by the book on March 30, 2010

    Wow! Thanks so much for stopping by Playing by the book and entering the giveaway with such a lovely looking book recommendation! I shall certainly look out for it. And… wow again, 20 minutes reading your blog and I’ve smiled and giggled rather a lot for a Tuesday lunchtime - you write brilliantly, and your photos are amazing (I particularly like the one of Charlotte crawling under the chair!)

  19. By Elizabeth on March 30, 2010

    *sigh* I love sleeping babies.  Those pictures are precious!

  20. By Sara Plays House on April 01, 2010

    Coldplay always made Avery stop crying.  I think for Zoe it was Regina Spektor, but honestly I forget.  It sucks to be the second child.
    Anyway!  You gotta find yourself a playgroup.  Makes a world of difference if you can find the right one.


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