Baby on board

Now I know why vehicles with passengers under the age of one have the sign ‘Baby on board’ displayed. It’s a courtesy to other drivers so that they can roll their windows up when they pass by and save themselves from being hit on the head with missiles in the shape of mobile phones, rattles and pacifiers (the latter, which I assure you can cause considerable damage if thrown with enough force at a suitable speed). This past weekend, we decided to take our son on his first holiday and road trip. His first and perhaps it would be for the best, if it were his last.
The April Bank Holiday in the UK coincides with Easter and the country celebrates by packing the entire family (grandma and dog included), canoes, bikes and portaloos into their cars, caravans and mobile homes and clogging the motorways in a vain attempt to reach their
desired destination. We don’t have a dog or
canoe to pack, but seeing that this was our first holiday with the baby, I decided in all my infinite wisdom to pack every piece of clothing our son owns, enough food to feed the planet in case of a famine (which was no doubt caused by the fact that I bought all the food on the planet), diapers (because, of course, eating all that food will have consequences) and toys in case of a motorway meltdown. Time was spent deciding which toys were my son’s favourite, which in hindsight I realise was futile because anything from a wooden spoon to an empty crate will tick that box depending on the time, day, baby’s mood and interplanetary alignment. As you can see, one forgets that there are shops en route to one’s destination and indeed at the destination itself. But all rational thinking and logic goes flying out the window and the latent Momzilla within comes creeping out of the sewers.
One would think that a child would appreciate all the time and effort that has gone in to ensuring that he has a comfortable journey. But no. After a nice two-hour nap, our son decided to wake up and repeatedly ask ‘Are we there yet?’ in the only way he knew. By crying loudly. Wailing actually. Interspersed with the odd shriek. Tears that no toy, no pacifier and no amount of food could put an end to.
Pit stops helped the situation for as along as the pit stop actually lasted. The minute the car seat straps were back in place, so was the crying. After three hours like this, it was anything goes. My son was handed a series of objects in
attempts to broker peace, all of which were
returned with equal disdain. Pens (ouch), empty soda cans (double ouch) and even my iPhone (triple ouch) came sailing back at my head with such accuracy that my husband (whose loud rendition of Billy Joel songs only made the situation worse) remarked rather proudly, ‘He might make a great bowler you know’. Silver linings, my ass.

In this week’s Zeitgeist.


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