You know that expression “Be careful what you wish for, it might come true”? It crossed my mind today that that’s exactly what happened to me.
It was such a relief when Iggson began to sit on his own – the fact that you could put him down anywhere and he would sit there like Jabba the Hutt and smile until you picked him up again. It opened up a whole new world from having to carry that gurgling meatloaf around whatever you were doing. You see, Iggson never settled to be left laying in his basket while things happened outside of it. Two weeks old and already demanding to be an active part of the life around him. It was a lot of fun to have a baby who was so… Present. It was also really tricky because it was not a chance in hell that you could leave him laying somewhere so you could do other things – he had to be carried around so he could study life. Thank the all mighty whoever’s in charge up there for my Tricot-Slen! I wouldn’t have been able to live at all, not to mention how broken my back would have been, if it wasn’t for that baby sling. That way I could carry the child everywhere, live my life close to normal and he would be happy observing movement, lights and noises. I could also do fun and exciting chores like the dishes, laundry and sorting out the wardrobe. It was also heaven sent when I needed to go to the bathroom, I simply brought him along for the ride. I imagined that it would be the same revolutionary feeling when he started to walk, as I had when he could sit and I didn’t have to carry him around. When he started walking… Aaah. Rainbows, flowers and sparkles all around.
Getting ready for the first tour outside the home with Igge in the sling. He’s two weeks old and trying to look out under my armpit
I wouldn’t have to carry him down three flights of stairs along with my purse and a stuffed diaper bag. I wouldn’t have to unlock the pram in the basement, wriggle it out from the storage room, put the child in, who kicking and screaming does not want to be tied down, unlock two doors and wriggle the pram past them to finally get outside.
I wouldn’t have to fight with retired people with walkers in the store about who has the precedence to pass, the rules are the same as they are on the road. We live in a country with traffic on the right side. Therefore, if you come from the right you have the right to pass. Nobody gives precedence to a car because it’s from 1935. A red Jaguar F-type Coupe is allowed to overtake a beige Volvo 240 on its left side. Sounds harsh maybe, but I wasn’t born a snail.
I wouldn’t have to get stuck with other moms-with-prams in elevators. Oh, gee! I wouldn’t have to wait at all for elevators! No more missed trains, no more being polite, waiting for an eternity holding the door for other prams. For people with dogs. For retired snail-people. No more polite-talk in the elevators.
“How old is she?”
“It’s a he. He just turned one.”
“He. Of course, now I see it. It’s hard to tell these days.”
They’re referring to the fact I buy clothes because I like them and because they are Iggson, I don’t think much about which colour they are; black, purple, green, pink… I’ve never understood how that would expose the gender of my child. Anyway, I have been dreaming about how much easier life would be once my child starts walking and I don’t have to pack the pram like we’re going to the Alps for a week when we’re just going out to buy milk at the local mall around the corner. I could see it clearly – how Iggson and I were walking next to each other in a slow pace, chatting away completely incomprehensibly while making our way to the store. No more broken backs, no more struggling to get the harness on (because that’s a must. No harness = the Child would climb out faster than a tire change in Formula One) and no more ghost-rolling pram. You see, Iggson has discovered that even though he’s fastened in the pram, he can still move it by holding on to stationary items and various interior design and pull the whole pram forward. After shopping for milk, which became shopping for dinner, breakfast, five litres of different juices, a few bottles of unnecessary water, a few new pj’s for the Child, a new overall for the Child and some sexy lingerie for the mom which the dad will notice by dropping a funny comment which may or may not be appreciated. Probably ‘may not’.
“That’s a lot of lace, does it have to be dry cleaned?” or “How are you going to get that thing off? It sure has got a lot of buttons.”
All of these bags need to be carried upstairs, along with a stuffed diaper bag which wasn’t even touched on our mission out, my own purse and a chubby baby. An auto moving child would be magic; an auto moving child could walk up the stairs all on his own. Magical.
It wasn’t. This is how reality fell on me like a morbidly obese cheerleader:
I still have to carry him three flights down because he walks down the stairs with his head first, just like he’s seen dogs do it. What changed is that I now have my own purse, a stuffed diaper bag and a baby on my arm who WANTS to walk by himself. So the whole way down to the basement he grabs on to the railing, the windows, the light buttons – anything he sees – so I will let him down so he can “walk” down the stairs himself. Then I have to let him down while I unlock the storage room and wriggle the pram out. Our basement consists of isles. So… Iggson is gone faster than a napkin in a hurricane the second his soles touch the floor. Luckily he loves the sound of his own voice, especially when it echoes, so he’s not very hard to find in those catacombs. It’s a lot harder to get him in the pram, now when he knows how much fun it is to run around in the basement, playing “BO!” all on his own. He’s definitely misunderstood how that game works.
Finally in the pram.
I wriggle it out through the two heavy doors which magically brings us out in the Swedish winter; exactly like walking out through the wardrobe into Narnia, but sadly this time we’re not met by Aslan. One of the reasons I don’t let Iggson walk to the mall is because it’s slippy. Because it’s snow-rain-hail-muddy. Because the roads and sidewalks are overloaded with grit, perfect for a one year old to choke on. Once we get inside the mall I do let him out. He can hold the side of the pram I thought, like I made the babies do when I worked at the preschool. Those one year olds always walked so nicely all the way to the park, holding on to the pram. HA HA HA! Again, as I unbuckle Iggson I see a glimmer in his eyes, a new kind of happiness. He knows he’s being let out. And off he goes. He doesn’t let anything slow him down; neither the clumsy boots nor the hat which has slid down over his eyes. He runs away from me like I’m Godzilla, but not in a straight line – he runs in giant circles. Once I’ve managed to chase him down to take off his hat, coat and gloves he runs up to every dog he sees, squats in front of it and starts telling it about his day. When this is done, he stands up and starts talking to its owner. When he considers the conversation to be over, he moves along to his next victim; a group of young business men having lunch. He walks up to the one with dark hair and glasses, pulls the pant-leg of that one, calls him Dadda and demands to be lifted up. Luckily the busy, young business men never does. With panic in their eyes they’re looking at Iggson like he’s a foreign species and then their eyes desperately wander around the food court in search of some kind of responsible grown up. They won’t find one, but they will find me, trying to keep up with my speeding baby. As I excuse us and remove my son from the company I see the relief land on the shoulders of the businessmen while Iggson giggles “hey hey” and waves good bye to the big boys over my shoulder. We go in to the elevator. Iggson presses all the buttons and the group in the closed, stuffed area sighs simultaneously. After going from the fifth floor to 6, 7, 4, 3, 2, we’re getting off at the first floor where the store is.
Waiting with excitement for the elevator to arrive so he can press all the buttons in it
I’m not shopping with the wildling running around. I tried it once and it’ll be years until I try that again, so after fighting for a while he’s back in the pram, safely locked away. Unless you drive too close to something. If you drive too close to anything he will grab it and pull the bottom one out – That’s since old, as we would say in Swedish.
“You taste it, you buy it”. Unfortunate for mommy.
Done shopping and back to the open space in the mall, a clear open road home. Iggson knows that this is where he’s allowed out and reminds me of that by starting to snake his way out of the harness while pointing his fat finger at his old friends in Taco Bell, who sees him and abandon their table and half drunken beers like they were from the Roanoke colony. I do let him out so he can get some energy out of the system but in the same second I put him on the floor I realise my mistake. I see that he sees the Duplo stand outside the toy store. For a micro second I forgot about it. He takes off with a roar of pure happiness without any consideration to whom or what is in his way, seeing only the Duplo stand.
Igge Iggson is looking for the Duplo stand
Of course I can’t just remove him from it when he’s happy to the bone, tearing apart the castle that another kid has built. Oh, you thought he wanted to build stuff? No, no, he wants to take it all apart and throw it on the floor.
Bringing down the walls
When I finally get him to move from the Duplo we’re almost out the doors. Almost. It’s just five stores on each side of the mall-isle blocking our way. Just five stores on each side which the Child has to zig-zag between so he can natter with the staff and who else is in there. Just five stores on each side that has no way of hindering him from entering. Once we’re back in our building I don’t only have to carry my purse, a stuffed, untouched diaper bag and all the other shopping upstairs. I also have to carry an over dressed, overweight toddler-baby who protests the whole way because he rather walk up the stairs himself. Sometimes I let him. When I have nothing else to carry and about a million hours to spare. He doesn’t just climb up the stairs in a jolly good pace, you see. He climbs up one step, finds a little puddle of water and starts playing with it. Half an hour later he takes another step where he finds a dry leaf which he needs to taste. Once that leaf has been gourmetified and devoured he moves to the next step. Here there’s a little bug also trying to get up the stairs, which needs to be studied. So it goes on, you get the drill.
Going out to buy milk in my earlier life use to take five minutes, tops. When the child was newborn it took twenty minutes. When he started to be able to move it still took about twenty minutes, but preparing him to go out took an hour. Now, when he can walk, it takes slightly over an hour to prepare him to go out. Then it takes at least two hours to get that milk. Oh wait… We’re vegan.
By the way,
happy Valentine’s day!