Yesterday was Birdy’s first day at her new, Plan A daycare. We packed up all of her daycare stuff into her daycare bag and went to the center as a family, introduced ourselves, chit-chatted the staff, played a little bit to get Birdy settled, wrote a staggeringly large check, and slipped out the door without incident. Big girl in her big girl jeans, playing with other kids. Not sitting in an exersaucer by herself, screaming as I walk out the door. Relief.
More things I will not miss about life with the former daycare provider:
1.Location at the end of a long, residential, dead-end street (on the other side of the world) that requires driving through a very strict school zone, patrolled by the city’s most thorough and most totally insane crossing guards.The pointing “youp!” lady has decided to engage in personal conversations with the street crossers this school year, so you can be assured a long wait in front of the clusterf*ck of minivans and suburbans trying to get in and out of a one-way circle drive emptying onto a narrow residential street. It is convenient and pleasant for everyone. The crazy old man is still disheveled and crazy, and he always seems to be messing with his cones, like he can’t get them placed just right.
2.The unavoidable 2 square blocks of dead cell phone service near the daycare. The long-ass daycare drive home in rushour is one thing I will miss only because I tried to catch up on my phone calls during that time. In fact, it’s the only time I ever called people back to do my “catching up” calls. And I always managed to dial about one block before the dead spot, said hello, and lost the call. I’m sure, if you are someone I speak to on the phone, that you are also not going to miss me calling you only to hang up on you right away.
3.The squirrel-eating accent of the daycare staff. They called her “Missy Clara”* but it came out like “Meesey Cluurey,” in an old-lady witchy voice, which made me almost come unglued.
4.The daycare staff telling me how Birdy always “waves funny,” despite my telling them about 750,000 times that she’s doing the sign for milk.* And now that we’re gone, no more temptation to teach her the sign for “fuck you guys.”
5.The one thing I will miss is $25 per week in my checkbook that we’ll pay extra at the new place. But it will be so totally worth it. When we dropped Birdy off the room was calm, the teachers could all physically walk/ bend over and pick up babies (an improvement over Plan B Daycare), and I think they all had a full set of teeth, in the front anyway. Again, relief.
So, I went to Wal Mart today. (shudder.)
Officer McSweatington recommended that I buy some kind of barrier to separate the back/ cargo end of the Beast from the passenger area, so that when an SUV bigger than mine (possible?) slams into the back end of the Beast, the stroller and emergency kit and jug of windshield washer fluid and all of my shoes don’t come flying straight at Birdy’s small noggin at 65 miles an hour.*
I went to AutoZone and asked the guy with the dirt-stache. (You know the dirt-stache? Probably made of hair but from a distance it just looks like dirty upper lip? Also known as third-senior-year-of-high-school-stache.) if he had the kind of barrier recommended by Officer McSweatington. He looked confused. “Like a cop car.” I say. Now he gets it, but no, they don’t have anything like that for me at the Auto Zone. And then he says, “But I know for a fact they have them down at the Wal-Mart’s.”* Did you hear that? He knows FOR A FACT! How do I get to the Wal-Mart’s? It’s far? I don’t care! How do I get there? They have the thing, for a fact!”
Okay, I hate the Wal-Marts. Plural, all of them. But secretly, I was a little excited at the prospect of finding great deals on stuff. What stuff? I don’t know, but it’s going to be cheap.
And guess what Wal-Mart’s doesn’t have, for a fact? The damn barrier I’m looking for. I walked six miles from my car to the door and then another four back to the automotive section, and they don’t have it. And golly, this guy sure doesn’t know, for a fact, who would have it. And the Wal-Mart’s sugar-bargain-coating rapidly melted away, and I found myself standing 10 miles away from my car and a million miles away from my office, under the harshest fluorescent lights with a squeaky-wheeled cart and no hope of completing my mission. And a gauntlet of aisles and endcaps and redneck children to pass through before I could be released. And my most valuable moment of clarity was the realization that the best bargain is walking away from the Wal-Mart’s without a cart full of plastic bullshit. I did buy a $6 trash can on my way out, but that’s all they’ll get from me.*
I am being serious when I say that entire redneck colonies spring up around Wal-Marts across the mid-south and probably nation wide. Like moths to a flame. In fact, the moths probably say, “Like Rednecks to a Wal-Mart’s.”
Please Enjoy the Many Footnotes, AKA Mama Snee’s Unsolicited Parenting Advice Corner:
* Yes, that’s Bird’s real name. Did you think her real name was Bird? It’s Clara.
*I know baby signs can seem a little on the crazy mompetetive side of parenting, right there with infant foreign language lessons and super-intellectual subliminal play therapy and other accelerated-baby hoo-haa. And I know that when you’re frantically squeezing your fist open and closed and saying “milk! milk!” over and over while your eyes do that crazy-cartoon twirly thing, and your baby just stares at you and blinks, you question the value of such efforts. But let me tell you, if you are the parent of an infant or a soon-to-be parent, do the signs and stick with it. Those spongy babies are absorbing everything you do, and there will come a day of signing explosion, much like what we are experiencing with Birdy. She can talk to us. She doesn’t cry when she wants milk or food, she just does the sign. Same with “more” and “all done.” Don’t go out and buy a book or take a class– If you’ve housebroken a dog, you can do this. Just go to a baby sign website (this is not the only one, just the first one I found) and figure out which signs you want to start with, and just do the sign when you say the word or do whatever it is you’re describing. It worked with Bird even though her 8-5 caregivers couldn’t grasp the concept and A. and I were the only people in Birdy’s life flying the Sign Language flag. Do yourself and your baby a favor and do some signs around the house. Go. Do it.
*I live in the south, y’all. There are two accents here: The lilting drawl (20% of population), and the squirrel-eating redneck (80%). People say Wal-Mart’s. I know, it’s fucked up, but they cannot be dissuaded.
*Wait– did I not tell you about that? Birdy has outgrown her little bucket-style car seat and has graduated to a giant seat-type structure. I had some misgivings about our home installation of the seat, so I rolled on down to the police station, where Officer Sweaty McSweatington helped me install it correctly. And told me about the flying objects, of which I’m ashamed to admit I was already aware thanks to the constant reminders from a friend, but had not yet addressed. Again, if you are a parent or soon-to-be parent, I highly recommend that you visit Officer Sweaty McSweatington (although if you go in cooler months, you might just meet up with Officer Very Serious), because I don’t care how smart or mechanically inclined you think you are, you have that damn thing installed the wrong way. Maybe not the Britney-Spears-are-you-serious-with-that-forward-facing-thing wrong way, but I’ll let Officer McSweatington tell you which end is up.
*I needed the trash can to replace the Diaper Genie. If you are a new parent or especially a parent-to-be, do not waste your money on the Diaper Genie. Just spend six bucks on a trash can with a foot-pedal lid. Fortunately, taytyme spared us the Diaper Genie expense, hooking us up in a bar parking lot with his boss, who happened to have a Diaper Genie in his trunk that he was looking to get rid of, and now I understand why. By comparison, the $6 trash can is cheap, takes regular, non-bank-breaking bags, requires only one hand to operate when you have a squirmy baby on a table, and does not require clearing the area, a pair of scissors, an extra trash bag, and 20 minutes to change the liner. Stick with the lidded trash can, even if you do buy it at Wal-Mart’s.