When I first became a parent I had no idea how I was ever going to be on-time again. I was in the Army, and punctuality was a big deal in my life. Prior to Dash coming along, I figured I would spend my time during my maternity leave peacefully cuddling my new bundle and that I’d just avoid going out of the house for a couple of days until I got the hang of things. You know, since it takes a couple of days to master the whole baby thing.
I’ll skip over the frantic first few weeks when I was just completely lost in a haze of sleep deprivation and constantly freezing mid-thought to listen again for a breath because is he breathing? During those days, I barely remember leaving because I was just so upside down. Even once I was slightly better at it, leaving the house was always a toss of the dice, because I found that babies have a special sense that tells them when you need to leave now or be late, and they take those opportunities to spit up all over themselves or audibly fill their diaper as if to say, “You didn’t think we were going yet, did you?”
In those early days, leaving involved an almost embarrassing amount of preparation. I had every item known to man along, but I felt like I was guaranteed to forget something, so I would frantically dig through the diaper bag and check and recheck that everything was where it should be. I was ready if it was sunny, if it was rainy, if it was very windy but somehow still warm. I was ready for everything short of a damned alien invasion. Sure, if anyone looked into the back of my hatchback, it looked like I lived in my car, but that was no big deal. All parents have a trunk space that’s teeming with baby stuff to the point that opening it turns into a crazy dance where you try to open it just so, so that you can get a hand in there to block everything before it falls, right?
And yet with all that packed and ready to go, it seemed like I’d get just out of the garage, or even just down to the end of our street, and have to hurry to run back in because I suddenly realized the bottle was still in the refrigerator, or that my meticulously packed diaper bag was still sitting by the garage door.
I eventually felt like I had getting out of the house under control, just in time to have Ozzie come along and make me feel like I was back to square one, because there was a little team of children tag-teaming the task of making me late, and probably high-fiving behind my back or when I was looking away.
Over a year into the having-two thing, I still find myself either rushing out the door to make it anywhere on time. Of course, anytime I actually manage to leave early due to contingency planning, nothing throws us off, and I just have to sit and twiddle my thumbs in a parking lot, trying to keep my kids from turning into pumpkins while we’re waiting for it to be a reasonable time to go into our destination. So, perpetually early or perpetually late, but never on time. You just can’t win.