I still remember Sophia's first ride home from church just over two years ago, and not for the happy times, but because it was one of the worst hours of my life EVER. Probably of hers, too, if she had memories of infanthood!
I nursed Sophia at church, and then we headed home, having decided to take the highway and then back roads, the shortest route home. No more than 35 minutes at the most . . . and of course I climbed in the back with her, because you can't leave such an itsy bitsy widdle baby in the backseat by themselves!
Two minutes into the ride Sophia was screaming. Not crying, no this was all out you-are-killing-me bloody murder screaming. Little did we know that we would be hearing those cries for the next few months every time we drove anywhere . . .
I tried the pinkie in the mouth, feeding her from the bottle (because of course I had brought my hand pump and a bottle with me in case the little Peanut was hungry during the ride!), making soothing sshhhhh noises, rocking the carseat side-to-side, and anything else I could think of.
In the midst of this chaos I looked up and saw that John had just driven by our exit, which meant our journey would be extended by another 20 minutes. Now we had a mama AND baby meltdown going on!
When we finally got off the next exit, turned around, drove back to our exit, and got off, I told John to pull over at the gas station so we could figure out what was wrong.
I got Sophia out of her seat . . . she kept crying. She was rooting around, looking like she was still hungry, so we went over to the picnic table and sat down so I could feed her. Sophia ate for a few minutes, and then . . .
On me, dripping off onto the ground, covering Sophia's face and clothes, it was everywhere. Sophia was never one to spit-up. She went right past spit-up and on to vomit everytime. Multiple times a day. But this was one of the first times, and I was completely shocked at the volume that could come out of that tiny baby.
So now she was screaming because she was covered in puke, tired, and of course hungry again. Fortunately, as first time parents we had about 17 clothing changes in the diaper bag, accounting for every weather variation from Sahara heat to the tundra. John and I (at that point it still took two of us to change her diaper/clothes) got the little terror changed, from diaper on out, and then I settled down to feed her yet again.
I had fed her at church, pumped and fed in the car, and then fed her again at the gas station, prior to the "Puke Heard Around the World."
The well was dry.
So now we had a clean, tired, hungry screamer on our hands. And nothing to feed her. No choice but to load up in the car again and head for home, where there was a stash of pumped milk in the freezer.
Longest 25 minutes EVER! Sophia and I were of course in the back together, me smelling of regurgitated breastmilk and attempting all of the soothing methods I could imagine, her screaming her lungs out and turning ever-more purple. Poor John was of course in the front, cursing himself for missing the exit in the first place and trying to balance getting us home quickly with not getting a ticket. Although in retrospect I think any cop that got an earful of Sophia would have given us a police escort home, or at the very least not given us a ticket.
Fast-forward to today . . .
Since Sophia was a baby we have gone from a Toyota Corolla to a Ford Focus wagon (Mommobile!), and the two kiddos sit in the back (of course), Sophia facing forward, Jude facing back. Next step is a minivan, but we aren't there yet.
Today was our first day back at church since Jude's birth. Previous journeys have maxed out at about 10 minutes, to Grammy's house. We had a pretty uneventful ride to church, during which Jude mostly slept. The ride home was a very different story.
And here is where you see the difference between kid #1 and #2. #2 is no less loved, but this post-partum mama is not going to fit between two carseats on a bench seat, people. We are also not going to pull over unless there is something physically wrong; this time around it's all about getting home quickly.
So when Jude started to cry five minutes into the ride home, we pretty much ignored it. How much soothing can you do from the front seat? None.
But maybe he was cold . . . I unbuckled to make sure his blanket was in place, yup, all set.
Another five minutes of crying and John commented that Jude sounded like some sort of cartoon, because you shouldn't be able to cry like that and still manage to breathe at all.
Five more minutes and John asked me if I thought Jude was going to have a stroke. I said no.
Another five minutes and John asked if I thought Jude was ok. I replied that some people thought it was healthy for babies to cry for a certain amount of time each day . . .
Then added "Anyway, if he makes himself pass out at least he'll stop crying and catch his breath."
And THAT, my friends, is the difference between parenting #1 and #2.