Day Out With Baby Was Great Until The Bottle


As everyone knows — or at least everyone who was within earshot of my shouting it from the rooftops — my daughter Jennifer had a bouncing baby boy three months ago. I have affectionately named this child Skippy despite the fact that he has a real name, and over Thanksgiving, my husband Mark and I had a whole day with Skippy all to ourselves.

We had one errand to run and, sans baby, this errand would’ve taken, oh, about an hour. But with Skippy in tow, it took four. You parents know what I’m talking about.

First, we had to get him dressed. This is like trying to put a Slinky into a sausage casing. He twists; he turns; he stretches. But society frowns on naked babies being brought into the post office, so I persevered.

Second, we had to get him into his car seat. It’s a good thing the next generation of parents is a generation of rocket scientists because car seats now have the complexity of, minimally, the Saturn V space capsule.

So rather than extricate him again, Mark said he’d stay outside with Skippy while I ran in. Yet by the time I returned, Skippy was out of the car seat and Mark was juggling the baby, a blanket, a pacifier and a giraffe toy all while trying to fill a bottle. There ought to be an award for anyone who can get this done. It would be in the Stand-Up Comedy category, of course.

By the time we got ol’ Skipper back into that monstrosity of a car seat and were back on the road, the bottle had become of paramount importance. I was as happy to give it to him as he was to get it.

But then tragedy struck.

With every suck Skippy took, milk would gush into his mouth and pour down his neck. He would cough and choke, and visions of my daughter excommunicating me would flash before my eyes. I tightened the bottle up and tried again. Cough, choke, burble. And again. Same result. Now Skippy and I were both wailing, and Mark was driving erratically in response. We were quite a sight on the highway.

Finally, despite the frantic kicking and screaming, I took everything apart, and that was when I discovered a gash in the nipple that had severed it almost in two.

“Now how did that happen?” I asked. “Skippy doesn’t even have any teeth!”

Mark remembered finding the bottle in the dog’s bed the night before. He’d put it into the dishwasher, but he certainly hadn’t checked for bite marks.

Needless to say, we sped home, but it was a long way off in Hungry Baby time. So I came up with a great plan whereby I would give Skippy a quick suck on the bottle and rapidly pull it out before he could choke. Then I’d stick in the pacifier while the milk was still in his mouth. And repeat. At one point, the poor confused kid had two nipples in his mouth at once and squinted up at me as if to say, “This just is not right.”

By the time we were able to give Skippy an honest-to-gosh bottle, I wasn’t speaking to that dog. If the he came over wagging, trying to be friends, I’d holler, Don’t you even…!”

That’ll teach him.

As for me, I will be checking the working order of every bottle, car seat, pacifier and giraffe before ever leaving the house. It’s simple self-preservation.