When nature attacks

As a new parent, I worry a lot. Usually I worry that Eleanor is hungry or cold or has been sleeping too long. (Yes, I want her to sleep, but when she sleeps for long stretches I find myself checking to see that she’s still breathing.) And I’m fortunate to be a parent in modern society, where I don’t have to worry that Eleanor will starve or be eaten by wolves. Aside from making sure that Eleanor was protected from the sun, I hadn’t thought that I needed to fear nature.

Last week, Eleanor I and met up with a friend and her baby. The temperature topped 90 degrees, but we sat in the shade. No problem. Until we returned to the car. The plastic and metal portions of the car seat had become so hot that I could barely touch them. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to buckle in Eleanor – and that she would get burned if I did. I managed to get her buckled, and we survived, but Greg and I are now trying to figure out how we’re going to survive the coming summer.

Today, Eleanor and I went out again. I had no problems with the car seat because it was cloudy. But as I went to close the stroller, a bee landed in the seat. Great. I’m afraid of bees, so I wasn’t about to swat it away. I considered my options. I could ignore the bee and close the stroller anyway, but I knew that would cause even more problems. Either the bee would get smashed into the seat, or I would have a very angry bee in my trunk. I stood there another minute. A woman parked behind me had returned to her van and was smirking in my direction. I’m sure she thought that I didn’t know how to close the stroller. I would show her. I would close this darn stroller! But what could I do about the bee?

It finally did leave, though not soon enough for me to show that woman. And as it flew off, I said a silent “thank you” because I realized I had left the car door open, and it could have easily flown in there. That would have required an emergency call to Greg, I think. These parenting books I’ve read really aren’t addressing the big issues.

(Editor’s note: After reading this, Greg said: “You know, Eleanor’s tush is pretty well cushioned.” What a caring dad.)