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The monumental task of getting out of the door

August 06, 2014 The Wine Time Dad 0 Comments Category :

Getting out the door everyday is something I've made a part of my daily routine since my daughter was old enough to survive the elements. Sometimes, when I have entered the zone (like being in the zone during an athletic event but for parents), I get outside more than once, thus maximizing my daughter's interaction with the world beyond the apartment and minimizing my having to take her to story time at the library or, the cosmos forbid, some kind of sing-a-long.

Once we've woken up, I immediately begin thinking of getting out the door. After breakfast is done, the baby more or less fed, dressed and I've vacated my bowels, it's time to groove. Thus, the process of getting all the minimally required items for a toddler for the next 2-3 hours begins. There is no particular order to the things I compile before we run out the door, but there is a rudimentary checklist I go through from eyes begrudgingly open to strolling down the street:

  1. wake up (usually easier said than done)
  2. COFFEE!!!
  3. make a bottle
  4. make breakfast (depending on the day and my mood this can be an all morning process- for which my progeny should be grateful because the longer I spend on breakfast the more diverse her eating experience is)
  5. eat breakfast (can take her anywhere from 10 minutes or 45- takes me 4-5 minutes)
  6. stretch 
  7. finish coffee
  8. bowel deposit (very important before you venture outdoors as you don't want to be running down the street with a screaming baby while holding your buttcheeks together)
  9. get dressed
  10. change her diaper
  11. take her pajamas off
  12. put fresh clothes on her (yes, they are two separate things)
  13. give her a snack (by this point it can be up to an hour between #1 and now)
  14. sunblock (I skip this if it's really cloudy because I'm lazy but I usually bring some with me. If I don't, then park time is really short)
  15. shoes
  16. put her in the stroller
  17. Shit! Take her out of the stroller because snacks and food haven 't been compiled into her travel cooler. Can't leave her in there to scream!
  18. change her diaper again
  19. make a bottle and pack some other food stuffs
  20. put her back in the stroller and go,

but after #4 it comes in no particular order. Fifteen months into this stay-at-home gig and I still forget little bits and pieces, here and there, which ends up with me audibly verbalizing what "I fucking forgot to pack the..."

You may be wondering why I've listed so many things. Well, the truth is I haven't listed them all. Sometimes we play with various toys, broken electronics, an unplugged power strip and empty boxes for a half hour or more. Sometimes I tweak the list. And, sometimes I just chase her around while she screams and laughs waiting for me to catch her. I try to just feel the mornings out, you know. However, I do list as many things above because there is a long process of getting out the door and it can take [me] 20-45 minutes from start to finish. Depending on how calm my mind is that morning and whether or not she surprises me with a diaper destroying dump right before we leave, I can manage 20 minutes. There are those nightmare mornings where it seems like we're getting ready for hours, though.

Now, I need to clarify that 'in time' may be an inaccurate way to describe my schedule as I don't often have anywhere particular place to be or time to be there, but my desire for an exit comes on strong after breakfast, so I'm itching to get out the door. Once my daughter gets wind of what I'm trying to do, she also becomes antsy. This never makes the process any easier. With each toy, pillow, shoe, box, or baby gate I kick out of my way while rushing around the apartment, she follows me around and does the same thing. But, she has this annoying habit of not really following me around but anticipating where I'm going, then getting infront of me and slowing down so that I trip over her. Especially when I'm trying to get through a doorway. Because of the state of our apartment after playtime, me tripping over her means I stumble through an obstacle course of dangerous or breakable toys.

I probably shouldn't even start on her new found joy of throwing a tantrum, which is still barely cute at this stage.

Ah, just thinking of the tantrum now, during the sweet repose of her nap time, increases my curmudgeon factor many fold.

Upon occasion, at least a couple times a week, I find that I do have to be somewhere like meeting my wife for lunch, of which I do rarely but need to make more a habit, picking up a CSA, going to the doctor (fuckity-fuck), going to the post office (if I were more organized this would be a less painful experience) or going to pick up something for myself (almost never happens). It's on days like these that my daughter seems to have an uncanny sense of our absolute necessity to leave, so she makes it harder to get out the door. Not because she doesn't want to go outside but probably because she senses my urgency brought on by the diminishing time gap until her official nap time. Baby's can be insufferable once they've hit their crabby threshold. During these mad rushes is when I've had to clean up the most spectacular dumps, pukes, put up with an uncooperative toddler or put the most stuff together for our excursion (I used to over pack for these excursions constantly, but like all survivors I've learned to streamline).

Like the other day when, in a rare fit of wanting to do something nice for my wife, I decided to bring her the lunch that she sweetly suggested I bring. Poor woman had lost her lunch on the way to work, so, hey I can help a wife out. Anyways, just like any other day, I started going through my mundane checklist when we hit a snag at #4. I didn't have any trouble eating breakfast but my daughter kept shaking her head at the cheese, eggs and spinach I gave her. Never would I have thought that she wouldn't eat this particular concoction as it has always succeeded where others failed. I didn't give it too much thought and quickly whipped up a fruit and oatmeal mixture (with some other ingredients), another staple of hers, but this one got tossed off her tray with a smiley, "Uh oh!"

Fine. Fuck it. I'll eat it. I put the eggs in the fridge and gave her a bottle. Needless to say, she didn't drink all of it, so I shrugged it off and continued on with the checklist. I thought that maybe she'd be ready to eat right before we left or maybe I could trick her into eating one of those puréed fruit/ vegetable pouches.

After another 45 minutes or so, it was now after 12 o'clock and I hadn't successfully fed my daughter. My wife suggested I give her some PB&J. She ate half- what a wonderful "sorta" success. I grabbed the clothes I'd selected almost an hour ago whipped off her pajamas and... Saw the root of the problem all morning! She had left a present for me in her diaper, which had started seeping out the back and had made a nice stain on her pajama bottoms. How had I not noticed that earlier? I don't know.. The smell of baby poop is quite common these days but it doesn't usually indicate that- I thought it would be a little bit of the usual.

I'll spare you the details.

After about 12 wet-wipes, some new clothes and a whole lotta expletives under the breath, we finally got out the door. No later than five minutes before I said I would try to meet my wife.

Now, why did I bring this up? Why waste your precious time talking about a mundane topic, punctuated with a "meh" kind of anecdote? Well, because I imagine most parents can sympathize with me and agree that getting out the door never becomes a quick and easy thing. Maybe it's because this particular day stuck with me and I started to think back on a year+ daily experience that is unique to parents. Maybe I should stop thinking about getting out the door as some ordeal when it really isn't. Maybe a change of perception would change my whole reality and I would no longer be confronted with this sometimes monumental task every morning. Maybe, maybe.

I'm telling you about this because it's all those things. But, first and foremost, this experience made me think back on how my time and effort I've put into making sure we have some sort of outside adventure several times a week. I needed, to, you know, talk about it or something.

Anyways, I'm not foolish enough to wonder if you ever regain time while trying to get out the door. I know from first-hand observation that the older toddlers get the longer it can take them to do anything. I expect I will be rushing out the door for plenty of years to come, until my daughter moves out and I no longer have anywhere important to be or a time to be there.

Which reminds me...

You know... There was this one time I woke around 8 with my daughter (another rare occurrence) and I walked into the kitchen and saw that there were no coffee filters. Without breaking a sweat, I bypassed nearly the entire checklist, except for the bottle and ran over to Safeway. Didn't even change my daughter out of her pajamas or her diaper. Yeah, I remember that day... From the time I woke up till the time I walked out the door, 10 or 12 minutes had passed. Man, I used to fly from the bed to the front door like that all the time. And, with a cup of coffee...

The audible scream of "NOOOOO" that would've have happened had there not been a supermarket or coffee shop near by never had to happen that day and we had a whole morning ahead of us. A shame we didn't have a change of clothes, diapers, shoes, a swim suit, sunblock, food and water with us- we could've conquered the world.