When Emilia was born… 13 days ago… my husband took a week off work to help get us situated and enjoy some family time. It was great! He normally commutes an hour each way to work, so our time together is fairly limited during the week.
Every now and then, these ideas of a perfect family outing pop in my head. They always seem like amazing ideas at the time. I imagine them as beautiful family experiences, I get excited, and then they turn out to be my worst fucking nightmare. This phenomenon happens because I subconsciously choose to forget major details of our current situation (like newborn baby, heat wave, stressed/sleep deprived parents.)
I wanted our first family outing to be St. Jacobs Farmers Market. Evelyn could see the animals, get some fresh air, delicious farmers breakfast, and apple fritters. I had a vision of Evelyn learning about the chickens, ponies and cows; baby would sleep, and we would get the best breakfast I’ve ever had. Cam and I would have fun watching all this go down and I’d use my new camera to get some great family photos. Sounds like a fucking unicorn experience, doesn’t it?
So. The morning started, reminder: with a new baby (4 days old) and a 14-month-old who is adjusting and teething; it took awhile to get out the door. Normally for the market, it’s an 8 am affair; so, at 10:30 am we took off. I was fucking smitten. I packed the diaper bag with everything I could possibly think of. Diapers, waters/sippy cup, bottle for Evelyn, breastfeeding cover, extra clothes, hats, camera, wallet, the whole enchilada… so I thought.
As the McDougall Entourage rolled down the Express Way, I started to get an anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach. I started to see this beautiful, bright-coloured illustrated day turn a red and grey. Panic and misery started to creep into my head. I was tired, it was hot out and I realized 10:30 am is a shit time to go to the market; it’ll be busy. We stopped and grabbed a coffee to relieve one obstacle we faced: ‘Sleep-Deprived Parents’.
We pulled up to the market. It’s packed like a fucking U2 concert. There were people everywhere… it’s a TUESDAY! What the hell were all of you doing there!? No one worked that week apparently, everyone was on vacation and 2500 of my closest friends decided the market was where we all needed to be. The McDougall Family pulled up and found a parking spot 235 km away from the front door. On top of it all, if cars had elbows this bitch would have thrown some. Savages! These people were fucking savages, all racing for the front door to get their delicious apple fritters which I had been dreaming about all morning. Everyone in groups of 3s or 10s, wearing massive sun hats, pulling ridiculous market utility carts (as if they’re at the airport), and wearing ugly Crocs. No one was being courteous, everyone was walking in the middle of the road and not giving two shits. Why would they! They were at the market and on vacation! *sigh*
We parked, it was 35 degrees out. I swear in my imaginary perfect day, the forecast was different, I couldn’t even blame the weatherman at this point. We sat for a second and took a deep breath… we got this.. annnd break! We grabbed our coffees and stepped out into the jungle of market-going savages. My husband went for the stroller, I for the diaper bag first.
“Where’s the carrier for the baby?”
“I didn’t bring it, baby can go in the stroller, Evelyn can be carried and walk with us”
“OK, hat for Evelyn?”
“Got it. Here.”
“Fuck. I forgot it.”
Ok…. So, I forgot the sunscreen. Bad move on my part. Only one thing forgotten, not that bad. Right? We can do the inside market and just briefly see the animals outside. It’s crap but it happens.
Evelyn doesn’t mind wearing hats, but of course, on this day she hated her hat and kept pulling it off her head. I had brought the sunhat with the elastic band, not the tie up one which would have forced her head hostage to mommy and daddy. *Another knife twist, adding more anxiety to this day, we weren’t even all out of the car yet.
I pulled the baby car seat out and clicked it into the stroller. While I do this, I noted baby’s head looked uncomfortable. The extra head support I bought… where was it? Oh riiiiight. My husband said she wouldn’t need it, so he had taken it out. She needed it while in the stroller, due to the angle she sits at, I couldn’t get her to stay in a comfortable position. The receiving blanket rolled up would have to do but I’m constantly having to fix it. I was now sweating and pissed. Cam mumbled something snarky under his breath and, like a time bomb, tick tick tick…. Boom. It happened.
“What did you say? Should we just fucking leave? I’m just about ready to. I’m done.” – I said as we are still unloading the car with what felt like useless baby crap. The important things were still sitting in the house.
He rolled his eyes and started walking with our oldest and I followed behind them. We weaved our way through the savages to the live animals. I pushed the stroller with my hip, coffee in one hand and fixing baby’s head with the other. I made a very difficult, yet necessary decision, ditch the coffee…. devastated but it was adding to the annoyance. Kissed it farewell. Garbage it went. I was performing a circus act in the jungle and watched my husband and daughter saunter up ahead.
Cam showed Evelyn the animals, she loved it, and I was secretly crushed 42 km away, unable to be apart of it. My camera at this point was completely out of the question. My stress levels were through the roof, my husband and I were just trying to avoid each other, and I was trying to keep Emilia’s body from turning into a pretzel.
We went inside and there was nothing relevant or interesting to look at. I’m sure there actually was but we were so over this family outing. The apple fritter line was out the door and into the hot sun, we skipped it. Getting heat stroke was not worth it. We decided to get some breakfast, some delicious farmers breakfast.
Baby starts screaming.
She’s hungry and probably annoyed with my fiddling. Where the hell was I going to feed her!? I, again, felt my anxiety levels raise.
I’ve never been one to breastfeed openly in public. I know it shouldn’t be a big deal and times are changing, however, I’ve just never been comfortable with it. I’m proud and impressed with the women who just whip out a boob and feed their babes wherever they want. I’m happy that women are changing how people see breastfeeding. I’m on the sidelines cheering for you as you pave the way, shit I’ll even buy the cement. Nevertheless, participating in paving the path is something I’m working towards; call me the lazy extra employee. With a 14-month-old and newborn, I’m learning it’s something I must get over and quickly.
Cam found a shaded picnic table dead smack in the middle of 90 other picnic tables… which were all full. I sat, he asked what I wanted to eat as I pulled out our screaming 4-day-old.
“I don’t care. Anything. Food.” A ticket out of this hell.
Him and Evelyn left to hunt for food, through the savages, as I swallowed deep and got over myself to breastfeed at the market.
My little 4-day-old peanut stopped crying and I took a deep breath in a way to relax myself.
Get your shit together. You planned this fucking nightmare outing.
Reflection began on how this was the worst idea I’ve come up with… well, since 4 days ago when I refused that epidural. I’m on a role.
My darling other half and Evelyn came back with some delicious breakfast sandwiches. He fed Evelyn, I breastfed using one hand, ate with the other and tried to keep my emotions regulated. Hormones!
Evelyn waved at random people, clapped and laughed (which was adorable and made me smile). Baby was quiet and finally at a place of comfort. Cam and I looked at each other…
“Sorry.”, I said.
“What the fuck were we thinking.”
We started laughing. Finished eating and got the fuck out of there.