With July 4th in just a few days, it is important for mothers of little babies to remember a few things. The first is that fireworks, though a lovely celebration of our nation, are not exactly baby-friendly.
First of all, they are displayed after bedtime. Secondly, they are VERY LOUD.
I love fireworks so I hate to be all Debbie Downer about it, but even if you make the decision to keep your baby home, there is still a very good chance she will hear them, if the fireworks show happens to be nearby.
If you've got a heavy sleeper, you're probably fine. But if you've got a baby that wakes up at the sound of a feather falling to the ground (like I do), you're in trouble.
Take last weekend, when we were staying over my mother's. Someone decided to start their fireworks celebration early. I finally FINALLY got Harlow to fall sleep in the Pack 'n Play and then *BAM*, a firecracker went off. Harlow's eyes popped open like I had personally shouted "WAKE UP!!!!" directly in her ear.
I didn't realize one fire cracker would soon erupt into a whole show and foolishly got her to go back to sleep. Two minutes later *BAM BAM BAM*, the main event had begun, and Harlow was as close to sleep as Al Pacino in that movie shot in Northern Iceland… what was it called? Oh, yes– INSOMNIA.
The other July 4th event that you might want to think twice about is attending a picnic.
But a picnic sounds like a lovely family-friendly event!
Yes I know, but do you have a child who is newly mobile? Then NOT SO MUCH!
I took Harlow to a picnic at Bryant Park thrown by my friend Susan (maker of the adorable Freshly Picked moccasins Harlow is always sporting). I thought, oh, won't it be nice for Harlow to crawl around on the blanket! Not taking into account that picnic blankets are usually strewn with things like plates of potato salad, full drinks balanced precariously and other people's belongings which they probably don't want in your baby's mouth.
FYI- that's like putting a Biggest Loser contestant in a room full of cupcakes and cheese fries and asking them to stick to their diet. Only the Biggest Loser contestant doesn't speak English and has no idea he's even on the show.
As soon as I placed Harlow on the blanket, she knocked over someone's water bottle onto their sandwich. As I went to clean up the mess, she beelined for a plate of pastrami. The girl won't even entertain mashed banana but she'll put a handful of someone else's cured meat directly down her throat.
After shoving my fingers into her mouth and making sure I had cleared it of all things cold cut, I turned my head to look for a garbage can. In that half a second, Harlow had crawled off the blanket and was shoving fistfuls of grass in her mouth.
I dropped the wad of gummed pastrami on the blanket, next to the water-soaked sandwich, grabbed my child, and removed the grass from her hands and mouth.
OKAY. I have prepared for this.
I took toys out of the diaper bag, placed them on a food-free part of the blanket and sat the baby down. Baby immediately thinks, "Oh, these toys again? I've seen them at home a billion times! What's that over there? Oooooooh… a shiny shoe with gum on the bottom! I bet that tastes FANTASTIC!"
I took the shoe out of Harlow's mouth, apologized to the owner, turned Harlow towards the toys again. Harlow flips over to other side, crawls towards someone else's bowl of grapes. YAY FOR CHOCKING HAZARDS!
Quickly, I realized I was going to have to hold Harlow the entire time. Can I balance a baby and a plate of food for myself?
I go over to the food with Harlow balanced on my hip. Pick out a turkey sandwich. Harlow swats at sandwich, attempts to make it her own. I hold sandwich tighter, determined to take a bite. Harlow uses her legs to crawl up the side of my body, now almost perched on my shoulder and proving impossible to hang onto with one arm. In an instant, I am forced to choose between my baby and my sandwich. I choose baby. Turkey sandwich hits the ground.
It was at this point, I decided eating was not in the cards for me.
Which meant both eating and sitting were out.
AT A PICNIC.
Had I brought my stroller, I probably could have gotten away with her sitting out the afternoon in there. But all I had with me was a baby carrier. So, I stood around with Harlow in the carrier, waited until she fell asleep and then ate a sandwich over her head, while standing up.
Not exactly the most relaxing of afternoons.
Thankfully, I hadn't brought Mazzy to the picnic or else I'd be doing all of this while also chasing a three-year-old around the park.
Unless I put Mazzy on Harlow duty.
She is getting VERY GOOD at ripping things out of Harlow's hands.