Thursday, February 26, 2004

One False Move and the Baby Gets It

So...I was out the other day and as a surprise El Chico put together the crib for me. Well, it's not really a crib but a kind of bassinet/crib thing called a co-sleeper.

As he tells it, he went searching for the screwdrivers, hammers, what-not and didn't need them. The instructions would have been very short but for one thing--with each stage there was a warning that basically says: Put this together wrong and your baby will die. So insert plastic pole into hole. If you fail to completely insert the crib will collapse, your baby will become trapped underneath. If you do not throw out the plastic covering the crib the baby will smother.

Ah, parenthood. Now we get to live in terror. All the time. The world is so full of dangers. And lawsuits. So even if there was a danger you might have missed someone will remind you of it to cover their ass from liability...If you ever thought your child might enjoy swinging from towel racks maybe you need these warnings. If you want your child to swim, play on the playground, ride a bike, play sports, it might be good for you to know that just about every childhood activity is accompanied by great danger.

But don't let that scare you.

Of course, I didn't realize my baby's life depending on my husband's engineering skills. I was so thrilled when I came home to see the crib sitting there in the living room. Usually, when we have a difficult home improvement job we call our friend E and he does it for us. E is this big strapping fellow very at home with power tools and on the basketball court and who bench presses many, many pounds and as such maybe not such a great guy to rave about to your husband. I think perhaps I may have done that at some point--I don't remember but I only speculate I did due the frequent eye rolling and snorting El Chico engages in when I say E's name too many times. So when I first saw the crib he claimed that E came over and helped him with it. But I knew he was lying...after a little while.

We've had it around and whenever we pass it we pretend that we are heavy babies and rest our hands on it...We imagine the dangers that might come with the crib. We look at it wonderingly thinking both about our beautiful child that will lay within it and what horrific thing could possibly go wrong from its use. I'm pretty sure we are safe but this is the problem with all these dangers--they are almost invisible to the naked eye.

There are some other downsides to parenthood...I offer the following conversation as an illustration:

--So...what are you going to do to me if I'm a bad, bad girl?
--I'm going to give you a time out.


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