Saturday, May 20, 2006

Dear Britney Spears:

So, you're getting a lot of flack for your parenting skills, are you? Well, here's my advice to you: visit a certified carseat technician. Have SP's carseat properly installed, and make sure you use it correctly. It's really not that hard, and he really will be so much safer. Proper carseat use will take a lot of the heat off. As for the rest of the stuff, don't worry about it--it happens to everyone. Babies are slippery and wiggly; people trip all the time; etc. Those things are accidental. Accidents, by their very definition, are uncontrollable. Unfortunately, you're in the limelight, so everybody gets to see and hear about everything you do. Let me tell you a little story about the worst accident ever involving a newborn. Not my newborn, mind you...OK, I'm lying. It was my newborn.

When Eric was two or three months old--not sure exactly, but it was definitely the summer of 2004--Chris and I decided to go for a walk with him. We walked all around the neighborhood with him safely strapped into his carseat, which was snapped into the stroller, like in the picture (of some totally random woman and baby that I found on the internet). We went to rent some movies from Tower Records at Clark and Webster. Then we went across the street to the 7-11, and we got Slurpees. Mmm. Slurpee.

We went to pay for our slurpees, but we didn't have any cash on us, and their credit card reader was broken. There was an ATM in 7-11, but I made Chris run across the street because our bank's ATM was in the Tower building, and I was sick of paying the $5 in fees for taking out $20. I stayed back at 7-11, with Eric and the Slurpees. Damn, those things were cold! Our stroller had a tray with two cup holders, so I set the slurpees in them. Well, actually, I put one of the slurpees in one of the cup holders, but the other cup holder was an odd size that approximately 1% of the world's cup population could fit inside. So, I moved our keys and cell phone to that cup holder and set the other slurpee on the shallow tray between the two cup holders.

It took a few minutes before Chris got back, so I was killing time flipping through magazines or something. Chris came back, paid for the slurpees and then opened the door so I could push the stroller out. Without thinking twice, I steered the stroller over the sizable threshold and out the door.

As if in slow motion, I watched as the unsecured slurpee teetered as I went over the threshold--forward towards Eric, then back towards me and then forward again, gaining enough momentum to fall out of the tray. As soon as the cup hit Eric, the top popped off and he was completely covered in Slurpee.

He got this confused and surprised look on his little face and then let out the cry to end all cries. I don't remember exactly how we set about cleaning him up. I think we were still in the stage where we couldn't leave the house without 14 changes of clothes and 72 diapers. But, how do you change a baby on the sidewalk outside of 7-11 when your only place to put him is a stroller covered in red slurpee? I'm sure it's a predicament we have all found ourselves in at one point or another. Anyway, all I do remember is carrying him home from there, and all of us being very sticky. And also, swearing off slurpees for the rest of my life (or at least until further notice). I also remember that everything involved in that snafu would forever be stained pink.

So, see Britney? It could be worse. At least you haven't dumped 20 or so ounces of red ice on your baby. Yet. But accidents do happen--even to the most careful of people. Don't sweat the accidents. But do fully secure your child in the car. There's really no excuse for that. Take care.


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