Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Trip to the Big City

Yesterday I went to the American Consulate in Amsterdam to file the petition for Mr. P’s Green Card, step 1 in the application process. By the time I got home, almost 5 hours after I walked out the door, I felt like I was in the 9th month of pregnancy. My back hurt, my legs hurt and I was absolutely exhausted. I think my relationship with the Baby Bjorn is near its end. I can’t cart around an 8 kilo baby on my chest for 5 hours. It does not matter that I gained more than that when pregnant. That weight was spread out (a lot taking up residence on my thighs and butt) and while towards the end it did feel like my womb was home to a future world-cup soccer champ, that weight did not fling itself around madly when excited, kicking my thighs and body slamming my chest. I thought using the Bjorn would be easier than the pram since we needed to take almost every form of public transport available (bus-train-tram and back again). It would be easier to navigate the security, pat downs and metal detectors that line the fenced entrance to the American Consulate, and Pumpkin would nap better while strapped to me than she would in her pram. On all counts there I was right. I just had no idea how long the trip would be, and that before we even boarded the train to Amsterdam, my back would be crying out for mercy.

Yet I must have the sweetest baby alive. Pumpkin spent 5 hours strapped to her mama, bundled up like an Eskimo against the cold, lugged from place to place, and queue to queue – hat and gloves on and off, jacket unzipped and zipped. Even though she did not nap at her normal 1:30, finally falling asleep from pure exhaustion at 3:15, she was an absolute angel who charmed everyone she locked eyes with. My daughter smiles for and flirts with everyone. She could not get enough of the little girl on the train with the pigtails, and when the girl did not notice her, she broke into a chorus of loud shrieks and endless babble to get her attention. When the young (and incredibly sexy) Italian guy boarded the train at the airport, and sat next to us, she proceeded to grab at his arm and flash him toothy grins, which when returned she feigned shy and buried her head in my chest. She charmed the pants off the security guard at the consulate who swore no baby ever smiles at him. Upon finding the consulate too quiet for her liking, Pumpkin then broke into another chorus of babble which sent most of the glum people in the queue into laughter. The consular, who approved the petition, even tried to set her 9 month old son up with my beautiful girl. And when she abruptly awoke from her nap on the train (why oh why do people have to yell into their mobile phones?!) she did not cry, but commenced with the charm offensive, completely pulling the grandmotherly woman across from us from her book, and drawing smiles from almost everyone on the train. She only got grumpy when we rounded the corner for home, perhaps because she had no audience anymore.

This is why I love baby wearing, she is at eye level with people, instead of looking at their knees. It is such a better place for interaction, especially for my social gal. I will miss carrying her around for long periods, having her that close to me. It looks like the pram will be getting more use, while the sling and Bjorn will be reserved only for short treks. It makes me wonder about that carrier I saw at the store the other day for babies above 15 kilo. What mom, besides a body builder or superwoman, can wear her 16 kilo baby!?!

posted by Laura @ 10:24 AM   4 comments