I am not one of those gals who takes forever to get ready simply to leave the house. I do insist on showering if I’ll be seen in public. And applying makeup. And doing something with my hair other than hide it under a baseball cap. But generally, I can make it from shower to sedan in about 30 minutes flat. So when the time came to dress my newborn for brunch, I didn’t think it would be that much different. After all, he’s a boy. Men can get showered, shaved and dressed so fast, I think they go back in time. And my newborn wasn’t even shaving yet, which was a huge time-saver.
So there we were — my husband Stewart, our newborn and me — away for the weekend at a friend’s condo in Palm Beach. It was my first trip anywhere since I’d given birth four weeks before. My husband had gone fishing in the early morning. The plan was for me to meet him at a water-front eatery around noon. I figured Stewart had the hard part — he was going to wrestle tarpon. All I had to do was slap a onesie on my cherub that said something clever about him being our tax-write off, and I’d be out the door in no time.
Right …. these are the things you still believe when you’re a first-time mom with a new baby. Here’s what it really takes to dress a newborn for brunch:
Step One. Put baby in a fresh diaper and adorable onesie and pants, then strap into car seat. Fabulous. He is all ready to go.
Step Two. Pack diaper bag with diapers, wipes, Balmex and disposable bags. Add two bottles of formula (because you tried breastfeeding and failed miserably, so please, no judgment). Toss in five pacifiers — in case pacis #1, #2, #3, #4 fall on the floor and can’t be properly disinfected at the restaurant. Add three extra outfits, in case of spit-up or diaper blowout.
Step Three. Realize you are running late. Make one last pit stop (No, the bladder never fully recovers.) Grab wallet, keys and sunglasses. Sling diaper bag over shoulder. Pick up car seat. Put hand on door handle …
Step Four. Remove hand from door handle because baby is crying … okay … now make that screaming.
Step Five. Put everything down. Unbuckle baby. Realize baby needs a diaper change.
Step Six. Sigh … heavily.
Step Seven. Go back into guest room. Lay baby in the center of the bed so that — even though he cannot move yet — there is not the remotest possibility that he will roll over, fall from the bed and smash his skull.
Step Eight. Open diaper. Duck as the baby immediately lets loose a stream of urine that could knock a tin can off a fence at 50 yards. Make frantic attempts to block the spray with your hands. Realize that this is actually increasing the spray area. Try to ignore the loud screaming as baby sprays himself in the face.
Step Nine. Notice that you are VERY late.
Step Ten. Grab wipes, diapers, Balmex and a clean, dry outfit from diaper bag.
Step Eleven. Strip off soiled, wet onesie, being careful not to break baby’s neck as you pull it off over his head. Wipe pee off of baby. Put on fresh onesie, being careful not to break baby’s neck as you pull it on over his head.
Step Twelve. Squeeze Balmex onto your fingers. Attempt to apply it to wriggly baby’s red, diaper-rashed bottom. Get Balmex on every possible part of the wriggly baby’s skin BUT the red, diaper-rashed bottom.
Step Thirteen. Strip off second onesie. Throw across room.
Step Fourteen. Eye naked, pee-soaked, Balmex smeared baby on bed.
Step Fifteen. Cry.
Step Sixteen. Decide that brunch is wholly overrated … eating anything not delivered to your doorstep is wholly overrated. Wonder why people even bother leaving the house before dinner.
Step Seventeen. Fill bathroom sink with warm water. Put baby in water. Attempt to wash pee and Balmex off of squalling, thrashing, slippery newborn.
Step Eighteen. Gently dry baby with towel. Grab another diaper and third onesie from the diaper bag.
Step Nineteen. Return to guest room. Find dry spot on bed to lay baby on. Redress and rediaper baby. Buckle baby back into car seat.
Step Twenty. Survey much-depleted diaper bag.
Step Twenty-One. Repeat your favorite line from The King’s Speech: “Fuck. Fuck! Fuck, fuck, fuck and fuck! Fuck, fuck and bugger! Bugger, bugger, buggerty buggerty buggerty, fuck, fuck, arse! Balls! Balls, fuck, fucketty, shit, shit!”
Step Twenty-Two. Consider that if this whole situation was the stuff of a Judd Apatow movie, you’d be laughing hysterically. Start laughing hysterically.
Step Twenty-Three. Strip bed and throw pee-soaked blanket, sheets and bedspread into laundry.
Step Twenty-Four. Realize you have now set the world record for being late to brunch.
Step Twenty-Five. Scoop up diaper bag, keys, sunglasses and car seat. Make the sign of the cross … even though you are Jewish. Leave the house.
Step Twenty-Six. Drive frantically — but still very s-l-o-w-l-y — to the restaurant. Valet car. Because dammit, you earned the privilege of not schlepping your baby, bulky car seat and depleted-but-somehow-still-
Step Twenty-Seven. Spot the mimosa at the table that your loving husband had the forethought to have waiting for you. Weep with gratitude. Drain glass in single gulp. Repeat.