• J Mess


Clearly things would be a lot easier if babies just understood “I’ll be right back.”

We’ve started getting invited out to dinner and events as groups of adults or couples. I know that sounds kinda strange, but people are respectful of the time after you first have a baby, knowing that you’re not going to go out partying. Then as a certain amount of time passes, they resume including you and expect that you’re probably dying to get out of the house. While this may be true, I’m still not sure that outside of daycare, I’m ready to leave my baby with anyone other than family.

Everyone is different. Some people start using babysitters early and that works for them. While I’ll obviously go out again before he turns 18, and I don’t want to be a shut in, I’m still a little bit hesitant. So when we got invited out on a Saturday night to go to Escape the Room for my friend’s birthday, instead of saying “we can’t because, as you know, we have that little baby person,” and dealing with everyone suggesting I get a babysitter… I just said “I’m claustrophobic.” Besides every night and nap time I get to play my own version of escape the room.

It’s a new kind of game, but it’s not fun.

At the last doctor’s visit they asked about some milestones. Is he eye tracking? Is he babbling? Does he get really excited when you arrive and really sad when you go? Um yeah. I can’t even leave him in the high chair for 30 seconds to get more food from the fridge without a full-on meltdown. As soon as I turn my back to go, he’s hysterical. I end up yelling from 8 feet away, “Mommy’s right here Nathan.” But because he can’t see me, it doesn’t work. It’s gotten so bad that I considered buying a cardboard cutout of myself to leave in the dining room. Is that weird, or genius? The jury is still out.

So when we’re trying to get him to go to sleep, we had to figure out how to get out of the nursery unscathed. After only a couple of attempts, as I see it, you have 2 choices. You either gotta be lightning fast, like evaporate into thin air, or tortoise slow. So slow that he doesn’t realize you’ve even moved. I’ve employed both these methods with great success, but you have to survey the situation and strategically decide which method to go with in the moment. My son likes to sleep on his side. So while he’s rolling around trying to get comfortable, if I see an opportunity as he’s rolling away from me, I bolt. Like Speedy Gonzalez. Like Usain Bolt. Like he doesn’t even have time to remember I was there in the first place. To maximize this method, make sure you’ve got the right timing as they start to turn away, and make a break for the door in one, swift motion. If you’re too slow, or you make a ton of noise, you’re screwed.

Some nights though my son is very clingy and he insists on staring at me while holding my hand forever. This is fine at 7:30 pm, however not fine if he wakes up at 4am. Since he won’t take his eyes off me, this calls for the slow exit. Unfortunate because it’s excruciating. First I wrestle my hand free, and then take one, teeny tiny, half-step backwards away from the crib. Then another, so slowly that I age 10 years in between each step. If it’s too fast and he realizes you’re gone, you have to start all over again. If you hit a spot on the floor that creaks too loudly, you have to start all over again. As soon as I get close to the door, which seems like it’s taken an eternity, I grab the door frame and swing myself around the corner and out of sight. I pause for one short second to make sure my escape from the room went unnoticed. Then I freaking sprint back to bed...


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