Last weekend, I learned that taking a random 9-month old baby on a third date is not the best idea. In fact, it’s a horrendous idea.
This came about when I went on a first date with a cute, long-haired guy. Before it ended, he told me that he wanted to take me out again. He suggested going to a UCLA gymnastics meet. He gave the disclaimer that this wasn’t something he was into (read: “I don’t have a fetish for watching college co-eds run around in leotards”), but thought it would be a fun date.
I’m in to random events and was also into him, so really wanted to go. However, I had already agreed to babysit a 9-month old baby for one of my friends. The baby wasn’t her baby. She serves as a foster parent and does informal childcare for struggling moms to help them not become part of the system. It was a noble cause, so I didn’t want to cancel. She said that I could take the baby on the date and the cute, long haired guy thought it would make things more adventurous.
The morning of the date I was rushing around running errands. When I returned home to get ready for the date, my friend was already waiting on my front porch with the baby. She was loaded down with a huge, blue plastic Ikea bag. I soon learned that the Ikea bag was to double as the baby bag. It was filled with formula, graham crackers, diapers, and other things I didn’t know what to do with.
I hastily put on my makeup and changed my clothes. I felt super vulnerable trying be a good host while simultaneously making myself look pretty.
Before I left, I got a text from the cute, long haired guy saying that he was already at the gymnastics event. I started stressing out and decided to forgo getting lunch even though I was super hungry. I also forgot my water bottle which was bad because it was a blazing hot day and I have a phobia of dehydration.
After struggling to get the car seat into the car (those things are tricky!), I was off with the baby. The minute I pulled onto the freeway and looked back at the baby in the rearview mirror it hit me: this random baby’s life is in my hands! Why do I have this baby with me? I don’t know the mom, the mom doesn’t know the dad, how did I wind up caring for this little life?!!!
Luckily the baby didn’t cry as I braved an hour’s worth of traffic on the freaking 405 freeway. When we finally arrived, I somehow figured out how to open the baby stroller and discovered it was too short for my arms lengths and very unwieldy. Whenever I saw someone staring as I crookedly meandered across UCLA’s campus, I whispered “this isn’t my baby.”
By the time I got to the gymnasium, I was dehydrated and haaaaangry.
The campus workers demanded that I leave the stroller in the lobby so I had to balance the baby in one arm and the Ikea bag in the other.
When the cute, long haired guy met me in the lobby he suggested that we sit down right away. But I was so frazzled that I got a little snippy and dramatically proclaimed that I needed water and food right away. I grabbed a sandwich from a concession stand, and it turned out to be soggy =(
We got to our seats and there happened to be a perfect looking, All-American family sitting next to us. The mom kept looking at me and finally asked if the baby was a boy or a girl. I answered, “it’s a boy, I think. Its not mine and I haven’t checked. But its name is Walter.” Baby Walter.
Predictably, I missed most of the gymnastics meet. However, as it turns out, because one of the gymnasts got a perfect score, everyone in the audience won free Pazookies from BJ’s restaurant. If you’ve never had one, a pazookie is a large, hot cookie with ice cream on it. Yum.
The cute, long-haired guy wanted to cash in on our prize right after the meet. The problem was that the closest BJ’s required me to push the stroller across the hilly campus. Thankfully I was able to maintain enough control of the wobbly stroller to avoid it flying into the street.
When we got to BJ’s, it became clear that taking a baby to a restaurant is another horrendous idea. There was no room in the lobby for the stroller and I had no idea whether Baby Walter could fit into a high chair.
As the cute, long-haired guy and waiter got the table situated, it dawned on me that I hadn’t changed Baby Walter’s diaper all day. Whoops. I grabbed a diaper, some wipes, and headed to the bathroom.
There was no changing table in the bathroom and the bathroom counter was wet. I quickly dried it off and laid down some toilet seat covers as a make-shift blanket. The second I laid Baby Walter down he started screaming. As I started to change him, the fact that I should have changed him long before was obvious. Thick, sticky poop was everywhere. I felt so bad. I also began to panic. His screams were getting louder and louder. I did my best to clean him up. In my frenzy, I threw the dirty diaper into the tampon box because I couldn’t find the trashcan (In hindsight, I’m sure it was right next to me.) I then noticed that some of the poop had smeared on his clothes and that I had forgotten to grab an extra onesie.
I ran out of the bathroom and grabbed a change of clothes from the Ikea bag. I went outside and sat at an empty table to change Baby Walter. I mistakenly failed to unsnap the top button on the dirty onesie so when I pulled it off, it got stuck on Baby Walter’s head. More screaming. A waiter walking by commented “You really don’t know babies.” Clearly.
After pazookies, we walked back to my car and put the baby in his car seat. Just as the cute, long-haired guy leaned in to initiate our first kiss, the baby started wailing. I got him out of the car seat and held him. The cute, long-haired guy resumed his attempt to kiss me and just as our lips met, the baby put his hand on my chest. This was the weirdest combination of maternal and sexual. But I have to give mad props to the cute, long-haired guy for not letting the baby block him and for giving me a memorable first kiss!
Baby Walter cried the entire way home, but who can blame him. It sucks to be the third wheel no matter how old you are.