Adventures out with a new baby
Even with my predictable night time Ellie-boo feedings and my sweet 2 year old’s very early morning wake up cuddles, I awoke yesterday feeling pretty rested. So, I decided to venture out to the library and Walmart with almost all the kids in tow. Bennah, who wasn’t feeling that well, volunteered to stay home with Sky so Andrew could get some rest after working all night.
We got a great start in the morning and headed off to the library. Without a 2 year old to chase around, it was a very quiet, uneventful visit. I fed Ellie in a comfy chair in the corner before we left to do our shopping. The children’s section of the library is, of course, very family friendly so no one paid much attention to me while I breastfed Ellie underneath my big and brightly colored covering. I absolutely love this thing. It’s so wide that it completely covers my front and sides and has a strap attached to the top that goes around my neck so there is no possibility of it sliding around or Ellie pulling it down. I feel comfortable breast feeding in public with this. At least at the library. Walmart is a different story.
Life with a newborn changes things. Well, duh. Of course it does. Most things take twice as long or longer. Even a quick trip to Walmart to pick up a few things can take hours. People stop to look at baby Ellie, give their congratulations, comment on her awesome punk rock hairdo and share their own baby stories. Then, there is the inevitable likelihood that Ellie will want to eat and fill her diaper while we’re there. Ellie had waited patiently until my shopping list was almost done before she declared very loudly that she was hungry now, and was done waiting. Hmmmm… where was I going to feed her and occupy 4 other kids? I found a nice bench by the back restrooms and storeroom doors. And it was right around the corner from the wall of televisions that were all playing a movie based on Messiah’s life, of all things. Perfect. Kids can watch the movie while I sit and nurse Ellie under my big orange and yellow hooter-hider (yes, I said hooter. My apologies).
I guess I should have known I would attract a bit of attention. I realized while nursing, that where I sat was a very high traffic area. Great. Lots of staff coming and going from the storeroom. Lots of customers coming and going from the restrooms. And me. Sitting right there, in front of everyone coming and going, trying to be invisible with my bright orange and yellow covering.
I got a lot of attention. Most people would lance my way and just politely looked away. But I saw that I made a lot of people awkward. Embarrassed even. Some old ladies even looked very annoyed. I’m not sure why. Maybe if I didn’t have a cover and bared it all for everyone to see, I would understand. This is a completely natural and “normal” thing to do. But, it has become very “abnormal.” The thing that’s funny about this, and sad really, is that just beyond where I was sitting, there were movies and video games with women in bikinis or very revealing clothing that showed way more than I would have, even without a blanket cover. This is the new “normal.”
I finished feeding Ellie, gathered the kids and we continued on our way. I was now on a mission to just finish as quickly as possible and get home to finish school and chores before Shabbath. I had one more item to grab and was headed there when I large man in a motor cart stopped and asked how old Ellie was. Oh boy.
“She’s just over a month old” I smiled politely.
“Hey monthie! What a sweetie. Hi honey. What’s her name? I just love kids…”
Our conversation went on for a few minutes. He asked each on of my children their names and was pleased when we told him how big our family was.
I need to go. I still have so much to do today.
“I just love kids.” he said again, not in any rush to leave. “I lost my wife and kids to a drunk driver.”
I wasn’t in any rush to leave anymore.
We spent another few minutes talking about our family. I mentioned we pray for protection and guidance for our kids everyday.
“That’s good.” He said “I will pray for that as well. There are so many people that I pray for. God bless you and protect you.”
“Thank you. He does, every day. We are very blessed.”
And we are very blessed. We are blessed with so many children, although our culture views them as a physical and financial burden. We are blessed with so much stuff. We are blessed with so much food. We have too many choices. So many that it’s sometimes even hard to decide what we want!
I enjoyed the rest of our shopping trip and looked at my full cart and my smiling kids and thanked my Creator again for all His wonderful gifts and provisions, and especially our brand new gift. It is because of her that opportunities arise to meet and connect with people (at Walmart, of all places).
So, that was my day yesterday.