I Know a Baby, Such a Baby by Christina Rossetti
I know a baby, such a baby, –
Round blue eyes and cheeks of pink,
Such an elbow furrowed with dimples,
Such a wrist where creases sink.
‘Cuddle and love me, cuddle and love me, ’
Crows the mouth of coral pink:
Oh, the bald head, and, oh, the sweet lips,
And, oh, the sleepy eyes that wink!
I looked into the backseat and heard silence coming from the car seat.
My colicky baby had been sleeping soundly for the past ten minutes – a welcome reprieve from the high pitch wails of when he is awake.
I glanced again into the backseat.
I look ahead at the ATM machine fifteen feet in front of me.
*Look at the backseat.*
*Look at the ATM.*
Then I did it – I darted out of my car, and ran to the bank while pushing the lock button on my keychain.
I immediately flashed to all the news clips I’ve ever seen about parents leaving their kids in the car for a minute or two.
I swiped my card. I looked back at the car.
I entered my pin number. I looked back at the car.
Why couldn’t I just have brought the car seat with me? Why couldn’t I have just dealt with the wailing? Would it have been so bad to be “that mom” again – the one with the harried look and the babe whose wails echo throughout the bank kiosk?
I tried to push my crinkly check into the effing temper-mental slot, while my breathing started to quicken.
I pushed some buttons. I looked back at the car.
What if someone tried to break into my car and steal it? Would I be fast enough to run the fifteen feet and hurl myself into them?
I looked back at the car.
What if my baby was over heating in the two minutes that I stood at the machine that WOULDN’T TAKE MY STUPID CHECK? It was 64 degrees out, after all.
I whispered “fuck you” to the ATM… and it finally swallowed up my check.
I looked back at the car.
I grabbed my receipt.
I started to pleasantly jog (so people wouldn’t think I was nuts) back toward the car.
Then I dropped my bank card.
As I bent to pick it up, I thought…
What if I have an aneurysm that I didn’t know about? What if bending over at this moment causes it to burst, and I fall down dead on the sidewalk? No one would know that my baby was in the car. NO ONE WOULD KNOW! He’s going to be hungry in about twenty minutes. The ambulance probably wouldn’t even be here by then to scoop my body up. Who would feed him?
Just as I was about to announce to the one person walking by that my baby was in the car, and should be taken care of if I die – I tripped on absolutely nothing and stumbled all the way into my own car door.
With both hands pressed against the window, I saw my sweet sleeping baby. He looked so peaceful… and quiet… so beautifully quiet. I stared at him for a second or two before I realized that the sun was streaming in right on his delicate face. What if the left side of his face was completely burned? I hopped in the car and high tailed it home before I could do anymore damage to my infant.
Going to the bank should not be this stressful, should it?
If you’re a parent, have you ever left your child in the car for a second or two?
The good news is, I probably don’t have an aneurysm…
Or it just hasn’t burst…
I’m going to stay away from the bank, just to be sure.