Thursday, September 04, 2003

Bad Daddy...

Okay, the only reason that I am sharing this experience with you lucky viewers is the fact that I finally had the nerve to tell my wife about this. I often hear about people doing such ridiculous things as "forgetting to take their kids out of the car in the summertime, and coming out and finding them dead in the car seats later in the afternoon." I often scoff when I hear these reports and say, "How could you forget your child in the car?" Well, I had a similar situation, although I did not forget my child in the car, or anywhere else for that matter, but I thought that I had forgotten her.

My wife went out of town to visit a friend of hers from College. The boys were at their grandmother's house for the week, so it was just me and my daughter Alexandra(Alex) for a few days. Since we were running low on food, I decided to go grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. After I wandered aimlessly from shelf to shelf for about an hour, I figured I had what I needed and checked out. I left the store and wheeled my groceries and Alex out to the van in a shopping cart. I distinctly remember unloading the groceries into the van first, and then placing Alex into the carseat. I pushed the cart aside, jumped into the drivers seat and rode home. Easy enough, huh? Here comes the scary part.

I pulled into the driveay, and decided to take Alex in the house first So I could put her in her high chair. The plan was to do that so that I could get the groceries out and put them away without having to worry about her getting into something. I opened the side door of the van, and instead of seeing my ever-smiling and energetic one year old daughter, I saw an empty carseat. At this point, all logic and reason left me. I felt an alarming panic seize my entire being. I looked up front to the passenger seat, (I knew good and damn well Alex hadn't ridden up front.) and looked back at the carseat. No baby. Don't ask me why, but for some reason I shut the door, walked to the end of the driveway and then back to the van. I opened the door and looked into the car seat....still no baby. I said, "What the fuck?! At this point I tried to spur my brain to function and clapped my hand against my forehead...I started retracing my steps....got the groceries...checked out...loaded the groceries...pushed the car out of the way...Did I take the baby out of the cart? At this point, I assured myself that I had forgotten the baby somewhere. I imagined that at that moment Alex was sitting in Wal-Mart parking lot with a quizzical look on her face waiting for me to return. I said, "Awwww SHIT!!!" I jumped into the van and started it. After the engine roared to life, I threw the Sienna into reverse and stepped on the gas. The tires protested loudly as I roared backwards into our quiet suburban street. I hit the brakes and heard something tumbling in the rear of the van. Suddenly I heard my daughter call out in an uncertain voice. She used her universal baby word for, "Some parent or big person needs to come see about me." Well it translates into that, but the actual word is "NA-DAAAAH!"

I jumped out of the van and opened the rear door of the van. There sat Alex nibbling on the string to a pair of basketball shoes I had in the back. I grabbed her up in my arms and squeezed her tight and kissed her. "Oh thank God! Thank GOD!", I said.

Apparently I had not buckled her safety strap properly, and she had wriggled out of the restraints while I was driving. She slipped down onto the floor of the van, and crawled from the middle seat section all the way to the back.

I eventually got myself together and unloaded the van and put the groceries away. But I never put Alex down the whole time I worked.

1 comment:

MUSHROOMHEAD said...

Can't believe in all this time noone has commented on this article. The greatest fear in my life used to be getting annihilated in a nuclear holocost. I grew up with that driven into my head, leaving me traumatised for life. But now my absolute number one fear is leaving my daughter in the car or behind like the author thought he had. I know it's a risk every time I take her somewhere which is one reason why I constantly talk to her. I so empathize with your fear, panic, and ultimate need to hold onto your child. Once when she was barely able to crawl, I looked away for a moment and when I looked back, she was one length away from going head-first down the stairs! I did some of the most athletic moves of my life and literally dove and caught her by the leg AS she was going over the edge. I held onto her for a bit after that...