Inevitability

The jackhammers and semi-trailers notwithstanding, 14-month old Claudia has fallen asleep in the car seat again. We’ve just dropped Fern at her afternoon nursery school program, and, free of kids’ music at last, I’m blasting NPR with the bass turned up high, like the dorky hoodlum that I am. Then it starts to hail and it’s like God’s semiautomatic nail gun on the car roof — the deluge even drowns out poor Terry Gross.

Still, Claudia sleeps.

We arrive home and I decant the baby from her several straps and clips then balance her on one knee as I fumble for my keys, whipping her up to my shoulder when I dash inside to deactivate the blaring alarm.

And still she sleeps.

To get her raincoat off I must dangle Claudia by one arm and then the other. Finally, as I take her shoes off, her head rolls from one side to the other, and still, still, still she stays asleep. The car-to-crib transition is almost complete; all that remains is to lay Claudia down gently on the mattress and quietly make my escape.

Just as I lay her little sleeping body down as delicately as the bomb squad comes, of course, the explosion: the baby wakens screaming, as if to say, “Noooo! Not the crib! Anything but the crib!

Sigh. At least she’s good at falling back asleep, and five minutes later she’s quiet again.

Still… next time, I bring the whole car seat inside, I think.