There is an inverse ratio between the size of a baby and the amount of gear it needs to travel.
The grandbaby came to visit and the trunk and backseat of the car were crammed full of baby-related apparatus. I wasn't sure if they were coming for the weekend or moving cross-country.
Total, all the baby-related equipment must have weighed roughly 300 pounds and that figure does not include the mom or dad. It was about a 30:1 ratio 30 pounds of gear for every one pound of baby.
It took five trips to get it all into the house. When they were ready to leave, it took 10 trips to get it all out. For a moment, it looked like they might have to rent a U-Haul. The fact that the stuff mushroomed is in no way the new parents' fault. Baby gear is like pasta salad, it multiplies every time you touch it.
A friend our son used to go camping with stopped by to see the baby and I heard the new papa say, "Come on out to the car and see what we travel with it's way more than we ever took camping." These are guys who used to head out with sleeping bags, tents, boots, waders, fishing tackle, rubber rafts and cookware strapped to their backs.
This baby could stuff all their camping gear in the cargo hold of her collapsible stroller and still have room for a 12-pack of diapers and box of wipes.
Once you're out of the baby business, it is easy to forget how much you have to lug around when you have an infant. There are a number of other things I had forgotten as well, including the fact that it is easier to put a Barbie swimsuit on a cube of Jell-O than to get a sleeper on an infant.
I'd also forgotten that when babies gain control of their necks, instead of making smooth movements from side to side, they jerk their heads like marionettes on short strings. Babies may be the original head-butters.
I'd also forgotten how a baby can command an audience. Talk about a stage presence one wail and every adult in the room is on full alert: Is she hungry? Does she have gas? Is she in pain?
I was quickly reminded that babies and their parents are primarily engaged in the business of waste management. Babies produce it and parents manage it. It may be the only industry that can consistently boast a satin-smooth bottom line.
I was also reminded that babyhood is the only time of life in which people cheer you on for non-stop eating and sleeping.
When was the last time a family member said, "Why don't you take another two-hour nap, sweetie?" When did your doctor ever say, "What you need to do is focus on consuming calories and trying to pack some more fat on those thighs."
For babies, it is a productive day if they are able to eat, sleep, burp, and keep repeating the cycle.