Monday, February 23, 2009
The Bjorn Identity
Last weekend I spread happiness and smiles wherever I went. I wore a special outfit that was like a joy dispenser, generating countless smiles and happy looks from just about any woman who crossed my path at the Whole Foods Market. I was turning heads and hearing chuckles in my wake at every aisle . What was it that made me as comically heartwarming as a youtube video of box full of puppies? I had taken on my Bjorn Identity with little Michael strapped onto my chest in a Baby Bjorn baby carrier.
Millions of parents worldwide, including Doctor Evil, have strapped on a Baby Bjorn to carry their pudgy little bundles of joy. After snapping and adjusting a series of confusing buckles and straps, my tax break and I are ready to face the world, err, the grocery store together. Imagine Flavor Flav with an infant instead of a giant clock and more ridiculous looking.
Alas, the Bjorn Identity is not for the weak of heart or back. People will laugh. Any pretense of being cool vanishes. Cervical discs creak and bulge. When I take on my Bjorn Identity, I'm very publically embracing the role of dad. I'll admit that I look pretty ridiculous in the carrier, and, yes, people do laugh at Mikey and me. I don't care because Mikey and I are having too much fun.
The crisscrossing straps try their best to distribute Mikey's 15 pounds of baby fat and love, but the strain arrives quickly. We soldier on. A little spinal cord damage never killed anyone, and the stabbing pain in the C3 to C5 area is well worth it. A prosaic shopping trip becomes an adventure. Ambulation poses new and frightening challenges. Reaching items on the bottom shelf tempts disaster. Catastrophic spitup incidents or drool breaches are a very real possibility.
Michael and I bond while we walk. Without so much as a single fussy peep, he raptly takes in all the new and astonishing sights. The Whole Foods world headquarters in Austin is a foodie tourist destination and a wonderland of sight, smell, and sound. Imagine how it looks to an infant seeing it through fresh and curious eyes? What does he think about the giant chocolate fountain? How does all that brightly colored produce look to him? Does he smell the freshly roasting coffee beans and get thirsty like me? We're bonding, he's learning, and people are enjoying seeing his alert little face peering out at them.
When I take on my Bjorn Identity, the good vibes are contagious. I catch myself singing "Just the Two of Us" and doing a little dance with my own little mini me. Every smile, laugh, and "Awww, Cute!" warms my heart. I reach down and hold onto Mikey's chunky little legs. I let him grab one of my fingers in his vice-like grip. All my troubles and back pains wash away, and all that remains is me and my son taking care of business together.
Clay also rocks the Bjorn.