When we brought the Princess home in 2005, Prince Charming took several weeks off from his usual travel to spend some time with her. It worked perfectly because I had been offered a nice consulting gig that would only last a month. The one caveat? I had to start just two days after we returned home.
As I left for work that first Monday morning, I was very confident that my husband would be totally competent. I was teary at leaving our happy nest, but glad to have the diversion after being out of work for several months.
Around noon, he called me frantic. “She WON’T STOP CRYING.”
“Did you change her diaper?”
“Yes. And I played with her and rocked her and bounced her and tried to lay her down for a nap…but NOTHING. She’s SCREAMING HER HEAD OFF. What should I do?”
“Honey,” I ask calmly, “did you FEED her?”
“What? We just had breakfast at seven!”
“Feed her. Not everyone eats ONE meal a day. Give the kid some DAMN food!”
Some time passes and he calls back.
“She won’t take a bottle!”
“What are you giving her?”
“Just mix some formula and try that.”
Something about this conversation gives me pause. I am 100% certain that I gave Sophie the last of the juice last night, and am pretty certain that there wasn’t another container lurking around. Being that this is a temporary consulting job, I give myself a couple of hours off and head home early. I arrive to a full-bellied, napping baby and a frazzled husband.
“You were right,” he says. [Duh.] “She must have been hungry.”
“Hon. About the juice. I’m confused. We are out of juice.”
“No. It’s that carrot/tangerine VRUIT stuff you’ve been giving her in the carton.”
“No. We’re out. I’m certain.”
“Well, it’s right here in the frig. I poured her a bottle and she wouldn’t drink a DROP.”
I ask him to show me. We stand in front of the refrigerator and I watch in horror as he pulls out a carton of — drumroll please — Swanson Chicken Broth.
“Read the box, John.”
Yeah. Literally. You just gave my baby a bottle full of cold chicken broth. It still makes me shiver to even think about that innocent child opening up sweet little mouth and swilling cold chicken broth.
Thank God she has no recollection of this. It’s bad enough that we are parenting idiots from time to time, but cold chicken broth? We simply do not have enough money saved for the therapy she will need.