Sardonic Aisle

Monday night Kanin’s projector quit working,—again. This would be the third or fourth one we’ve been through and at least two different brands. He doesn’t necessarily need the projector, but does need the sounds and small nightlight. I knew I was going to have to hunt for a new one, a different one from the one that has failed multiple times. I figured Target or Wal-Mart were going to be my go to places. After an internet search, I quickly learned  they basically don’t have anything I haven’t tried. I was in town Tuesday and realized I was near the Toys”R”us/Babies”R”us and asked Josh (he was in port) if he could do a quick search to see if they had anything different. He found similar ones and new ones, so I decided to stop in and see what they had.

I regret going into that baby store and walking the aisles to find the sound machines. I walked in and saw the breastfeeding aisle, then bottle feeding which quickly turned into stage one and stage two feeding and into toddler-hood. Soon the aisles became bath time, toddler specific medicines, toys and baby proofing. The end caps held “My First St. Patrick’s Day” outfits, baby monitors and “new and exciting” baby items. The aisles opposite of where I had to go were car seats, high chairs, strollers, jumpers and things that held a baby in one spot so a parent could pee without worrying what that child was getting into. The aisle I needed was smack dab in the middle of baby proofing, self feeding and toddler type umbrella strollers. The exact things that I’d be worrying about now had Aerilyn survived.

My walk lead me through time that I didn’t get with Aerilyn and landed me in a place where I should be at. No doubt their layout is strategic in helping new parents navigate the stages. Never thinking that a bereaved mother would have to walk those aisles for their living children. Never thinking about that perfectly placed “My First” outfits that are there to hook parents into buying them, would serve as a reminder at least one child wont get one of those outfits. I’ve walked through Babies”R”Us/Toys”R”Us many times since Aerilyn died and they’ve always been difficult, but never have they slammed home the timeline I should be on.

Baby proofing. Who puts sound machines next to baby proofing? Normally sound machines are used in the very beginning and continue through childhood. Why not place them next to the baby monitors or near the front or even with electronics?   As I stood there and looked at the sound machines trying not to play “eeny meeny miny moe” I kept glancing behind me at the baby proofing things. At one point an experienced father was talking with his buddy who was just entering the “I get into everything” phase of his kid and was explaining what each lock and handle did. I stood there trying not to listen about how his friend would need door handle covers because kids can get into weird places. That he’d need outlet covers because well all know kids will do the damnedest things and put stuff in those small holes. Heck, I’ve seen Kanin lick one! Experienced guy moved on to explain to newbie how kids climb on everything once they’re mobile and it’s best to anchor down furniture. Eventually they moved on to other phases of the kids life and left me with the sound machines I couldn’t decide on.

Having heard their conversation and that they had left, I turned and faced those damned safety precautions. She should need these. That thought crossed my mind and it stopped me. On a daily basis I try not to think how long it’s been since Aerilyn said “hello” and “goodbye”. I try not to dwell on what milestone she’d be at. It’s not healthy for me and it normally depresses me. Seeing those stupid door handle covers and anchor straps made me realize she’d be more than walking by now. That outlets would be a safety hazard and I’d be keeping her from bouncing her pretty face off tables like I did so many times as a child.

One year and two months (and seven days, but who’s counting?) she’s been gone. She’d be a toddler! How could my sweet little baby who died, be a toddler already? Standing in the aisle was torture. Then a woman asked me, “in your adventures, have you found these?”. She was referring to an empty baby item in her hand, one I knew was in the next aisle over. I escorted her and in those few moments, it felt like I was a normal parent who knew the store because I had a baby just fourteen months ago. In a flash it was gone. I returned to that in-between place, toddler safety and sound machines. I returned to reality and resigned myself that I don’t need those things. I turned back to my original task and thankfully by then, Josh helped me pick one. I was in that store for maybe fifteen minutes; it felt like eternity.

One year and two months since I no longer needed those new age novelties of safety. I realized the irony of me being in that aisle. One that’s supposed to offer safety and protection for a child. Honestly, it’s so damn ironic I can’t help but to chuckle. Not that it’s truly funny, it’s just absurd what strikes me when not expected. One year and two months since Aerilyn died. No. One year and two months since she taught me how to live. Taught me that those safety nets we try to put down and the walls we build mean nothing. Life happens whether we pad the corners of our tables, or leave our outlets uncovered. We can’t prepare for what is going to happen because really, we have zero control over it. I hate that so much, you know I do! Hello, my name is Nicole and I’m a control freak. That doesn’t take away from knowing I can’t control it.

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