Grandpa Merit Badge

I finally earned my Grandpa merit badge last week.  I successfully collapsed the baby stroller before stashing it in the trunk.


I find most baby devices to be quite perplexing and intimidating—so many clips and straps to master.  We’ve come so far from my childhood when most infants rode in the arms of their mothers or, in my case, in a contraption my mother called a sugar scoop.  I’m fairly certain it just sat on the front bench seat of the car and would have propelled me into the next county had we stopped suddenly.  Its main attraction was keeping a hot sweaty baby off the momma.  Later, when I met family height requirements, I could lay horizontally on the back dash.  This was a great way to study clouds and sweat like a bug under a magnifying glass. 


Maybe this is why my family of six rarely went anywhere together except church and grandparents.


Today, my granddaughter’s ‘everything’ has safety straps.  Her removable car seat has about four points to connect and that is not counting the base that is already buckled tightly in the back seat in a more permanent manner.  (Achieving the perfect lock-down was like playing tug-o-war with the seat belts.)  The removable car seat can click into a locked position on top of our stroller (Jenni watched a YouTube video to figure that one out) or we can strap Emma directly into the stroller by arranging a spaghetti plate full of straps into a locking position.  Luckily, Emma’s little arms and legs are like Play-Doh and always cooperate by going into the correct positions!


We are on our second highchair in her short eight months but each of them had a fair share of straps.  Likewise for her walker (the thing with wheels that lets her scoot like a crab—but usually backwards), her bounce-and-play-thingy that clamps in the doorway, and the plastic swing seat we’ve yet to attach somewhere in the house or yard.


So a few days after I earned my distinguished merit badge, we met Emma’s parents for lunch.  We had kept her overnight and were doing the baby hand-off.  After we ate, I went to our car to get the stroller that Emma’s parents use.  Unfortunately it was a different model from ours.  After a few minutes of twisting handles and pushing levers trying to open it, I forfeited my merit badge and carried their stroller back to the restaurant where they were waiting.  

My son popped it open one-handed.

I think I will stick to being the adorable grandfather who lays in the floor and plays with Emma and just leave all the constraining safety devices to those who have figured them out.


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