Thursday, August 25, 2011

Some Assembly Required

Finding a place for a baby to sleep is easy at first. The child spends the first nine months of its earthly existence safely and comfortably nestled inside its mother.  If the child is female, the womb is enhanced by a full-length mirror, a leather couch, and a coffee bar. After the child becomes fully vested in the terrestrial experience, sleeping arrangements are still not difficult.  The hospital provides a comfortable nursery, complete with cribs, blankets, and nurses to coddle the child at all hours of the night.  Even after the child is brought home, parents are not faced with difficult decisions; a newborn can easily sleep in its car seat for several weeks, although no parent will admit that they let their baby sleep in the car seat.  I’ve only heard of other people doing it.  But eventually the moment comes when the baby needs a crib.  This is necessitated by the propensity of newborns to flail about and even roll over in their sleep.  In early cultures, this also prevented pests like mice and velociraptors from making off with young children.  Now when you attempt to purchase a crib, you will be awestruck by the beautiful assembled floor models, complete with locking wheels, rails that move up and down, and even mobiles suspended from the sides.  However, the crib you purchase will come in a flat box, very much unassembled.  For parents who do not yet know that they will be spending the next 18 years assembling toys, bikes, and tree houses, this can be a harrowing experience.  My first crib assembly job went as well as could be expected.  After combining each of the 1,034 pieces that were in the box, I stood back to admire my work: a replica of Big Ben.  This not being appropriate quarters for a napping infant, I tried again, this time looking at the picture on the box [but still ignoring the directions].  After much head-scratching, I succeeded in creating a sleeping surface enveloped by rails, enough to hold a baby in place should it decide to test its mobility.  So now the baby has a place to sleep.  Never mind that the sides show not the least potential for sliding up and down and that I have 14 screws and 3 bolts remaining.  Maybe I can throw them at attacking velociraptors. 

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