Until Cora was five or six months old, we never left home with her. OK, sometimes Cliff would go someplace, but not me. We were afraid to take a baby anywhere: What if she cried? What if she had a dirty diaper? What if she got hungry?
Remember, our children were born in 1967 and 1969. We were bulletproof back then, willing to tackle any challenge. These days, not so much.
Finally, the time came when I wanted to go to Sam's Club and Walmart in the middle of the week. Cliff said, "But what about all the germs?"
Geesh. "She'll be fine," I told him. "The baby will love seeing people and being in a strange place. Just you wait and see."
He wasn't thrilled about the prospect, but we fastened her in the car seat and headed toward the big city.
It was great! People fawned over our pretty little girl. Some guy even told Cliff, "Your granddaughter looks just like you."
He was hooked, and ready to take Cora anywhere.
But things have taken a turn. Last week we took the Little Princess to do some shopping with us and it wasn't so easy. I placed her in the seat of the shopping cart and she immediately started twisting around, trying to get out of there. Cliff and I secured her with the safety belt. As I looked at my grocery list, she had hands and feet outstretched, trying to knock things off the shelves. She hollered at the top of her lungs... not crying, just happily shouting. People gave us some very strange looks, especially when I was pushing my cart in an erratic manner. Keep in mind we were at Blue Springs Walmart, which is an experience in itself.
"The kid distracts me," I told them.
It took an hour to do what would normally have been twenty minutes of shopping.
Later on that evening when Cora had gone home, I told Cliff, "You realize, don't you, that when our kids were that age, if they had behaved that way she did, we would have slapped their hands. And if they had cried, we would have taken them outside and spanked them. Yes, at the age of one year."
"I ain't spankin' her," Cliff said.
"Me neither. Next time we go shopping, it will be without her."
And that's the way it will be.