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The Nest: Baby Jail

Oh, the things a person purchases thanks to Amazon Prime. My ordering once got to the point that I was racing home before my husband so that I could sneak the wonderful packages inside and put them away. And when he would ask, “When did we get that?” I would simply reply, “We’ve had that for years.”

He is not at all a shopper and the only reason he goes anywhere near a mall is to shop at Cabela’s. In his opinion, over-shopping is buying a new pack of socks before the old socks have holes in the heels. So, my Amazon purchasing seems excessive from all angles.

When you have a newborn you feel as though you barely have control, and as they grow your days can become somewhat planned and scheduled. I choose to control my life by folding our clothes a certain way and relishing in the idea that everything has a place to “live” in the house – it just needs to get there. So, while scrolling through Amazon one day on maternity leave, I bought a baby gate system. It is a white, metal and plastic series of gates that should, in theory, house all of the toys and the baby once he is crawling, standing, and walking. Babies love staying in one place and playing with the expensive, developmentally appropriate toys and not the television remote, right?

So, when it arrived and I assembled it, my husband asked the same question he always does, “When did we get that?” Obviously, I couldn’t tell him we’ve had it for years. I explained my elaborate plan for the baby gate’s future and how our son would play so nicely in its confines as we made pancakes together in the morning and laughed about the little things (Please remember, I was freshly post-partum and very sleep deprived). He inspected it and simply replied, “It looks like a baby jail.”

Oh, husband. I was more determined now to make this work. I placed all the toys, bouncers, and accessories inside the gate system, staging it to perfection, and letting out a sigh of relief that something was organized.

Looking at the baby jail as I write this, I realize my husband and I (and the cats) are in a figurative baby jail. I’d love a pedicure, two margaritas, a relaxing stroll through Tanger Outlets “just to look,” and 10 minutes to focus on putting lotion on my legs after a shower. That just isn’t realistic right now.

We even thought about dressing up for Halloween last year as prisoners while the baby was a police officer, but I was banned from Amazon purchasing at that point in time.

In baby jail, we define time by a feeding schedule, we have a running competition for the smelliest diaper changed, and there is somehow breastmilk everywhere. We laugh a lot in baby jail and I cry sometimes with joy or a complete sense of being overwhelmed. We’ve been ending the day lately by asking each other, “Did you ever think you could love him this much?” And, no – I never thought I could love another human being as much as I love my baby. That overwhelming feeling of love humbles me, expands outward, and makes me grateful and appreciative of all that I have now that I once prayed so hard for.

Nowadays, my cats use the baby jail as a spot to lay in the sun and stretch out while enjoying their luxurious lives. The gate door remains open for one of the cats because she is a little chunky and can’t fit through the bars. No judgment, sister! One day the baby will play, guarded safely by the gate and I’ll smile happily, justifying the Amazon purchase.

And, for the rest of my life, I will figuratively be in “baby jail,” “toddler jail,” “teenager jail,” (I’ve heard the horror stories), and many other stages of jail. While it may seem like I’d yearn for freedom, I love it here, and I have absolutely no plans of ever breaking out.

Reba Tappan

Reba Tappan

Reba Tappan writes The Nest blog. She is mom to an adorable little boy, who she enjoys pushing in the stroller around her neighborhood with her husband. She writes about life as a working mother while navigating the journey to maintaining a mom-bod.