Camilla's life has been pretty sheltered so far, I'd guess. I mean, every adult she meets spends 100% of their time trying to ensure she is happy (preferably giggling), comfortable, cutely attired, rested, and fed. We try our best to shield her from anything painful. We smother her in love and affection and cuddles, while also giving her space when she needs it. We try to make her world as predictable, supportive, and happy as we possibly can.
But she's four months old now. And yesterday I decided it was high time that she discover what the real world is like. The world where everyone isn't always worshiping the ground you walk on; the world where nobody really cares if you're happy and comfortable at all times.
I took my baby to the DMV.
(If you're not from 'round here, the DMV is the Department of Motor Vehicles; the hellish government agency that Americans are forced to visit occasionally to renew their driver's licenses and do other various tasks. It has a nationwide reputation of being basically the worst place on the entire planet: the epitome of inefficiency, long waits, angry workers, germy chairs, and general misery. Despite the fact that I'm sure there are many excellent DMVs and DMV employees, my personal guess is that the department as a whole will never overcome the reputation that they've acquired over the last however many years (when was the Model T invented? Is that when the DMV formed, chartering their ridiculous rules and queuing up the line for a lengthy wait?).)
So yes. When I discovered (ahem, in September...while I was in the midst of a very long maternity leave wherein I had all the time in the world to get tasks like this done...) that I'd need to go to the DMV before my birthday in order to show them 12,480 documents that prove that I am who I say I am and I live where I say I live, I naturally procrastinated it until yesterday. Which meant that I really needed to go. And I had Millie with me.
But why wouldn't you leave her with a babysitter?!?! Why take her to the DMV?!! Oh gosh, the waiting room! The employees! The poor citizens that will have to listen to your baby scream as she discovers what misery and suffering really are!!!
Yes, all of these things crossed my mind too. But I stuffed down those thoughts of logic and human decency and pressed on towards the DMV, infant in tow.
This was pre-DMV, a.k.a that time when her life was still happy and full of hope and optimism about the human race.
I had great intentions. Before we entered the waiting room, she would be rested, fed, freshly diapered, and in a fabulous mood. Then we could spread Christmas cheer to all the other patiently-waiting citizens in the form of adorable baby babbles and smiles!!
It was a great plan. But then she fell asleep in the car and she really needed to stay asleep. So what if it was past time for her next bottle? I took a gamble and just toted her in in her carseat, hoping she'd magically sleep through the whole thing and peacefully awaken right as I finished up my business. Then we could have a nice bottle on a bench outside before heading back home!
That was also a great plan. Unfortunately, Millie didn't quite get the memo.
You can imagine how this goes, because you've been to the DMV before. There is ALWAYS a screaming baby in there, isn't there? It's just part of the happy atmosphere. It just wouldn't be the DMV unless someone's brat is screaming his or her cute head off, starving half to death while their anxious mother desperately fills out endless forms that ASK THE SAME QUESTIONS OVER AND OVER OH MY GOSH CAN'T YOU SEE I JUST WROTE MY SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER IN BOX B, MUST I ALSO WRITE IT IN BOXES H, L, AND Q??!?!
You wanna talk about the magic of Christmas and the magic of babyhood? THIS was magical. Just ask all the people unfortunate to go to the Athens DMV yesterday afternoon. I feel like I owe everyone an apology. And a drink. Or three.
To add insult to injury, I also had to have my picture made AND write down my "weight." Ha. And since some of you informed me that apparently not all states require your "weight" to be PRINTED ON THE FRONT OF YOUR LICENSE, something I was definitely not aware of until now, I'm even MORE extra-angry about that small injustice. I think I've found a political cause I can really rally around. Stop the madness, Georgia! Don't nobody need to see your fake weight on the front of your card!!
The really funny thing is that after the entire torturous procedure, the lady helping me (who was actually incredibly helpful, kind, patient, and good-natured...and even called Millie cute!) asked whether I wanted a five-year or eight-year license. Like...is that even a real question? Do I want to come relive this horrible experience in five years or in eight years? Hmmm...let me think about it. (And then I thought about it and realized that Millie will be either five or eight then, and it was the saddest thought ever. She won't be a baby! Waaaah!!)
So anyway. For every one of you that think Millie is the cutest and most precious and happiest baby on earth (and you are all right), there is a random citizen of Athens who thinks that both Millie and her mom are the spawn of Satan and spent 30 minutes on Wednesday afternoon wishing a plague on our house and probably took sneaky pictures of us and tweeted them with mean captions. And we deserved it. My deepest apologies, Athens. See ya in eight years!