Dear fellow hockey moms and dads:

Yes, it’s me again. The mom who always brings her infant daughter into the locker room while dressing her son for hockey practice. I’m sorry about the screaming. Again. I know it’s loud. And annoying. But my son really wants to learn to play hockey, just like your sons and daughters do. Because my husband works most evenings, I have to bring the baby with me.

I realize you are probably thrilled when you see Elliot walk into the arena with his daddy – for a couple reasons. 1) He doesn’t have the tired, screaming baby with him because she’s home with me. And 2) He actually knows how the hockey equipment goes on and doesn’t have to ask the 5-year-old for instructions. Daddy stays calm and doesn’t get frazzled. I bet he even says things nicely, instead of, “ELLIOT, SIT BACK AND PUT YOUR FOOT UP SO I CAN GET THIS STUPID SKATE ON!”

Not that you really want an explanation for the screaming, but here’s the deal.

I work for six hours while my little hockey player is in school. After I pick him up, I fetch Cecilia from daycare. We go home, and everyone eats. Yes, I feed the baby. I know you find this hard to believe because of all the screaming, but I really do feed her.

I begin looking for the darn Under Armour that goes under the hockey equipment. Dryer? No. Floor of the laundry room? No. Hamper? No. Hockey bag that’s still in the car after last week’s sweaty practice? Yep. That’s right, the Under Armour is dirty. Hockey is stinky. Get over it.

I ask Elliot to please put on the Under Armour. He whines because he wants to finish coloring his picture. I make sure Cecilia’s diaper bag has teethers and toys that I hope maybe will keep her entertained this time. I again ask Elliot to take off his shirt and put on the Under Armour. He sighs, puts down his crayon and gives me a look. “If you don’t want to go to hockey practice,” I tell him, “we’ll just stay home,” all the while thinking, “Please say you don’t want to go.”

“OK,” he relents and dons the smelly garb.

Cecilia is in her exersaucer, and she is happy as can be. I know this is unbelievable to you, but for the other 23 hours of the day that don’t involve hockey practice, she is happy! One of the happiest babies you will ever meet. Super easygoing and mellow. I hear you all calling me a liar, but it’s true.

Elliot in his hockey gear
At least Elliot is happy!

I put both kids, the hockey equipment, the diaper bag and my purse into the car.

Notice how I did not mention the stroller. This is a new modification. I realize now bringing the huge stroller into the locker room was a mistake. I read your body language as you had to maneuver around that monstrosity. I hope you approve of just bringing the infant carrier/car seat thingy. It’s much more awkward for me to carry, but I’m going with that for now because it takes up considerably less space. And, we all know that space is precious because we all have those massive equipment bags!

Thanks to those of you who have come over and talked to Cecilia while I’m getting Elliot dressed. Did you notice how she stops screaming when you do that? She really likes the attention! I welcome other baby cheerer-uppers as long as you keep your hands off her.

The only other proposed solution I have for the screaming baby problem is an earlier practice time. I know 6:30 doesn’t sound late, but in baby land, it is. Cecilia usually is asleep by 7 or 7:30, so hockey practice time is actually the baby’s bath time. And, she loves bath time. Maybe that’s why she’s screaming – because she knows she’s going to miss bath time on hockey practice night, and she’s mad! You know what? She did give me the evil eye last week when, after hockey practice, I was starting Elliot’s shower water while holding her. That has to be it.

As my dad always says – I’m doing the best I can with what I have to work with. (Please excuse the sentence ending in a preposition. I’m usually a better writer than that.)