Whenever Regina informs me that our baby daughter will be under my care for the day, my response is always the same: casual nonchalance. "Cool. No problemo," I say. But inside, there's a thundercloud of fear, ready to rain terror on me for the rest of the unsupervised day. Will I accidently feed my baby to the cows? Will I think it's a great photo opportunity to set Dylan on the back of a bull? Will I put her on the flatbed with the dogs as I charge from field to field? I'd like to think that the answer to these questions is a resounding HELL NO! But, I never can swear on it.
And so, when Dylan rolled out of her car seat and wedged herself between the bench seat and the passenger door of the feed truck, amongst rusty nails, abandoned ear tags, BO-SE stained syringes, and whatever is on our boots when we work, it shouldn't have been too much of a surprise. And really, it wasn't.
It was all very innocent. Grant, Dylan, and I were giving the feedlot steers their bags of mineral salt (Mmmm, salty beef). As I was pouring the salt into the wooden feeders and as Grant was stirring in the extra Iodine we give our calves, Dylan somehow toppled over in her car seat (which was not buckled) and fell out (neither was she).
I strolled to the gate (the diesel engine drowned out her cries for help) to shut it behind the truck and observed, as it drove by, Grant holding a screaming Dylan in his lap like Britney Spears taking her kids on a roadtrip. The look on his face told me he wished he had fed cows with Greg that day.
My first thought was, "No one can ever tell Regina." Guilt soon overwhelmed me and I called her five minutes later.
"Is she alright?" she asked.
She didn't even sound mad. And she wasn't. And Dylan quit crying and actually had a good rest-of-the-day with her favorite dad and favorite (or top 3) uncle. And Regina even let Dylan feed cows with me the very next week.
"Can you take Dylan today?" she asked.
New questions poured into my brain: Will Dylan fall out of the truck? Will Kevin Federline get custody? Why do we feed salt?
"No problem," I replied.