Field Trip — UCLA Baby Lab

Today was a bit of an adventure for Maya and I.  When Maya was probably a month old, I received a letter in the mail from UCLA stating that they had got my and Maya’s info from public records and that she may be eligible to participate in some studies that would garner her a gift.  These studies were short, for the most part, and “safe” – I could be with Maya the whole time and then she would get something fun, not to mention we would be giving our contribution to science and I would be getting out of the house.  All I had to do was send in a little card and they would call me when something came up.

Well not a week after I sent in my info, did I get a call from the UCLA Baby Lab.  Maya was eligible for a study regarding visual development and I just needed to make an appointment to come in. She would have to watch 3 5-minute videos and that’s it.

So of course, despite her having slept through the night for the past month, last night Maya decided to not only be Houdini but also to give her first dance recital in her bassinet at 2 o’clock in the morning.  I woke up to the sound of unswaddled baby up against bassinet side and freaked out.  I jumped up, looked in the bassinet and saw not only had she gotten out of her swaddle, but she had shoved herself up lengthwise against the top of the bassinet and was thrashing around (still asleep mind you…) I picked her up and put her back in the middle, after which she of course woke up, gave me huge smiles and continued to boogie.  Ev thought he could get her back down but I had a feeling she was hungry and … she was. I fed her and noticed it was raining pretty hard and thought gee, what a nice morning it will be to drive on the 405. NOT.

35 long minutes later, she was reswaddled and put back to bed, only to wake up again around 6:30a.  The morning continued without a hitch, other than the perfunctory puking all over the first outfit and me having to wake her up from her nap to leave and then we were off.  I figured since it was the Monday after Easter that everything would be hunky dory on the roads – and the rain was done so I thought that 45 minutes to go 10 miles should be sufficient. I must have been sleep deprived or something because it took nearly 25 minutes just to get to the damn Sepulveda Pass from Coldwater. So rather than getting to the Lab at 10:30a, I was getting off at Sunset then and the number I had down for the Lab was wrong (sorry Oprah I did use the phone in the car, but at least it was with my headset!).

After turning into the wrong parking lot and entering the wrong entrance of Franz Hall, we were finally in the Lab.  They had me sign some consent forms and got the study ready at which point Maya decided that she was hungry again of course. I asked if I could stay in the quiet study area and nurse and they told me to take my time. Well Maya must have heard her and understood that part as only G-d knows how many minutes later did one of the lab guys knock on the door to ask me if I was ok LOL. I told him we were fine but that my daughter was just taking her sweet time eating.

After what seemed like an eternity, we got started with the study which involved a videotape tracking Maya’s eyes while she watched a few videos. They were partly trying to determine at what age a child’s visual development starts to behave like an adult’s. She did great for the first one, kvetched for the 2nd video and liked the 3rd until Ernie from Sesame Street left the screen and then all hell broke loose. The lab tech was kind enough to not have us finish as they would have enough data regardless.  We wrapped up, I picked out Maya’s gift (a tee-shirt for an 18 mos. old) and the tech walked me to the correct exit so I didn’t have to bounce the stroller down a flight of stairs…again.  I found my way to my car, popped the car seat in, put the stroller in the trunk and was on my way.  20 minutes later I was in my garage. Funny how it took over an hour to get there, but only 20 minutes to get back. I love LA.

All in all the experience was cool, though if I do it again, I need to make sure that Maya does the study in the afternoon so she gets a good morning nap in and I don’t end up spending the entire afternoon soothing her because she is overtired…when I am overtired.   Gah.

By Joy

I'm 42, a remarried mom of an 8 year old girl and a toddler son, a teacher, and a writer. People tell me I tend to be brutally honest and ...tell it like it is, so I had hoped to use this outlet to keep me sane while I got used to my new life as a stay-at-home Mom back when I was home with my worked. And it's been therapeutic through the end of a marriage and the emergence of me...

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