Yesterday, I had my first extended outing with RR on my own. Well, my mother was with us, too, but we might as well have been on our own, ifyouknowwhatImean. (Yes, my mother. Yes, she’s back. But she’s only been here since Wednesday afternoon and is leaving tomorrow. No, no one has killed anyone. Yet.) What’s made the visit tolerable so far is the fact that my wife has been at work yesterday and today, making me the only person spending all day trying to let her comments and conversations roll off my back. Seriously – I should only really subject myself to this sort of unique torture. Well, me and RR – we did have a pep talk and fist bump beforehand, though.
Sometime yesterday morning, my mom said she wanted to take us out to lunch, and left it up to me to decide where to go. Now, I don’t know if other parents of unpredictable screaming inconsolable infants do this, but we try to limit ourselves to eating places where we can a) we can walk up to the counter and order (thus taking out the wait-staff middleman) and b) sit at an outdoor table (where we can escape quickly, or at least the screaming can be muffled by outside background noise). This has seemed to work pretty well so far, so I suggested the nearby Panera. Or, as my mother calls it, The Paneras.
Around 12pm, RR woke up from her morning nap and I began the pre-house-leaving preparations. My mom, sensing RR’s unpredictability (and the fact that she still screams whenever she holds her), gave us the optional out of not going if I didn’t want to… you know, if it was going to be stressful. Me, sensing that there was no other lunch food in the house other than crackers, pickles, and ice, insisted that we go. I fed RR from 12pm-12:20pm and the clock started ticking from when she would want to eat again.
Now I don’t mind feeding RR in public. We (finally) have a system that works that doesn’t involve feeding her a cold bottle (angry baby is angry!), but by the time it takes me to MacGyver a bottle in public (thanks, Dr. Brown, for making the most complicated bottles ever, even if she hardly ever spits up) RR usually has lost her patience. Whereas my wife and I have a pretty smooth system down (proud members of the bottle-fixing pit crew), I wanted to avoid having to feed her with my mom in tow. So tick tock!
I packed the diaper bag and we were on our way. Triumph #1: RR didn’t fuss at all in the car, despite being awake. We arrived at The Paneras, finally ordered our food (“Read me the sandwiches on the menu,” my mom says), and lifted RR’s car seat sun shield so that the ladies behind the counter could wave and coo. Still alert, still not crying, and in fact, looking particularly adorable – triumph #2. By the grace of God, there was an outdoor table available, complete with an umbrella. They strolled over and got comfortable while I fetched our food and drinks.
My mom had situated RR’s stroller so that she was the only one who had access to her, but that quickly changed when RR decided to fuss. (Shit – this lady again? Mama, where’d you go?!) I took charge, wheeled her over to me, and rocked her stroller with my foot as I started to eat. She fell sound asleep – triumph #3. We had a nice lunch (“Oooh look at all this fruit in this salad!” my mom says) and I tried not to engage in my mom’s game of CouldaShouldaWoulda, where she reminisces about all of the decisions she’s ever made. Ever. Made.
RR woke up, and we strolled out of the heat and into the CVS to pick up some prescriptions. More ooh’s and ahh’s from some kids in the waiting area, and one mom who said she thought RR was having some gas. Seriously – what? Are you commenting on my daughter’s potential fictitious gas during the five minutes I’m waiting in line? I digress, as that’s a whole other post.
It was hard not to run any other errands while we were out strolling, especially those errands involving ice cream, but I checked the clock and knew that our time out had expired. We strolled towards the car and made it home in time to warm a bottle and feed RR before even a hint of a meltdown – triumph #4. She then proceeded to sleep for four hours straight. Apparently my mom can wear down and exhaust even the littlest of ears.
This is all to say, if there was one day, one time, one lunch that I needed RR to pretend that she is a child who can be out in public without incident, it was yesterday. All we’ve heard since from my mom is how good she was during lunch. She even called people. Several people. It made me look like a competent mother, and made RR look like a cooperative infant, both which are arguable depending on the day. But to look like a good mom in front of my own mom? Totally fucking badass.