When we walked in the door, my daughter was not screaming. She was not whining. She was not misbehaving in any way in fact. But judging from the disdainful expression on your face when you saw her walk in, the dramatic eyerolling, the exaggerated head shaking from side to side, you’d have thought she was reaching into her own diaper and flinging crap right into your eggs benedict.
I tried smiling at you but was met with the most pinched, sour, evil expression I have perhaps ever experienced while holding a smiling child in my arms. It was as if I came face to face with the real live witch from all those fairy tales–the one who, in the end, gets baked in an oven or drowned in a lake while all the townspeople cheer.
Only this time she held not a broom but a USA Today and a cup of lukewarm tea.
What I really wanted to do was grab a chair at your table, sit down across from you and your equally uptight husband and say, You see this baby here? She’s glorious. She’s beautiful. She radiates goodness. She brings happiness into every life that she touches, if only for a moment. But your anger and negativity means will never get to experience that joy, and that, my dear, is your own sad loss.
Then I fantasized (as we neared seven minutes waiting to be seated) about taking a more confrontational approach. To walk right up to you and ask you what the fuck your problem is. And when you looked shocked, shocked at being called on your shit, I would say, see here’s the thing: Your plan backfired. People like you, you count on being the only rude person in the room, and that all the polite people will allow you to get away with your attitude. Not this time. You’re messing with the wrong mommy this morning–I’m pregnant, I’m hormonal, I skipped dinner last night, and I’ve got twenty years on you. So let’s get it out in the open right now: What the fuck is your problem? And if your answer doesn’t include some sort of story about being held captive and tortured for six days back in the 60s by three crazed toddlers in a makeshift prison made of barbed wire and Play-Doh, then you’d better take a good look in the mirror and give your attitude towards kids another thought.
Next my inner highschooler chimed in and I thought about just coming out and telling you how ugly you were (as we seated ourselves at a table, dragging the highchair loudly right past your table even if it was the long way around), how the ugliness just radiates from inside to out. But Nate beat me to that one. Out loud, and not in much of a mumble. But you already knew that.
And so I dealt with you in the first way that sprung to mind. As we walked out the door to forage for food elsewhere, I stood right next to you, and sweetly told the baby to wave bye-bye to you. Which she did, good girl that she is. Then I told you to have a nice day.
Let’s just say you got off easy this time.
PS We greatly enjoyed our meal at IHop. It was cheaper, it was friendlier, it didn’t take fifteen minutes to get a damn waitress to acknowledge us, and Thalia got to play with the little chihuahua poking his head out of the purse of the lady next to us. Oh yes…there was a dog in the restaurant. I bet you would have had a field day with that one.
Mrs. Fortune, this one’s for you.