Sunday, July 03, 2005

We are those people

Yesterday we got out of town. Literally. We made our first sojourn to London as a family to do a little shopping. Chad needed to get some new running gear, as he is pounding the life out of the stuff he currently has. He has also just found a regular running partner who has more gadgets than he has, and I think he feels the need to keep up. As for me, well, I needed a new bathing suit. I bought the one I wear most often prior to our honeymoon – so that’s four years ago – and it is doing a woeful job, I discovered during our swim the other day, of keeping up with my breastfeeding boobs. Not to mention that a little more coverage in other areas never hurts the postpartum figure.

So off we went to London, with Little Bird (as we’ve taken to calling Liam) in tow. He snoozed the whole way in the car and for the first half hour or so in his stroller at Masonville. And when he woke up, he quite enjoyed looking around. Masonville has some great stores and nice skylights and a grand food court – it’s a definite step up from the paltry Downtown Chatham Centre to which he has grown accustomed. Shopping locally will never quite have the same cachet again.

Eventually, of course, Liam started up the whole let’s-try-to-fit-both-fists-into-my-mouth-at-once routine. He goes from being perfectly happy to perfectly ravenous at a speed of about zero to sixty. And once he signals that he’s hungry, it’s not long before he completely melts down. (Because as we all know, he is just on the brink of starvation. Look at his gaunt little cheeks, can’t you see it?) Luckily, it was Sears to the rescue. Among the bits of wisdom I’ve accumulated this year: all Sears stores have nursing rooms, resplendent with rocking chairs and change tables and diaper genies, for your comfort. Of course, there is something in it for them – the walls are solidly papered with nursing bra posters. It was like sitting through a twenty minute commercial in there.

After some more shopping, during which I discovered that it’s a mistake to look for a swimsuit on the first weekend in July because the retail world has already moved onto the fall and winter season, Chad and I were ravenous ourselves. And this led to a big discussion about whether or not we were ready to go out to eat as a family. (I had gone out to lunch once with Liam, when he was about two weeks old, but at that time he was sleeping 20 hours a day and in hindsight I really had very little to worry about.) We circled the mall a couple of times having this discussion and even postponed the inevitable for a while by sampling the Happy Canada Day cake being served by a sour looking woman at The Bay. But eventually we decided to make a break for it (the lure of the Jack Astor’s Vanilla Coke was too strong) and headed to the restaurant right across the street.

By this time it was about 2:30 and the place was largely deserted, but of course for staffing purposes they squished us and the other five patrons all into the same corner of the restaurant. The staff brought Liam a hammock-type thing that holds an infant carrier at table height so we could keep an eye on Little Bird. We were unbelievably nervous and tried to speed through the ordering process as quickly as possible. For his part, Liam really did do a good job – it’s got to be boring as hell sitting in that same car seat day in and day out, completely at your parents’ mercy. He hung in there until we were halfway through our meals and then the pent-up rage exploded and he started to shriek.

This, of course, elicited lots of disapproving looks from the other five diners in the place, and we fumbled with the straps to get him out of the car seat post-haste to shush him. He was fine once he was on my lap and kept quiet for the rest of the meal (which then dragged on much longer than it had to – you try eating a club sandwich with one hand.) When Chad finished eating I passed Liam over to him so I could finish faster. Liam has never purposefully reached for anything in his life, but he was quite taken with Chad’s lemonade and with a couple of clumsy, possibly-intentional swipes, nearly dumped it a few times.

Now wouldn’t that have been a sight – to not only have a loud child, but to have one who is just wrecking the place. I’ve spent the last thirty years of my life being the one shooting the disapproving looks at people with unruly kids in tow. Now I’m the mom frantically giving out apologetic smiles to all the other customers. From thinking little ones are better left at home, to an indignant stance that Liam is a person too, and how else is he supposed to learn about the world but by experiencing it first hand, for better or for worse? We are those people now, the ones who take their kids out and just learn to grin and bear the humiliation. Ahh, Little Bird, be kind.


Anonymous said...

Don't worry Carrie, 'those people' who deserve the disapproving glares are the ones who make no attempt to placate or hush their child, but rather, seem to treat any time in public places as a break from parenting altogether. They seem to think that it is much the responcibility of anyone around them (server, sales associate etc.) to take care of their children as their own. (Guess who this is coming from!)

megan said...

I'm glad to see that you guys are using the pool. There is a baby floatation device in the shed that the girls really liked. Did Cory tell you we won't be back until Tuesday? I hope Chad is watering the flowers.

Carrie said...

I'm guessing #1 is from Katrina - because you've been in that situation!! (My second guess would be Joan - sounds like something she would write... hmmm...)

Megan - no he didn't tell me that! Don't worry, I'm doing the flowers myself. I'll get over there again tomorrow to check on them. Hope your weekend is going well.

cinnamon said...

Just hitting the next blog button and couldn't resist.I work as a server/supervisor/manager in a family restaurant and always have to laugh when someone comes and asks us to ask someone with a child to leave or to get their kids to be quiet.
I guess when you get OLD, you forget that young children have very few ways of voicing their needs.
By the way, your little bird is adorable. It makes me want one.