Since Maddie was born six months ago, I have had more than my share of caffeinated beverages – but I really didn’t think I was drinking too much coffee. That foolish notion was shot down this afternoon when we walked in to the local Starbucks.
We were barley three steps through the door when heard a chorus of baristas greeting the baby – “Hellooo Madeleine!”
As we made our way to the counter, I could feel the eyes on Maddie as she basked in the glow of all the attention. She batted her eyes at each person behind the counter and they went nuts. “Oh she smiled at me!” “Ohh, she’s looking at me!”
You would have thought that Justin Bieber had just walked in and ordered a Shirley Temple Latte. I stood at the counter with Maddie strapped into the Bjorn as they peppered her with questions and compliments: “What did you do today Madeleine? Are you in a good mood? I love her smile. I want a baby!”
Hey now, keep it clean kids! Maddie’s dad was more than delighted to watch his baby girl’s impromptu press conference. At one point, they even managed to take his coffee order.
Things became even more entertaining when one the employees who had just come on got the word that Maddie was in the store. You could hear the whisper, “Look down there, Madeleine is here!”
By this time, Maddie had her bottom lip out and was done with all the adulation. This did not help to quiet the crowd, quite the opposite really.
“Oh look, she’s pouting – how cute is she?” They have still yet to hear one of the baby’s more potent temper tantrums. Maddie seemed especially annoyed that her fans were just as captivated by her frowns as they were by her smiles. Hey kid, fame is a fickle beast!
Maddie made the trip to Western Jersey today to celebrate her grandmother’s birthday. The plan was to feed Maddie once we got to the restaurant, but she had a hunger initiated temper tantrum at home a good hour before feeding time.
I pumped her full of mother’s milk that induced a full-bore food coma and hit the highway. An hour later, the baby was still zonked out when we walked into a very noisy Panera restaurant. The raucous lunchtime crowd didn’t phase Maddie a bit as she gently slept in her chair.
An hour later we arrived at her grandparents house and still the baby kept sleeping!
Finally I decided if nothing else, I had to at least swap out her diaper. Maddie came to with a happy grin on her face, ready to cast her spell of charm over her grandparents. Grandma fed the baby and the entire scene was nothing short of butterscotch and ponies.
All we had to do now was drive home. We hadn’t made it very far when Maddie started rocking and rolling.
(Warning, warning we are under attack! This is not a drill!!)
There was a Starbucks up at the next exit – seemingly the perfect place to chill Maddie out and grab some caffeine.
Maddie read my mind and knew she had to think fast. The baby must have slowed her heart rate like a Ninja so that PaPa would have no idea that he was walking right into a trap. We made it to Starbucks and Maddie smiled sweetly as I plucked her out of the backseat. But just as we crossed the threshold into the store – Maddie let go with a tortured cry of anguish that shook the building in it very foundation.
“What is it sweetheart?” I pleaded. This time she screamed even louder and suddenly, we were the center of attention at the coffee house – the main attraction if you will. I implored Maddie to take it easy – and for a moment it looked like she was ready to settle down. I quickly ordered a drink when the Madster lashed out again. This Starbucks now reminded me of the restaurant robbery scene in the movie Pulp Fiction – everyone stared at the baby – dreading what might come next.
The tisk-tisk looks were already floating towards our direction and it was time to get out of dodge. Then I heard a little girl ask her Mom, “Is that really her father?” Whoops, there goes my parent of the year nomination!
I’m not sure what subtle cues I had missed, but the situation was degrading quickly and there was still the little matter of the drive home.
I wrestled my little tigress back into the car and got back on the highway praying for to the traffic gods for little good luck. The motion of the car gently rocked the baby to sleep as my pulse rate slowly slipped out of the red. We were only about six miles short of home sweet home when we ran into the back breaker. Every approach into the city was jammed. It took less than 30 seconds for Maddie to reach the same conclusion.
PAYBACK TIME – Maddie gave PaPa both barrels as we inched along in the traffic and it was then that I realized that my baby has a bright future as an interrogator for the CIA. There’s not a criminal or terrorist alive who would be able to withstand ten minutes of that Maddie-flavored chaos without giving up the goods and divulging everything she needed to know.