Lord of the Rings
It’s very rare when I actually wake up the baby. Maddie either wakes me up or I cater to her whenever she wakes up. So it was a new experience when I had to get her up this morning to go to a doctor’s appointment in the city.
Many people use the word precious very freely. Not me. It’s a word that I have rarely had any occasion to use unless I was doing a Lord of the Rings imitation of Smeagol. But Maddie’s reaction to being woken up this morning was the spot on definition of the word precious.
I softly called her name. Maddie wiggled and just barely opened her eyes to determine who was waking her up. She saw it was her father and gave me the warmest and most loving smile I have ever seen. Then she closed her eyes and went back to sleep.
I gently prompted her again, “Madddieee.”
She greeted me with that same smile before quickly falling back asleep.
Its little moments like this that makes this the best job anyone could hope for.
However, by the time we got out the door, we were in a serious time crunch. I bundled Maddie up in the stroller against the nasty wind blowing off of the Hudson River and took off.
We had 14 minutes to scamper one mile, buy a ferry ticket and board the ferry. And they’re off… Maddie and I were half speed walking and half jogging as we made our way through the streets of Jersey City.
I could see the ferry crossing the river as we steamed towards the ticket terminal. We burst through the doors with our adrenaline pumping! There was only one person in line – Niiccee!!
Maddie wheeled up behind the woman in line who was counting out $13.75 in quarters??? And the clerk was going through each one, “Nope, this quarter is Canadian – oops, so is this one.” Meanwhile, our ferry is docking right out front and the clock is ticking. “Oh, this one is American, right?”
“Hmmm, let’s see, I only need one more dollar,” said the befuddled woman. Before she could make a move I slapped down a buck and calmly said “Sold – Please print her ticket and give me one to Wall Street!” Maddie eyed me curiously as people started to board our boat.
The clerk laid down the woman’s ticket and ours came next. I snatched the ticket just as the ferryman was chaining up the entrance – “One more coming!” I announced. He lifted the chain as Maddie and I darted onto the platform. The boat lurched backwards and Maddie gave me that coy smile that said, “You can not be serious!”
Parents often sit back and watch the various ways people react when they catch a quick glimpse of the baby. Thursday morning presented one of the most bizarre encounters with Maddie that I’ve seen yet.
A quick trip to a local merchant triggered a joyous – but wildly odd reaction from the woman behind the counter that left the baby out-of-sorts and me scratching my head.
I had the car seat with Maddie in my right hand and a stack of clothes in my left. I walked into the drycleaners, set the car seat on the floor and the clothes on the counter. Suddenly a frantic cry split the morning’s silence startling the baby and her father, “Oh my goshhhhh – Hello baby, Hellloooo!!”
Before we could react, the clerk was motoring around the counter towards the baby who was strapped into the car seat. She was squealing the whole way – “Hello BayyBeee – HELLLOOOO!!!”
Maddie looked up at the strange incoming woman with a bewildered look on her face. The woman crouched down, reached into the car seat and grasped both of Maddie’s thighs. She started pumping Maddie’s little legs all the while crying out, “Baby – What are you doing baby?”
Taken aback by this series of strange incidents – Maddie looked desperately to me for guidance and then started screaming at the top of her lungs.
“OH NOOOOO, Baby!” The scary and loud woman was reaching for Maddie’s face with her dirty hands when I snatched up the car seat and said maybe I better hold onto her for now. I exchanged a few awkward pleasantries with the woman and exited the store with the less-than-impressed young Madeleine.
My little girl was still shaken by the volume of the greeting and the impromptu leg pumping session. I gently massaged Maddie’s face and soothed her and within 30 seconds, that strange little encounter was all but forgotten. As I placed Maddie into the car – she admonished me with a harsh look that seemed to say, “What were you thinking?”
Sadly, I’m still searching for the answer to that one.