My amazing 7-month-old daughter turned lunchtime at Panera into the Maddie Show this afternoon. She wrapped her grandparents around her little finger and left them there for the rest of the afternoon. The baby was completely in her element. Her two main ingredients were in abundance – food and attention.
The three of them couldn’t get enough of each other. They joked, snuggled and told secrets that grandparents only share with their grandchildren. Maddie got passed back and forth from grandparent to grandparent and giggled with delight during each hand off.
I kept a piece of bread in Maddie’s hand during lunch because she’s made it very clear that everyone should eat together during mealtime. She also enjoys sharing soggy dough with the clothes being worn by whoever has the pleasure of holding her at the time.
Maddie took great pleasure in showing grandpa her core strength by arching her back and actually hanging her head upside down. All of this while keeping death grip on her precious piece of soggy bread.
She also had her grandmother shucking and dodging those killer Maddie headbutts. The baby throws them without warning and has actually tagged her grandmother before. To this day, that lucky shot keeps grandma on high alert every time she has the baby on her lap.
The baby’s mood continued to improve as she began to capture attention from other tables in the restaurant. She accomplished this by speaking very loudly in a language known only to her. Her grandparents were amazed at the skill and volume of this loud and nonsensical pubic offering.
Once Maddie was all chatted out, it was time to head home. Lunch was over and Maddie had already soaked every piece of bread the restaurant had to offer in her famous baby saliva. She gave her grandparents a final wave and settled into the car seat for a well-deserved nap.
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.