My 11-month-old daughter Maddie has been in the process of finding new and creative ways to express herself. If you periodically read about the baby or if you have met her, it’s quite obvious that she does not like to be ignored. When you combine these two elements together, you have a potentially explosive situation on you hands.
This afternoon at brunch, Maddie had quite an adoring crowd surrounding her. Parents, grandparents and even Aunt Joni and Uncle Tim were showing Maddie the love. The restaurant was packed and Maddie was in high spirits.
At some point in the next ten minutes, the adults must have become involved in a conversation where Maddie’s opinion was not being sought at the time. We were sitting there chatting when a high-pitched screech split the air. Every single head in the restaurant swung in our direction.
This is not an exaggeration. Every person in that place was momentarily stunned into silence by the sheer volume and intensity of Maddie’s eruption. Some people were confused, some irritated and others just amused that a baby could stun such a large group of people into submission like that. The lull of silence lasted almost an entire two seconds before everyone resumed his or her previous activities.
As for our table, nobody really knew what to say. We exchanged some nervous glances and went on with our meal. Maddie’s parents are all too familiar with this type of outburst. However, it was fascinating to see the stinging reactions it produces in public. It appears that Maddie is not quite polished enough for the outside world, but we will keep trying.
Where there is smoke, there is fire. Sitting a pair of 8-month-old girls within about ten feet of each other is a prime example of flirting with disaster. Two little girls who had never met before, decided it was best to announce their presence with authority. Not just to one another, but also to the entire dining room.
It all started when the little girl next to our table started eyeballing Maddie. We will never know if this was a challenge or simple curiosity. But Maddie knew just what to do – she spontaneously started crying as if she had been pinched in the arm. This could have been a simple case of hunger, but the timing was almost too perfect.
After listening to Maddie cry for a short period of time, the other little girl thought it was important that she chime in on this one. Once I distracted Maddie with a carrot, they both stopped crying at the same time. Hmmm, what were these little demons up to?
I started chatting with the mother at the other table and found out that her little one was almost the exact same age as Madeleine. I also noted that her baby was eating some type of crunchy cereal. When I asked her about it, she offered me some to share with Maddie. This was a good thing as Maddie was pretty much fed up with all the lettuce and carrots I had been pushing on her.
However, as the mother offered me these tiny nuggets, her own daughter went nuts. She wanted to know how her mom could be giving away her precious food to some strange baby she had never met. This produced a chain reaction as Maddie joined in on this chorus of tears. Now the entire restaurant was being treated to the dulcet tones of the unhappy duo.
I was trying to get Maddie to try some cereal, but she was determined to match her new friend in pitch, tone and volume. They actually sounded quite good together. (Not really) However, once I got some cereal into Maddie’s trap, she lost all interest in the crying game. Again, as soon as Maddie stopped crying, her friend instantly relaxed as well.
This is when I realized that these devious divas were having a great time at their parent’s expense. What’s not to love here? Two sets of parents scrambling around trying to convince their girls to simmer down.
This was a case of two babies matching their actions and responses based solely on what the other one was doing. Were they communicating? Were they showing off? Again we will never know, but it’s good to see Maddie embracing teamwork at such a young and tender age.
Maddie had her first lunch in the company of another baby on Monday afternoon at a local Thai restaurant. As soon as we came through the door – I could see the look of fear and confusion clouding the face of the young man who was to be our server.
Strangely, having babies in his section was very unnerving for this young man. He stammered as he took our order – casting quick nervous glances from baby to baby as if one of them might jump on his head and bite him in the eye.
On the surface, the concept of using hot water to heat the baby’s bottle seems rather simple – but apparently there are several complexities to this process that never even occurred to me.
I told the waiter that I would eventually need some boiling water for the baby’s bottle. To his credit, he rushed a cup of boiling water right out to me – but Maddie was still sleeping and not ready for her bottle.
15 minutes later – Maddie was stirring, but the water had gotten cold. When I asked the server for a second cup of hot water – things took a very strange turn. He took the cup away and returned moments later with the same cup. I stuck my finger in the cup only discover that he had topped it off the cup with cold water.
Hmmm, I must be missing something. I called the server back and asked him if he could heat it up for me. He took the cup away and brought back a small ceramic teapot with a tiny hole in the top. The water was hot this time – but there was no cup and the baby’s bottle was too large to fit in the teapot.
OK – Let’s try again. I kindly asked the server to bring me an empty cup – sure enough; he came back with another cup – but this time it was full of cold water. At this point, Maddie is more than restless and our server has proven to be more than clueless. Let’s face it – this guy needs to be featured in the ESPN segment called, “C’Mon Man!”
Sorry Maddie – but today you are stuck with milk at room temperature. In retrospect, Maddie probably should have gone ahead and given the server a good bite on the arm. It might have been warmer than the cold water he kept bringing to the table.