Friday, July 13, 2007

Just one of those dinners where you hope that people will say nice things at your eulogy after the floor swallows you up

We have street fairs about every two weeks during the summer. This particular one featured an ice cream cake eating contest that I talked my 4 AND A HALF year old daughter to participate in. I travel attached by stroller to my symbiont, my 13 month old daughter. Of course, when I signed up, there was no mention that as the parent I was supposed to help my competing child by holding her plate and her hair while she tried to scarf down the frozen cake. As the competition drew underway, I was about 4 feet from the table, a solid wall of spectators between me and my eldest daughter. Also, the competition was "under 12", so regardless of whether my daughter brought her game on, she clearly was outmatched by those who were 3 times her age.

"Where is your mother?" one of the volunteers demanded.

"I think she's over there." Lauren pointed.


"Here." I snapped. Lindsay, meanwhile, was staging an escape from the stroller by standing up and wriggling out of the five-point restraints. As she stood up, I scooped the seventeen pound babe up with my left hand while the stroller stubbornly fell backwards under the weight of the 10 pound diaper bag no longer counterweighted.

The volunteer considered demanding that I go up there. He looked away from my stare. "I'll assist this competitor," he said quietly.

"Thanks." I said over the sound of my wailing baby.

After the 5 minute competition was lost, we made our way to the end of the block to the local steakhouse for dinner, baby still stuck under an arm, crying daughter in the stroller to counterweight the diaper bag. "My past port [little yellow paper with star stickers from each business we visited] got dirty," she whimpered.

"You can have mine," I said, trying not to meet the glance of one of the mothers from her pre-k class.

The restaurant's entrance, up a half flight of stairs meant I had to collapse the MacClaren and sling it over my shoulder along with the diaper bag.

As we were seated, I tried hard not to knock into anyone with my nearly numb left shoulder, sporting a stroller and a swollen diaper bag. As soon as I placed the stroller on the floor and the bag on a chair, Potty was announced.

We returned to find although the drinks we'd ordered were on the table, the high chair and booster I'd requested still had not arrived, so I sat with the baby in my lap while my daughter complained she couldn't reach her milk. The high chair was surreptitiously placed while I tried to pour off some of my 4 AND A HALF year old's milk into a sippy cup with one hand and hold a squirming toddler in the other, desperate to grasp the cup.

I gave up and placed her in the high chair, which is a mistake until the food arrives to distract. As I turned to grab a toy out of the diaper bag, she stood up unsteadily shaking the chair. I reached to set her back on her rear and knocked a bread plate off the table. It hit the metal table feet and broke in 2 with a loud clang as every eye on the restaurant was suddenly on me.


Joy, of course said...

Oh this scene is the story of my life. Why is it that other people seem perfectly capable of handling multiple children with grace while I am the one with one screaming, one nagging and stuff knocked all over the place. Yes you get WME points for this just for the frustration factor.

karen said...

I vote for:

1 WMP for not supporting your eldest during her debut cake eating contest.

1 WMP for not bribing at least one twelve-year-old to let Lauren finish ahead

1 Angel Among Men Point (AAMP) for giving up your hard-earned past port

-1 WMP for braving the steakhouse despite Looks from Other Parents

1 WMP for thinking what you thought when Potty was announced

-1 WMP for not blaming someone else for breaking the plate (by any chance, was Art Begotti on it?)

I hope you had wine with dinner?