Sunday, November 28, 2004

Please Get Your Child's Fingers Out of My Tuna Melt

So I’m at playgroup and we’ve spent time “playing” (which, for Daniel, means sitting on my lap staring at the insanity going on around him and wondering why some kid is trying to eat his rattle). Now it’s time for lunch. This is when all moms, kids in tow, head to the café. This is followed by ten minutes of madness, as everyone tries to get enough chairs, high chairs, strollers and various other apparatus around one table, get the kids situated and their food out and then, finally, eat. Or try to eat.

Daniel of course is being a perfect angel and is observing from his car seat/throne. He’s starting to drift off to the sounds of a 16-month old screaming “NONO NONONOWANTFRENCHFRYNOWNOWNOWFRENCH FRYNOWNOWNOW” and I am happily reaching for my food when I see a grubby little hand land in the middle of my tuna melt. It belongs to a 16-month old with a perpetually dirty face and a mischievous manner that I don’t trust.

Instead of growling “Get your little fingers out of my food, you little punk,” I laugh merrily and say, “Oh, aren’t you cute? YOUR lunch is right over there. See?” I point to his little bits of cut up something or other mashed onto his plate. When this doesn’t work, I gently move his hand away. But it’s back, faster this time as he makes a desperate lunge for my sandwich. He’s grasping and reaching and saying “Minemineminemine” as I laugh again, louder and more strained this time, hoping to alert his oblivious mother, who is diving into her lunch with a glazed look in her eyes.

Another more experienced mom who is not afraid to yell at other people’s kids comes to my rescue – “No! That’s your food over there!” She admonishes as he grabs the lid to my water bottle and, with a shriek of delight, throws it on the floor. And then he’s going for the water and I’m reaching my limits of polite laughter. Finally…FINALLY… his mom looks over and registers the situation as he starts to scream “DRINKDRINKDRINKDRINK” at the top of his tiny but strong lungs. My water bottle is now on the other side of my plate, which I’ve moved as far away from him as possible. His reach seems to be that of a fifteen-year old. How do those short, chubby little arms get such wide range?

And now, as I’m trying to shove the sandwich in my mouth and fending off his ever-increasing advances (even Daniel is looking like he feels sorry for me at this point), I see the back of his mother’s head as she walks away and I hear her say something about leaving his sippee cup in the other room and how she’ll be right back and could I watch him for a sec.

Watch him for a sec? Oh, I’m watching him. Watching him destroy my precious moments of peace, watching him press those dirty fingers into any part of my sandwich that he can get. Things just get worse as he grabs and pokes and I shove bites of sandwich into my mouth as I swat at his hands and dodge his continued advances toward my food and water. And as mom comes strolling back, having probably taken the long way, little Jimmy or Billy or Mark or Whatever gets past my defenses, lowered for one second, grabs my water bottle and places his wide-open mouth over the top of my drink. Saliva drips down the sides as his mom finally springs into action, handing me back my drink with an “Oh, I’m so sorry.” SURE YOU ARE LADY. SURE YOU ARE. YOU DON’T CARE. YOU HAD YOUR LUNCH AND I HAD NOTHING. NOTHING. I WAS THIRSTY DAMMIT. AND YOUR KIDS A BRAT. LIKE I’M GOING TO DRINK THAT WATER NOW? BRATBRATBRATBRATBRAT!”

Okay, I don’t say that. But I want to.

Having a four-month old does not allow a lot of opportunity to eat lunch. There’s the naptime lunches where you’re also doing laundry and cleaning up and trying to find a tiny bit of time to yourself and you remember to shove food down your throat as you hear your little guy start to cry on the monitor and you know that times up, game over, no more lunch for you! And then there are the lunches where you’re holding all 16 pounds of him in one hand and trying with the other hand to get some overstuffed sandwich or burning hot piece of pizza into your mouth rather than somewhere to the side of it. There’s no enjoyment there. So on the rare occasions when Daniel is quiet and sweet, with his head swiveling around to see what’s going on, showing lots of fat, kissable cheek, that’s my time. Not to be shared with a grabber. Yes, that’s right, there’s a name for them. And when one of the grabbers comes along (no, he’s not the only one. Not by far) and destroys my peaceful lunchtime and I can’t say anything because he’s tiny and, supposedly, cute and I’m big and, supposedly, mature, I get very, very upset. But, of course, I keep on smiling. “Oh, isn’t he cute? Look at him shoving my carrot into his ear. That’s hilarious.”

This leads me to wonder if this isn’t just a vicious circle. It’s like hazing for new moms. When Daniel is 16 months old and his attentions are diverted by some other new mom and her lunch, allowing me to eat in peace, will I pretend not to hear her nervous laughter? Will I too leave his sippee cup in another room just so I can race away when things get too bad? Will I too propagate this food-grabbing madness? Yeah. Probably.


At April 9, 2009 at 3:46 PM, Anonymous Dave said...

nice post.its funny that no body has not commented on it yet.

At April 10, 2009 at 3:33 PM, Anonymous allan said...

hey keep up the good work

At June 16, 2011 at 4:00 PM, Anonymous Becca said...

Very entertaining blog. I tried to start a blog under "themommydiaries...", and just wanted to see who had beaten me to it. I'm glad you did.


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