Feeling safety in numbers while my parents are in town for the weekend, I was optimistic enough to leave the house for a few hours with Allison.
There were three stops on our agenda last night, and we planned everything around Little Miss, accordingly. Or so I thought. Stupidly, we stopped into my office to say hello to the weekend crew after Allison had just fallen asleep. And she wasn't happy when I tugged her out of her car seat to be passed around. But, on the bright side, it was my first time back since going on maternity leave and it was great to see everyone -- even if just for a minute.
Next we braved going out for dinner. I selected a family-friendly place (read: loud) that wouldn't be filled with people likely to shoot us dirty looks if Alli decided the appetizer course was a good time to start screaming.
But I forgot it was a Saturday. The day of the week the entire universe goes out to eat. And we arrived at the restaurant at peak meal time. Fantastic.
I found myself asking aloud, "Why did we stop at my office first again?"
Oh, that's right. Because I'm an idiot.
We didn't even make it to a table before she started crying. We found a spot near the bar and I forced myself to bounce her around in her car seat until my shoulder sockets threatened to expel my arms. Eventually my mom took her out and held her, but that wasn't enough either.
It was the boob or the highway. We refer to it as "OTB" at our house. Or "On the Boob." As in, "I think she wants a little OTB time again."
I was more than a little frazzled. I mean, how the hell was I supposed to comply when we hadn't even gotten seated yet? I wanted to retreat to the car, then retreat to our house where I would officially raise a white flag to the world admitting that I am already a parenting failure. I HEARBY VOW TO ALWAYS GO TO THE RESTAURANT FIRST.
But my mom refused to let me give up, pointing out that I was the only one bothered by Allison's breakdown. And then, as if right on cue, a big burly guy at the bar came over to inspect her more closely and say, "Aw, is that all you've got? I can scream louder than that!" And a woman sitting at a nearby table shot me a wink and told her teenage daughter, "You used to do that to me all the time."
Their reactions forced me to take a deep breath. Then I remembered that I had spotted a lone chair in a little cove outside the restrooms. So I grabbed her and a blanket and was determined to stay put until my mom came with word that we had been seated.
It was more than a little strange sitting in such close proximity to the bathrooms as a flood of people passed by, but I can now say with 100 percent certainty that, ladies, we are NOT the gender with the most bathroom visits. There were three men to every woman. The only reason our bathrooms get so crowded is because we can't pee standing up. All that squatting and balancing at a public toilet takes time. Gentlemen, please remember that the next time you go to crack a sexist bathroom joke. In my opinion, it would be totally reasonable for your female companions to return the favor by cracking a dirty toilet lid over your skull.
An eternity later, or at least the amount of time it takes for an entire restaurant of people to troop past me to empty their bladders, my mom came to tell me that we had a table. A glorious, glorious table with chairs that weren't two steps away from people pulling their pants down in succession.
Even better, OTB had done the trick. Allison was asleep. If OTB was personified, she would be a super heroine with a huge flowing red cape. Faster than a speeding bullet. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Will quiet a screaming baby in five minutes ... da, da, da, daaaa ... IT'S SUPER BOOB!
And Alli stayed conked out through dessert. A heaping brownie topped with ice cream and drizzled with a sweet layer of sleeping baby.
Then we loaded her up and sped to our final destination: the electronics store. The sound system on our computer recently bit the dust and it doesn't do video conferencing much justice. Hearing every fourth or fifth word does not a conversation make.
My dad and I beelined for the speakers as my mom pushed Allison around in her stroller. The layout literally had an oblong track for her to follow, making it my new favorite store of all time. Later, I will write to the company and ask that they start selling clothing and groceries.
Each time my mom passed, she updated us on Alli's Breakdown Barometer. The mercury was rising steadily, so I grabbed a box labeled Bose, knowing Jerry would be so happy, he'd want to molest me and my genius decision making. To him, the only thing better than the front row seats he was sitting in at the WWE wrestling event was getting a text message from his wife with one word: Bose.
Allison couldn't have cared less, however. She shared her displeasure the entire trip home, filling the car with a symphony of wails as I sung her a beautiful song complete with loving lyrics about tossing her out the window.
When we finally got her out of the car, in the house, out of her seat, out of her hoodie and OTB, I released a sigh of relief that rivaled the time I narrowly escaped a catastrophic car accident.
And people wonder why I refuse to leave the house. To hell with safety in numbers. Not even P. Diddy's entire entourage could neutralize my 10 pounder.