Image by Astrid Pereira from Pixabay
One day when your baby grows up,
Will you laugh or cry more?
Will you finally get that undisturbed sleep
Or will you still stay awake googling solutions?
Will you eventually get those luscious locks blow dried
Or will you still be tearing your hair in frustration?
‘Baby Shark do-do do-do do-do’
Yes, I’m singing this heard to death a gazillion times, ears now beginning to bleed song but what to do, desperate times call for desperate measures. I am in a café with my friend, her son and my baby girl.
My seven month old baby, is safely deposited in my lap. Her tears rapidly drying from being transferred from the cold pram world to her mother’s warm embrace. She gives me an approving smile as I sing her favourite song in a raspy voice.
My friend, seated beside me, tries to ignore my bad singing, smiling politely and sipping her coffee.
My friend’s nine-year-old son has his eyes fixed on me, his eyebrows raised regarding me like an idiot clown doing tricks in a circus but failing miserably.
‘Mummy Shark, do do, do do do do’
After the second stanza, he furtively looks around to see if anyone is staring at this monstrous disturbance of the peaceful café ambience. He is clearly embarrassed on behalf of all of us. Satisfied that no one is really giving us a second glance, he turns around and regards me seriously.
Pretty Shark do do do do do…..Sweety shark do do do do do…’ I improvise getting bored of the set words.
Friend’s son raises his eyebrows at this sudden innovation and corrects me, ‘That’s wrong. You got the words wrong.’
‘I know. I am just adding some of my own words.’ He gives me a disproving look as if my creativity was not really needed.
My friend remarks at my rapidly growing cold brew and I give her a sad look. ‘Here I’ll hold her,’ she offers kindly and as soon as I try to lift baby to prop her in her lap, she starts crying.
‘Oh no! I set her off!’
‘No, it’s not you, it’s her.’ I use the classic breakup line.
‘But then you cannot have your coffee.’
‘That really is too bad.’
In the background, I hear our voices echo and I turn to see if we have been teleported magically to a deep cave but then I make eye contact with her mischievous son who has been imitating our voices giving them his own accents for creativity. I can’t really blame him. I introduced creativity in the mix.
She tells him to hush. She doesn’t mind him copying her but she is embarrassed that he is giving me the same treatment. I feel affronted for her instead and take up her cause since he continues the echoing with her.
‘Good boys don’t copy their mamas in public.’ I quickly correct myself, ‘Or anywhere as a matter of fact.’
‘But she is so annoying.’
I blush. My friend doesn’t bat an eyelid. She looks at him with a ‘I will sort you out when I get home.’ I contemplate about life being hard with an infant and then they become children who openly mock you. My future little princess wouldn’t be sitting in the cafe, daintily sipping her juice with a tiara on her head but copying every word I spoke or kicking me in the shin as I see a ten year old girl doing a few tables down when her mother refuses to do her bidding. The future was looking grim.
I give up the hope that I will ever finish my coffee or even get a bite of that red velvet cake slice I ordered, thanking my daughter for the forced dieting. We walk out of the cafe and pass a gift shop. Friend’s son dashes inside. She calls out to him angrily. I notice her rapidly diminishing stock of self control. I tell her I need to check out something as well from the shop. She stays outside fuming. I head inside in search of the little urchin. He is standing staring at some dangling ornaments.
‘Can you buy me something?’
‘This,’ He points at a keychain. It’s a glass angel with an inscription stating ‘You are my guardian angel but I will always protect you.’
‘Why do you need this?’
‘For my mama,’ he explains as if it’s the most obvious fact.
My heart melts like the chocolate mud pie in the microwave I never got to eat. I pick up the keychain, hand it over to the assistant and ask her to wrap it up in gold foil. I hang inside the shop and wait for the son to hand the present to his mother. She is surprised and opens the foil to find her little gift. Her eyes tear up and she hugs her little boy with fervour. Looking at them my eyes mist over and I smile at my pink doll in her pram. I wait for her to smile or coo back but she throws up her milk. I roll my eyes.
‘Ok, baby, one day I guess.’
One day when your baby grows up,
Will you smile fondly or frown in dismay?
Will you beam with pride or hide your face in embarrassment?
My guess is both……..
And you’ll love and hate every second of it 🙂