I knew who I was today.
I awoke with amazing hair, reminiscent of Courteney Cox as Monica on Friends. How does it stay so shiny and straight through all her neurosis? I don’t know, ask my luscious locks.
I dressed to my mood. Watercolor-splashed blouse of a different color, cobalt cardigan and red lipstick, I was the picture of the artist as mommy. She can do it all.
Picking up the boy, I learned from his grandfather that he’d just had some rice cereal and a bath and was now a magical, feathery-haired and smiley wonder. Instead of making dinner, I opted that this mom of many skillz should rest tonight and use the BOGO Subway coupon that was burning a hole in her wallet. Oh, yes, I do coupons now.
“Beni!” Mommy said. “Let’s take you out of your carrier, big boy, and we’ll learn about the glory that is Subway.” Even if it was the first time I was taking him out of his carrier and into a public place, the plan was totally infallible.
Inside, the sweet smell of bread bewitched me while the rotating ceiling fans and colorful ingredients bewitched my son.
Look at me. Ruling the world. Baby on my hip, ordering identical subs, heavy on the jalapeños. I’m even planning on getting a drink. Thirty-two ounces. That’s right.
In walked Gangster McGee and his friend, Thugalicious O’Reilly. I held my baby and my purse closer and my mind suddenly recalled a horrendous Subway shooting of years past. I’d turned into my paranoid grandmother. I breathed a sigh of relief as I realized my silliness.
“Excuse me,” said a young voice behind me. It’s the gangster. Paranoia returned and I was sure he had a gun.
“Your baby is vomiting,” the voice said.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, the first thing that entered my mind was “Your baby is vomiting,” but I knew that comment, while strangely gratifying, would get me nowhere.
Instead I said, “Really?” Not much better.
Yes, I know. Babies spit up. Totally normal. What’s the big deal? The big deal is this was not spit up. This was bona fide vomit. The would-be-young-criminal was correct in his analysis of bodily fluids.
It was as if the baby food had been squeeeeezed out of him. Ohhh…
After securing the Fort Knox Subway napkins, I wiped my boy and myself of well-meant rice cereal. Goodbye perfect hair, gorgeous sweater, and precious, clean as a whistle baby boy. I paid, and went on to get the now ridiculously-sized drink.
I was horrified, I was laughing so hard inside. I remembered an old family story of my husband’s which started with him and his mom at Circle K and ended with him puking on a Doritos display and the two running out of there like your regular convenience store fugitives. I thought how, already, I’d handled this so much better, lack of chip collection ruin notwithstanding.
And then I saw it.
The four-month-old in my tight (ohh… the squeezing!) grasp had managed to create a significant mini-puddle of rice-drool concoction on the floor of the Subway. The two teen boys stood frozen, staring at it, me.
I grabbed my straw and ran out.
Oh, the things you learn about yourself when bodily fluids are involved.