On Monday afternoon, I took Baby to music class. Truth be told, we arrived a whopping twenty minutes late because with my Box Brain, I'm even more delinquent with the everyday details. But we got there. And with plenty of time for her to run about on the rainbow carpet and frolic with friends and sing and dance under the parachute. The class ended like it always does with many bubbles and many happy kiddie giggles.
After class, I popped Baby in her stroller and we started our short trek home to reunite with Toddler and Nanny. After half a block though, I stopped. I bent down next to Baby and asked her, "Do you want to have a french fry date with Mommy?"
"Yeah!" she crooned.
And so we turned into the little vegan restaurant right there. We'd had some trouble with a certain grumpy old man in this restaurant before, but I decided to test my luck. Thankfully, the restaurant was almost completely empty. There was just one man at the bar scarfing tomato soup. (Hey, it was Matt Dillon!) Baby and I settled at a small table in the back. I ordered her a plate of fries and myself a bowl of chilled corn soup.
And we talked. We talked about the purple room she now shares with her sister. We talked about her beloved grandparents Moo Moo, Grammy, and Dad-Dad. Nanny texted me to tell me that our cats had vomited all over our brand new duvet cover. For whatever reason, I decided to share this horrific tidbit with Baby. She laughed deeply. "Oh no! Cats peeped on bed!" And I told her, no. They threw up. "Oh no! Silly cats!"
Our food arrived and Baby began a careful process drenching her fries in dip dip (ketchup). She fed me a few. She counted little fry bits (up to eight! genius!) She asked me how my soup was. Good, I told her. She asked me to strap her into her high chair - a safety detail I admittedly neglected - and I obliged. Then she finally started to eat. I smiled as she took a single fry and bit it from the side like an ear of corn. She ate all her fries this way. After a little while, I finished my soup.
"Eat it all up?" Baby asked.
"Yes, sweetie. It was delicious."
"All done too!" she proclaimed. And then she started yelling "Fry fry!" over and over at a barely appropriate decibel. It was then that I noticed that the famous grumpy old man had taken a seat at the next table.
We took the remaining fries to go in a little plastic box. I let Baby hold this box in her stroller and she shook it vigorously. A makeshift maraca. As I was strapping her into her stroller, I asked her something.
"Was it fun to have a date just with Mommy?"
"Yeah!" she screamed. And then she put her hand up for a high five.
I pushed this little girl home. I smiled the whole way. And as I smiled, warmed by experience and realization, my little creature shook that box of fries and kicked those little legs.
Do you agree that it is important that we have experiences with each of our children alone? Do you have fond memories of one-on-one experiences with your parents? (I do. I remember catching a big trout with Dad at Vick's Pond when I was eight or so. And I remember pizza dates with Mom after preschool. We would sit in the very back of Pizza Joint and she would cut slices into small bites and then we would share.)