September 02, 2008
I was just scolded by a Borders' employee for taking my stroller on the escalator -- he spotted me absentmindedly getting on after him (him and his HANDTRUCK, by the way, but let's not split hairs about escalator-approved wheelie devices) and then proceeded to wait for his chance to school me on escalator safety at the top. I saw him, I saw what was coming, I debated clobbering him with my non-skid-proof wedge heel, but of course I just apologized instead and tried to rapidly putter away while he FOLLOWED ME to make sure I understood what a "really, really bad idea" that was, the taking of my little umbrella stroller on the escalator, and did I see those yellow bumpers there? Did I know what those yellow bumpers were for? EATING CHILDREN FROM THE ANKLES UP, THAT'S WHAT, also triggering the emergency stop, because I know, I triggered it once, back when I had a bigger stroller and less experience breaking the no-stroller rule, but dude, I'm older, taller and infinitely more pregnant than you and can't I just ride one little escalator to the Young Adult section to buy some embarassing goth vampire romance novels in peace? Confiscate my Borders Rewards Card if you must, I MUST BUY THE ENTIRE TWILIGHT SERIES RIGHT NOW! EDWAAAAARD! EITHER THIS GUY IS A VAMPIRE OR JUST DOESN'T LEAVE THE STOCKROOM MUCH SAVE ME EDWAAAAAARD!
After my brush with the Aqua Teen Escalator Safety Patrol Force, I took Noah to McDonald's for lunch. He enjoys the occasional meal of chocolate milk and hamburger bun (technically just the top layer of hamburger bun, the part that doesn't have ketchup or mustard or came within a few atoms of contact with the actual hamburger), and pregnancy makes me crave deep-fried sodium mccruelty nuggets. I always feel like I'm being judged there too, although I haven't a clue why, or by whom, what with the place always being packed with other people who Also Did Not Come For The Market-Fresh Salads.
So, yes. I take Noah to fast-food restaurants every once in a while. Our home is a bastion of saint-like eating, all organic and healthy and purchased directly from the farmer whenever possible. Partially-hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrup never pass through our front door, and I think even our peanut butter is free-range.
I vividly remember eating at two particular places as a little kid -- Wendy's and Friendly's. Friendly's meant clown head ice cream sundaes with Reeses Pieces on the bottom. Wendy's meant chocolate frostys and sitting at tables covered in funny old newspaper advertisements, and I would only choose my seat after I had successfully located this one particular ad for a dentist. It had a sketch of a pretty woman labeled "With My Teeth In," and then another sketch of the same woman "With My Teeth Out." And her teeth! Were indeed out! I got a huge kick out of this.
And of course, kids meals! TOYS! PRIZES! I've been fairly baffled by the toys Noah's gotten -- we keep getting these strange Star Wars bobblehead-type things that are absolutely terrifying to me, and some Indiana Jones pyramid that is supposed to be a Temple of Mystery. We have two of them now. There's some sand and a plastic skull and the Mystery appears to be how a grown woman like myself can read the enclosed instructions and still have no idea how this stupid toy is supposed to work, or maybe it's Why We Never, Ever Get The Toddler Toy We Actually Ask For.
I wonder what Noah will remember sometimes, whether he'll remember sitting next to me at a booth, oohing and aahing while I open his chocolate milk and scribble shapes and letters on the back of the tray liner for him. Whether he'll know how bored I sometimes got watching him eat a hamburger bun bit by bit by bit, or timidly trying a french fry for the dozenth time -- nope, still don't like it, okay, good trying, spit it out in Mama's hand, not on your shirt...oh, buddy, that's so gross.
Jason and I are both getting oddly desperate to do things with Noah lately -- I know it's because the countdown to Baby Brother / Operation Blow Everybody's Lives The Fuck Up is really and truly down to the final weeks. On Sunday Jason spent 45 minutes hunched over in a small plastic house at a playground while Noah pretended they were riding on a choo-choo -- he wouldn't say where they were going, but NO, DADA, WE NOT THERE YET. NO GET OFF. RIDE CHOO-CHOO. We're going back to the beach this weekend. There have been extra bedtime stories, a few nights up late watching movies, impromptu trips out for ice cream. At 7:30 pm. On a Tuesday!
I realize he probably won't really ever remember his time as an only child, just like he doesn't remember our old house with the room we painted for him and the hours we spent trudging up and down the stairs of our building while he attempted to master crawling. Or our afternoons at the pool or laying on a blanket in the small grassy courtyard between condo buildings. I wonder if he'll remember Max, his playdate friend who moved to California. Or the house we made him out of a cardboard box, or the Sunday mornings spent running through the ice-cold fountain near the place where we always go for pancakes. Or the days here when I was too busy to do anything with him, too many errands to run and no time to wait for stupid old elevators, when the most fun thing I could offer him was a trip out for hamburger buns and chocolate milk.