Yesterday, hubby and I woke up to a beautiful, sunny fall Sunday morning. In our pre-babies life, we used to go out for breakfast every weekend. Sometimes on Saturday and Sunday mornings. We love breakfast and starting our day off sitting in a busy diner enjoying 2 eggs over-medium, bacon for him, ham for me, homefries, a bottomless cup of coffee and good conversation. We haven’t gone out for breakfast in over a year. I briefly remember taking our daughter a couple of times while she was still in the infant carseat so we could just plop her on the table while we ate but once she was more alert and high energy, we decided it was too hard. (hahaha We were living on Easy Street and didn’t even know it!)
After getting a decent night’s sleep (Translation: only being awakened every couple hours by one rug rat and not two), I ambitiously thought that we could be brave and take both babies (16 months and 5 months old) out for breakfast. For some reason, Hubby was up for the challenge, momentarily forgetting that this would take more preparation than throwing on some track pants, brushing his teeth and grabbing his wallet and car keys.
So, the process of preparing began. I breastfed baby boy while hubby got baby girl up out of her crib. While baby boy is feeding away, hubby comes flying in the bedroom with a half-dressed baby girl who is soaking wet right through her sleeper, to her sheets and mattress protector. (Quick digestion of a middle of the night sippy cup of milk!) I tell him that she is going to need a quick bath before she gets dressed and we’re going to have to strip her sheets and wash them. He runs the bath. I finish feeding the boy. I change his diaper, change his sleeper and set him out on his play mat to keep him entertained while I throw baby girl’s pee-soaked linens in the washing machine, clean her mattress and re-make her bed. I get baby girl dressed while Hubby heads down to give her a sippy cup of milk to drink while we finish packing up.
Diaper bag: diapers, wipes, receiving blankets, spare outfits for baby boy, spare outfits for baby girl, small toys for entertainment all packed! (And crammed into ONE diaper bag because over the past few months I have refused to carry two diaper bags around even if it means having to stand on the diaper bag to squish everything in.) Two sippy cups packed: one full of milk, one empty in case her meal comes with a drink! (Woohoo for thinking ahead! In the past, I have been brave enough to take my daughter to restaurants where her meal comes with a drink but she can’t drink out of a cup with a straw without causing some sort of major disaster so I’m super proud I have thought ahead this time!)
After a top-to-bottom house search for baby girl’s shoes then baby boy’s hat then the keys to the mom-mobile, we change both babies’ diapers and are ready to go! (Yay!) All of our tummies are growling. I start buckling baby boy in his infant carseat and grab keys. Hubby looks at me, “Are you wearing that? It’s cool if you are. I was just wondering.” I look down. Dammit! I’m still wearing pajama pants and have to brush my own teeth, my own hair and hey! I’m still feeling ambitious so I’m going to put some makeup on too and attempt to hide the dark circles around my eyes amongst other things.
Of course I finish these tasks in record time, and just in time to hear the squeal of a baby boy buckled in his carseat who has just gone pee and needs to be unbuckled and changed. Hubby looks at me as if to say “Maybe we should just stay home!” Oh no! We’re sooo close! I’m not giving up now! A quick change and we’re on our way. Two babies in carseats, one diaper bag ready to explode like one of those trick cans of peanuts that the paper snakes jump out of and a plastic booster seat in the trunk. (Fact: restaurant high chairs are never, ever cleaned. And if they are, they are not clean enough for my liking. I would much rather bring my own booster seat than bring the power washer and 12 gallons of bleach it would take to get one of those things clean enough for me to sit my daughter in it without literally picturing the bacteria and viruses crawling all over her! But that’s just my own little quirk. I seriously do not judge parents who make use of these high chairs.)
We get to our favourite breakfast spot. There is a line-up out the door! A quick-moving line-up but still a line-up! Of course there is! There always is but this was never really an issue when it was just the two of us. Now we’re trying to logistically squish in the door without having our infant car seat, booster seat or diaper bag block the way of people trying to leave while baby girl freaks out because she is now Miss Independent and wants to be on her feet walking around everywhere, not held in my arms. Please line, Move FAST! And it does.
We are close to the restaurant entrance and our usual server (from our pre-babies days) looks surprised to see us and tells us there is a table for 2 up on the upper level that we can sit at and she will pull a chair over for our booster seat. We take a quick and silent inventory of our 16 month old daughter, booster seat, 5 month old son in infant carseat and diaper bag. There is no way this is all going to fit around a table for two. Not without causing some sort of fire code violation, So we wait for a bigger table to open and watch as people arrive two by two being seated at all the tables for two. By this time, baby girl is hungry and does not understand why the hell we would have ever left the house without feeding her breakfast!
We get seated. Hubby puts our son in his infant carseat down on the floor while he secures booster seat on a chair while I restrain baby girl so she doesn’t destroy the place/get tripped on/get spilled on. Then we fasten her in her seat. Another server comes over and lays out our cutlery. She proudly boasts that she will only leave a spoon for our daughter and a pile of napkins for us since we have a baby with us. Crucial mistake: leaving spoon and pile of napkins in front of baby. Baby girl has that spoon shoved in her mouth gagging herself and those napkins thrown all over the floor before we could even get ourselves seated.
We order our breakfasts. Instead of the usual 2 eggs with bacon for him, ham for me and home fries, we both order bigger breakfasts foreseeing that we can get more accomplished today if we do not have to make/eat lunch. (Smart thinking, right?) Baby girl starts screaming because she is hungry. This restaurant always seemed incredibly fast to us…until we brought an extremely hungry, short-fused, incredibly loud, little girl with us! Baby boy starts fussing. I rock him in his carseat with my foot while attempting to entertain our daughter with what little resources I have with me. I miss the comforts of home already! (We won’t be signing up for Survivor any time soon!) Baby boy starts fussing more. I start going through the new mom list “Are you tired? Are you hungry? Are you wet?” and immediately think “Please be tired! Because I don’t think there are change tables in the washroom and I really don’t want to whip my boob out in this busy restaurant!” Don’t get me wrong! I LOVE breastfeeding my son and knowing that my body is able to produce the nourishment he needs and all that jazz but I am not one of those “breastfeed anywhere, anytime” type of moms. I wish I was but I’m not. I find it awkward and my son hates being covered as much as I hate being uncovered while nursing so private areas work best for us. Besides the fact that dragging two babies anywhere always results in constant stares from the public; some amazed, some empathetic, some thinking we are bat-shit crazy. The last thing we need to add to the mix is a baby squealing like a hungry sea gull and a naked boob!
I take our son out of his carseat just as our food comes out. Of course the delicious hash browns we have always loved for their steamy hotness are now going to take 5000 years to be cool enough for baby girl to eat them. Same with her scrambled eggs. Same with her bacon. (I’ve never been so frustrated by freshly cooked, hot food before!) She’s never had toast before but today is the day because she’s angry, hungry and that’s the only thing that isn’t going to burn the roof of her mouth off. The juggle begins – balancing baby boy on my lap who is now happy to be included at the table while spooning small amounts of scrambled eggs cut into non-choke hazard sizes on to her plate while hubby tries to cut her meat up the same way. Fact: she can shovel food in faster than the two of us can cut it up and serve it to her.
The server comes over to offer a coffee top-up. Hubby and I look at each other and realize we haven’t even taken a sip of coffee yet. We swallow it down and on her next offer, exclaim YES! Oh wait! Ahh!!! I quickly put down my teaspoon/egg shovel to grab my empty mug and pass it over to hubby’s side so the server doesn’t reach across both my babies’ heads with a hot, dripping pot of coffee. Pheww! Crisis avoided. There is nothing relaxing about this experience.
We start on our own breakfasts at the same time as they go cold and baby girl has finished her meal and decided she is bored and will start throwing the rest of her food all over the floor while yelling at the table of ladies sitting across from us to demand attention. After several attempts at cutting my bacon with one hand while I hold and bounce our son with my other, I decide to just pick it up and eat it like an animal with my one free hand. Whatever gets it down my throat fastest so we can get the hell outta here! Hubby looks up at me. We make eye contact for the first time since being seated. We’ve been working as a team doing damage control since we got out of the car. He tells me I have some eyeliner under my eye. I make several attempts at wiping it off with my one free hand which he tells me makes it a little bit worse everytime. I get frustrated with him pointing this out and with the whole experience and ask how bad it is because if it’s a little speck of black on my cheek I couldn’t care less at this point. He tells me “It’s not bad. It just looks like you slept in last night’s makeup and it’s a little smudged under your eye.” I burst out laughing remembering briefly that there had been days not so long ago when we did crawl out of bed and go for a leisurely breakfast, me with last night’s makeup smudged under my eye after a night of fun and cocktails. Today I actually did take 35 seconds to wash my face and apply makeup and the result was me looking like I was hungover in last night’s smudged makeup. Hilarious. I laugh – not in a “This is funny” way as much as in an “I am slowly going crazy way!”
Four thousand hashbrowns on the floor later and a gallon or so of milk splatters, our server comes back offering to top up our coffee. We both say “No thanks!” in unison as hubby adds “We’ll just take the bill!” We’re not all that great at hiding our desperation to get the eff out of here before a major disaster happens. We have two ticking time bombs on our hands after all.
Hubby goes up to the counter to pay the bill while I attempt to wipe our daughter’s face and hands. Since I am still holding my son in my other arm, I look down to see that while I was leaning over to clean her up, I had dragged his little hands through the cold egg yolk on my plate. Perfect. Around and around in circles we go.
While hubby pays the bill, three (not even kidding – three!) passers by stop me to ask how far apart in age my kids are. “11 months” meets the reactions “Wow!” “You’re busy!” “You’ve got your hands full!” or the best one “I thought I was bad. Mine are 22 months apart!” Excuse me? Did you just imply that I’m bad? Who are you? WTF. These types of comments happen everywhere we go. They started when I was pregnant with our son. Random strangers would come up to me when I was out with my daughter and ask how old she was then ask how far along I was and then I would stand there and wait for them to do the math only to hear the same weird, crazy comments.
Yes, our life is crazy but it is also amazing and filled with so many laughs, simple joys and love. No, my hair is not styled, my makeup is imperfect if it is a rare occasion that I am wearing any. My clothes most likely don’t fit right and I probably have some sort of human bodily fluid on me whether it be spit-up, pee or worse. But I am out with my hubby and my two babies. We are sharing an experience with them that we have always enjoyed. No, there is no longer anything relaxing about it but we’re doing it. And when we get back to our car, we won’t ponder what we will do with the rest of our day like we used to – instead we will be simultaneously changing both kids’ diapers in the hatchback of the trunk of the mom-mobile and we will probably sit in the parking lot for another 20 minutes while I attempt to breastfeed my son in the passenger seat where he will squirm and squeal because it isn’t as comfortable as being at home. We are out of the house. We shared a meal with our favourite, little people. We did it! This may look like chaos to you but this is a huge, personal victory for us! Family time! Woot!
The next time you see new parents out with their babies screaming, acting up or even smiling and having a great time, walk over and give them a high-five because it took some serious planning, packing, preparation, bravery and ambition to be sitting there doing what they are doing so they can see the outside world, enjoy each other, share an adventure with their baby and experience more than just laundry, housework and dishes. Or even better, when you see that mom wearing clothes that don’t fit, or possibly even wearing maternity clothes several months postpartum, with hair tied back and dark circles under her eyes, give her a hug and tell her she’s doing great! Nothing about an outing with teeny, tiny little ones is easy… unless that’s how you like your eggs!
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