I can’t decide whether this woman sitting by me in the airport is treating her toddler like he’s a human, one older than he actually is, or a dog.
“Please don’t crawl around with your bagel on the floor. Ew, fine, you’re done. That’s disgusting.”
I can hear what the baby is actually saying. Most people probably just hear crying. This is what he says: “Really, lady? I’m starving, and you are nuts. Please, let’s just try again? I love you.”
Mom gets the general picture. “OK, fine, here’s another bagel half. But, seriously, don’t crawl around on the floor like that. Walk.” She hands him the bagel. He stumbles a bit. “Stay,” she directs him.
“Seriously, Mom? I’m like thirteen months old.” He looks around. People pass by. Suitcases roll. He takes a step, totters a bit, and regains his balance. He moves the bagel to his mouth, but it’s all too much to handle at once. He falls to the floor, bagel first.
She’s thrown away almost an entire bagel by now. I don’t understand why she wants him to walk and eat at the same time; eating while standing doesn’t seem to be a very healthy habit to instill in your child. She doesn’t really care right now. I feel her tell me that. Can she tell that I’m staring? I’m trying to be stealth.
She is so over it. She’s sick of being stuck alone with this baby, and her too-short wide-legged trying-to-be-cute comfy pants have had just about as much as they can take. She loves motherhood, she really does, but, hello, can she not just have more than one moment without worry? That was a joke. She’s more concerned with seeing a day where she can have two-sided conversations. She’s no longer afraid to ask too much.
Now Dad’s here. At first glance, he looks like he’s wearing a Canadian tuxedo. At closer inspection, though, it’s apparent that his shirt has small blue checks. He left the house later than they did. He made it on time and thinks it’s hilarious. It doesn’t even matter where they’re going.
Baby’s happy to see Daddy. They ride the moving sidewalk together.
Mom looks at the woman sitting directly beside her. They exchange smiles; her laugh says, “My husband is so cute with our baby.”
Reaching the end of the sidewalk, the baby falls. Mom’s afraid he’s going to pinch his fingers. Dad laughs as he picks him up, but Mom’s smile has already faded. And her crazy patterned Dansko is tapping on the dirty airport floor next to a bag filled with bagels.