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You, Me and Baby Makes Three
by Anna C. Richardson
Eric is far more helpful than this & Zander is actually great at the table -- typically. Anna

The table was full of laughter, and clinking glasses. You could see the worries washing off the faces and the stress leaving the derri�res sitting at the OTHER end of the table. Meanwhile back in my reality little hands were beating on the table, and fast pitching menus at nearby dinners. His feet were delivering forceful kicks to any surface they could land on while my feet were crowded with a diaper bag overflowing with 10-second entertainment toys, and a wallet often left behind in the whirlwind of my one-year-old boy.

I hold my glass of water out so little man can quench his thirst and kindly leave his slobbery backwash running down my straw. I ponder why I even bothered bringing a sippy cup. Through cutting up pieces of chicken, and fistfuls of flung peas I manage to eat � of my meal while it is still lukewarm.

The conversation is vibrant and beer is flowing freely in the oasis of kid-free daddy dining. I take mini-me to the bathroom to find it absent of any diaper-changing table, who picked this place? Proud of my quick thinking I lay Zander on the sweater covering the tiled floor and hand him a colorful dessert menu I swiped from the table to keep him occupied for the 2-minute express change. I wonder if other moms have better changing secrets than a menu that has been touched by half the state.

We weave our way through the crowded room as Zander waves good-bye to everyone we pass. My feet are screaming for tennis shoes and I still haven�t figured out why I felt the need to put on a dress that is now covered with smeared carrots and potatoes. We make it to the table just in time for the check. I sit down and attempt to reach under the table while balancing him on my lap as the cheerful voice of daddy offers a �proud-of-himself� for helping smile and takes the 25 wriggling pounds out of my arms. �Man I am stuffed, the food was great,� he clamors as I place money in the black book. �Hey you didn�t eat, didn�t you like it?�

Instead of cramming my foot up his clueless rear end I kindly ask the server for a to-go box, hand her 20%, apologize for any mess I didn�t manage to clean up and say my goodbyes while I still have empty arms.

As I walk to the car my mind is filled with a list of �must be nice & thanks a lot� phrases and I feel fully prepared to use them. One of the toys� drops and I fall behind just in time to look up and see my sweet, sweet baby rubbing the rest of his smuggled sticky dessert in daddy�s hair. He smiles and waves at me with all five of his stubby fingers extended. I blow him a kiss, and thank God for the small favors.

� Anna C. Richardson