Mackenzie turned eight months old today, and to celebrate, she got up an hour early, but compensated with a late nap. After returning from my drive to pick up Jake at school in Riverdale, I found the girl still sleeping at 5 p.m. Strange for someone who goes to bed around 6:30 p.m. I was excited at the prospect of dinner out with the whole family.
I suggested we all go to John’s when she wakes up. It’s my favorite pizza place in Manhattan and I’ve been going there regularly since high school. My best friend and I used to take the Staten Island ferry and then the 1 train to Christopher Street and indulge. It was always such a schlep, but it was always worth it.
Anticipating her waking, I got the diaper bag ready. I even put makeup on for the first time in weeks. (This from a girl who used to not leave her aptartment without makeup.) Daddy decided that the Baby Bjorn carrier hurt his back too much so we had to switch the entire set up to the Ergo Baby carrier. Then we had to bundle up the baby in the outfit she doesn’t love so much. Finally, when everyone was properly over dressed and huddling by the door, we decided to get rid of the four Fresh Direct boxes clogging the doorway.
I was the last one out of the apartment, making sure the lights were off and the door was locked.
On the 1 train uptown, I thought about how privileged I was to live in this great city. I lived a short subway ride away from the best pizza and I could spontaneously decide to make it happen. Sitting on the subway next to my eight-year-old son, I looked around. My love was next to me, our baby strapped onto him. His fingers made their way to mine. I smiled and thought, I know how lucky I am. I am so thankful for this moment.
I felt like our little family was beaming and everyone was staring at us on the subway, thinking, Oh, how darling. It felt like a happiness spotlight was shining on us.
When we emerged on Christopher Street, the windy evening was biting, but Jake suggested he and I skip down 7th Avenue on our way to Bleecker Street. I obliged happily, thinking what kind of mom doesn’t love a good skip along the avenue with her boy?
As we were trotting, I felt so liberated—free, even. I hadn’t felt so carefree in awhile, with the early week to-dos dancing between the lists in my head. It was invigorating.
We got to John’s and took a window booth. Mackenzie got to sit in her first restaurant high chair. I went to go wash my hands and suggested Daddy feed the baby some solids while we wait for the pizza. He was happy to do it, he said. Where was the diaper bag?
The diaper bag.
It sits on the bench by the front door.
So no solids and no milk. No pacifier. No change of clothes or no fresh diapers. No toy distractions. Just a high chair.
This explained the free feeling. I felt so weightless. Duh.
She started rubbing her eyes and yawning a few minutes in—but the girl sat like a champ, behaving as though it was her throne. We asked for the ends from the loaf of bread and she gnawed on those stale baguette ends for most of the hour we ate there. (She had no idea what she was missing; the pizza was phenomenal.)
My heart was beating a little faster than usual. I felt a bit guilty and a bit nervous about an impending breakdown. But it never came. We chatted and she flirted with anyone and everyone by batting those eyes and fake laughing.
I’d say eight months of Motherhood 2.0 is damn fine.