Monday, June 23, 2014

Parenthood: Week 56 – That Girl

Look, I totally understood why that girl gave me that annoyed “does that baby really have to sit so close to me?”-look.  No, it wasn’t a crowded restaurant but because the way the tables set up one of the only places that I could feasibly put a high chair was at the table two down from that girl.

I live in a college town, so it’s not unusual to go into a restaurant and see a student camped out at a table with a laptop and other books spread across a table. This girl clearly had been at the table for a while and was planning to stick around from the way she had settled in. She had slid off her sandals and had carefully tucked her feet under her legs as she sat there working.

From the moment I turned the corner with Ollie and my diaper bag I could see that look of annoyance in her eyes. She happened to be sitting right next to the stack of high chairs and I swear I heard her sigh as I struggled to get one off the stack with one hand while carrying Ollie in my other arm.

We settled down in that table, not right next to her but one away and she looked down at her laptop and continued to work. Diana brought our food over and we proceeded to eat lunch. Ollie’s back was to that girl while me and Diana portioned out parts of our food that would make up his lunch.

Ollie wasn’t making an unreasonable amount of sound but he was enjoying himself as he usually does when he eats. He made satisfied hums as he enjoyed the texture of the avocado, grunted annoyingly when he wanted more food and giggled as he watched food that he dropped splatter on the floor.

As Ollie finished his lunch he started turning around in his high chair to look at that girl. And he didn’t stop after he got a good look. He wasn’t being subtle at all. Ollie has no sense of social norms and will sometimes stare at strangers. What makes this even cuter is that often when he does this he smiles and waves in his own way, which is either opening and closing his hand or lifting his arms up and down repeatedly.

The third time Ollie turned around to look at that girl, she waved back and smiled at Ollie. His smile, which I didn’t think could get any bigger, got a little wider and he bounced in his high chair in response to her greeting.

As we cleaned up and left, he continued to look over to her and smile because every time he did, she smiled back.

Ollie has that effect on people. Even when they aren’t exactly thrilled to be around a baby, Ollie has a way of bringing out a little smile in them.

I love that about my son.

So next time a baby or a little kid stares at you for way too long and smiles, please smile back. Show them that the world is kind and that if you try to brighten up the day, you will receive joy in return.

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