The Children’s Menu

My mom and I took Sweet Pea out to lunch last week, and when they asked “how many?” we said “two plus a high chair.”  Sweet Pea is obviously very small (she still only weighs 16 pounds at nine months), and we have a diaper bag full of stuff for her.  But when we sit down, she’s presented with crayons and a children’s menu.  I wasn’t prepared for that, because we’ve only just started putting Sweet Pea in a high chair instead of bringing her car seat into the restaurant.  When you bring the car seat, the waiters automatically assume that the baby is too young to eat regular food.  The menu threw me for a loop.  It brought the fact that Sweet Pea is getting older into much clearer focus.  We didn’t order off the menu for her, seeing as purees are still her food of choice, but the mere presence of the menu was like a beacon shouting “your baby is growing up!  Soon she will be eating hamburgers and wearing low cut jeans and wishing she could go live with her real family!”

Sweet Pea took it all in stride.  She proceeded to fold the menu neatly, then chew it to smithereens. I found myself hoping that the dyes weren’t manufactured in China.  The crayons quickly found their way to the floor, along with her shoes.  I know that Sweet Pea has to be exposed to germs at some point, but I broke out the wipes at least three times during our lunch to clean off the high chair, toys, and the aforementioned shoes.  Since it was Sweet Pea’s nine-month birthday on Friday, we celebrated by giving her some french fries to try.  Wow, you’d have thought the Pope had brought the fries especially for her, she was that excited.  Until she ate so much she threw up.  Go figure.

Oh, you thought I was going to eat your slipper?

Everything finds its way into Sweet Pea’s mouth these days.  It’s gotten so bad that random people at church comment that she must be teething, because nothing else would make her drool this much.  She’s been doing this for a month now, and no more teeth on the horizon.  But the past week or so Sweet Pea has decided that it would be fun to start waking up again at 3am and throw her pacifier behind the crib, then cry until someone comes to fish it out.  Crawling around on the floor in the half-dark at 3am is NOT my idea of a good time.  By the time you actually find the rogue pacifier, Sweet Pea has worked herself into such a tizzy that she’ll only be comforted with milk.  I thought we were done with this nighttime feeding business months ago!  Sigh.

I find myself praying for the day when my body belongs to me again and I don’t feel like a walking dairy.  I pray that Sweet Pea won’t have any serious food allergies like me and Tom, that she doesn’t actually ingest harmful dyes from the clothing tags and menus that she likes to eat, and that she’s the type of child that loves eating spinach and mangoes.

But then I stop and realize that I’m praying for Sweet Pea to grow up.  And I stop, take a deep breath, and try to enjoy the moment.  At least until she spits bagel bits all over my sweater.

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