I had a lovely lunch with a good friend today. Henry was only a little moany, but I think that was because it was sweltering in the restaurant. He was crying and refused to settle down, so I attempted to eat my roast while holding him. There was a few well-meaning fellow diners around that offered to hold Henry while I ate. I smiled politely and rejected their offers. One kind lady even asked if I had a bottle she wanted me to feed him so my food wouldn’t get cold, but I informed her that he was a breastfed baby, and we all made a joke of it.
It isn’t that I wasn’t thankful for their willingness to help, it’s lovely that they understood the difficulty of juggling a crying baby and dinner in a public place, it’s just I don’t feel comfortable letting strangers hold my child let alone feeding him. I’m sure they are lovely people, but for all I know they could be one of those few psychotic child-snatchers. I’m pretty sure they aren’t, but I can manage, so why take the risk?
My friend had the good sense to suggest maybe sitting outside. It was cooler and we were the only ones out there so it didn’t feel so stressful. If Henry cried there would be no one to tut or to make judgement, and no one to make me feel like I was ruining their dinner by being there. I know I have a right to be there too, but sometimes it’s nice having the seclusion and privacy. He was calm after that, and fell asleep in his pushchair, allowing us to eat our lukewarm vegetables in peace.
I love my little munchkin, and I am so proud of him. Sometimes I over-stress about him crying in public, which I know is ridiculous but I do get the occasional glare from someone who has obviously had no experience of babies whatsoever. They must think that if he is crying, surely I have done something wrong.
It really helps to have a friend there too, especially the lovely lady I spent lunch with today. She’s a calming influence, the type of person that says ‘oh dear’ with a smile when Henry grumbles, then picks him up and plays with him instead of panicking that they don’t know what to do. I used to be the one who panics, because I’ve never had that mothering instinct. I was never too fussed by babies growing up, unlike most girls. I’m turning into a more natural mother, quite slowly, but I’m definitely getting there.