“Awwwww. Look at the little baby, sweetie!”
I hear the woman’s high-pitched voice behind me and immediately think to myself, “Oh, crap.” It’s not that I don’t enjoy talking about my daughter with other mommies — I love bragging about Skylar’s healthy pooping schedule as much as any other crazy new mother would — but, you know, sometimes I just want to go to Starbucks with my wet hair and breast milk-stained shirt without worrying how I look or having to make any small talk.
But that high-pitched voice talking about my kid…? Means I am EXPECTED to make the requisite mommy chit-chat. So I cover my shirt with the diaper bag and turn around:
“Awwwww,” I smile. “How old is your daughter?”
Of COURSE the woman would have to be gorgeous and perfectly put-together. Just my luck. The yin to my stained yang.
“Fifteen months,” Perfect Mom purred, looking adoringly at her equally gorgeous daughter, then adding the usual: “Your first?”
“Yes, my first baby,” I responded, trying to mimic her adoring look but growing ever more conscious of my hair dripping on the floor.
Skylar, embarrassed by her mother, kept her eyes shut throughout the Small Talk. Wisely maintaining her distance. She does have a rep to protect, after all.
A brief pause. Was that my cue to turn around now? Or was I expected to keep the chit-chat going? Not wanting to appear rude, I pulled another question from my admittedly limited Repertoire of Mommy Conversation Fuelers:
“What’s her name?”
“A beautiful name for a beautiful girl.”
Another uncertain pause. Oh, god. Now what? Should I coo at Skylar to demonstrate what a loving new mom I am? Whip out her pooping schedule and compare notes? I could talk about sangria recipes, online marketing strategy or The Real Housewives of Atlanta (Team NeNe!) till the cows come home, but this mommy stuff is still a bit foreign to me.
Just when I was about to rip off poor Skylar’s onesie and chat umbilical cords — “Look! The damn thing just won’t fall off! Any suggestions?” — for no other reason than to prove I’m capable of talking mommy-style … FINALLY! I reached the front of the line. An acceptable excuse to ixnay this lovely-but-awkward exchange. I whip around, relieved, spraying the line of customers with my wet hair.
“Venti iced non-fat latte. Hold the small talk for now, please.”