We are having dinner in a posh restaurant downtown. A friends couple invited us to celebrate their marriage. I participate in discussions on and off. When I am able to have a conversation, the baby is sitting in my lap and chews on a slice of bread. When he gets bored, he wants mommy to hold his hands and walk around with him. Luckily, the restaurant is half empty so we have a few tables, chairs and candles to admire without bothering anyone. Never mind that my tomato soup and the fishcake get cold. The baby is happy. I ask my husband to attend the baby so that I can eat the cold food. The table conversation continues.
Our friends share their memories from their honeymoon. My mind travels all the way to Delhi where I contemplate the streets full of life, color, and dirt. The waitress shows up triumphantly with the dessert on the tray. The icecream cocktail winks at me and my mouth is watering. The baby sits in his father’s lap and plays with a teaspoon. When the icecream arrives in front of me, I grab the teaspoon in a hurry and I drop it even faster. The baby just started crying. Our friends look at me. My husband tries to comfort the baby. Persons from the nearby tables look at me stealthily, or I imagine they do. I stare at the baby with a hopeless look. His crying is getting stronger and stronger. I stand up, take him from his father’s arms and wish them to enjoy the dessert. I really mean it! I let them savour the sweet moment while I am taking steps to a remote corner in the restaurant.
I keep on telling to myself that I am the one who can calm him down. So, here I am, sitting on a chair in the remote and dim corner, like a punished school girl. I dream of the taste of the icecream while my baby is drinking milk greedily. After a few minutes, he falls asleep in my arms. By the time when we return to the table, the icecream is almost melted.
This is not the first time when my dinner is interrupted. When it happens, I get furios with the world, with myself, with my husband and with our baby for not having the chance to finish my food. Then, I get angry with myself for getting angry with the baby. Argh! A loop of exponential anger which makes me even more angry. I want to put an end to it. But how? Anger is a feeling which can’t be too controlled, especially when being sleep deprived. “How about rationalizing and prioritizing my choices?” I think to myself. First choice, baby’s needs go first. Second choice, I want to have inner peacefulness when I hold him in my arms. Easier said than done especially when he chooses to cry for attention when I am about to have few minutes of gourmet joy. I’ll mumble to my chin, I’ll smile to the baby and I’ll give him a kiss as he is crying his lungs out. And, I look at the bright side: at least I stay fit. I also wonder how other mothers handle similar situations. Maybe they don’t mind at all having their lunch or dinner interrupted. But if they do, how do they react? What inner mechanism do they have which keeps them in balance at such moments of trial? As for myself, I will keep on practising my own coping mechanism: mumble, smile and kiss good bye the moment of joy.