The hardest part of going to town with a baby is the end: when the baby is tired and hungry, but won’t subtly breastfeed and instead pulls his head away every five seconds to let milk shoot out all over his face and shirt, white droplets speckling his hair. This coincides with the mama overheating, feeling sweaty and flustered and ready to surrender her hope of completing the last items on the agenda: buying a chocolate chip cookie from the corner bakery and picking up a new book at the library.
The best part of going to town with a baby are the smiles: when strangers stop to coo, when the baby lights up at a new face and makes their day, when all the people who would normally walk right past instead become momentary friends.
I brought Waylon into town today to do the laundry. We did laps around town while we waited for the clothes to wash and then dry. Waylon was happy for the most part, sitting in the laundry basket as I transferred the clothes from washer to drier, smiling up at a woman waiting for her own laundry to finish. I saw his tiredness set in before he started to loose it. His eyelids always redden when he needs sleep.
I pulled the laundry out before the drier sounded its completion, and stuffed the hot clothes into their respective bags, not taking the time to fold. With Waylon strapped into the Ergo, I began running bags of laundry across the street to the car. The duvet cover fell five feet from the car, tumbling out of the laundry basket that balanced on my hip, and as I turned to see it laying in the wet and muddy street, resignation washed over me. Stuffing the duvet into the back, mud and all, I took a breath and resolved to get my cookie. A little walk would help Waylon fall asleep.
“Just a cooke? No tea, coffee?” the girl at the counter asked.
“Nope, just a cookie,” I said, smiling. I took a little nibble as we headed toward the library, then closed the bag to save it for home. We made it to the fiction section on the second floor before Waylon let out his first screech.
Sshhhh I hummed and added an extra bounce to my step.
Then the second screech came, and without taking the time to read the inside cover, I pulled a Tom Robbins book off the shelf and headed back down to check it out. By the time we reached the car, he was almost asleep, and the rumbling car quickly lulled his cries. Now I sit home, Waylon napping in the hammock, chocolate chip cookie half eaten beside me, and a new book to read. The jacket of Villa Incognito reads that “in its lusty, amusing way it both celebrates existence and challenges our ideas about it.”
Between working, planning our second farm season, and being a mom to an increasingly mobile and curious babe, I could use a little escape, a little celebration, and a little challenge to my own ideas of existence. And Tom Robbins is just the author to whisk me away for a bit.
With my cookie and book, I’ll savor the evening.
Sometimes, the hardest part and the best part of going to town is simply getting home.