One of the main woes of parenting is the prospect of your child acting out of the norm in a public situation. Any circumstance is manageable in the comfort of your own home, however once put on the spotlight by single individuals who have no understanding, and even other parents alike, you almost buckle under the pressure. If parenting was not hard enough, the trials and tribulations of making a public display is almost unbearable.
DH and I had, what I would call, a mortifying experience today whilst lunching at Wagamama; it was one of those moments you hear about and pray it would never happen to you. DS had been absolutely fine leading up to this point, happily running around causing havoc and shouting ‘Mummy’ every few seconds to make sure I was a few metres behind. He had even devoured his pasta dish I pre-prepared, as well as picking at our plates. However, half way through our meal DS began to cough, repeatedly, until suddenly.. BLEUGH. Projectile vomit everywhere. A white liquid with bits of regurgitated pasta, peas and noodles formed a moat around us, and it just kept on coming. DS was sick for a fair few minutes before taking a breath and letting out a very loud cry.
The waitresses and waiters were very kind and sympathetic to us and cleaned up his mess promptly. DH rushed to the toilets to changed DS’ clothes and clean the sick off his shoes, whilst I sat at our table soaking up the stares. I noticed whilst DS was being sick, there was a very animated man sitting a few tables away from us in a turquoise version of those Mr Men t-shirts from Next. He was obviously so disgusted he had to exclaim ‘oh my god’ to his friend, mimic the action of being sick, cover his eyes and turn his back to the situation, to later shoot me a dirty look. As if I poisoned my son to make him spew everywhere in order to purposely ruin this man’s lunch. How vindictive of me.
I was extremely apologetic to the onlookers, not because I was genuinely sorry, but I felt that is what they wanted to hear. It is easier to play the hopeless mother under public scrutiny than to hit them with the obvious reality; DS is a baby, babies are sick sometimes. I am neither a better or worse mother because of it. My apologies however were genuine to the staff who had promptly snapped on a pair of rubber gloves and cleaned up the mess.
Diners who judge parents on their baby’s behaviour should remember that the child is an individual. Sometimes they are sick, sometimes they cry, sometimes the parents are undergoing their own parental tactics for the long-term gain. Just because you are not ‘in’ on it, does not mean you are excluded; play the game and smile along, you will be home soon.