You know those “I gave blood today” stickers? Â I’ve realized that being out and about with a baby is like walking around with that. Â But better. Â Everyone is so nice to me. Â I feel like I’m in an episode of Leave It to Beaver. Â When I’m walking through the neighborhood, people wave at me and give me the right a way to cross the street. Â At the store, people open doors for me. Â Women, men, even kids! Â They smile while they do it too. Â Even the grumpy lady at the post office is super nice to me when I’m with Ellie. Â I get smiles and looks all the time. Â I do realize these looks and smiles are for her, and not me. Â I just get the benefit. Â Hence, the baby factor.
I’m sure the baby factor works for all moms because every baby is cute. Â When a baby smiles, giggles, sneezes, poops, or even fart, it’s the cutest thing. Â People will walk by and ooh and aah. Â From the parking lot to the check-out counter, Ellie is getting comments and smiles all the time. Â She’s like a celebrity, and I’m like her publicist. Â People ask her questions, and I always answer. Â “You are just so cute, and what is your name?” Â Her name is Ellie. Â “And how old are you Ellie?” Â She is one year old. Â “You are just the happiest baby aren’tyou!? Â Yes you are! Â Yes you are!” Â Yes, yes she is. Â It’s not just my kid either, it’s babies in general.
There is one place where the baby factor doesn’t work to my advantage. Â And that is a restaurant. Â When you walk into a restaurant that’s primarily filled with men, you can see the terror in their eyes. Â And then you can hear their thoughts as the server leads you to a table. Â “Don’t sit by me, don’t sit by me, don’t sit by me… aww crap! Â Right behind me. Â I’m sitting by the table with the baby.” Â I remember when I was a kid and we’d go out to eat for Mother’s Day for my grandma. Â The server would ask my uncle, “the smoking or non-smoking section?” Â His response was, “We’d like the no baby section.” And it’s true, no one wants to sit by a crying baby.Â Or even a potential crying baby.
Surprisingly, there was one time the baby factor worked too well at a restaurant. Â Too well it’s effects were negative. Â I was meeting friends for lunch and the server was so distracted by Ellie she was rude to us. Â She was staring at Ellie. Â She forgot to ask if we wanted anything to drink. Â When I asked a question about the menu, she quickly said she didn’t know while smiling and cooing at Ellie. Â And every time she came back to the table, she lingered. Â And I mean lingered. Â There we were, eating burgers, with barbecue sauce dripping down my chin and the server staring at my kid smiling like she was a proud grandma. Â And since I can be socially awkward, especially with strangers, I didn’t know what to do. Â My friends and I just kept looking at each other wondering when she was going to leave. Â The baby factor had backfired.
Okay, the airplane is a curse for the baby factor too. Â I will find this out first hand soon on our twelve hour flight to Japan. Â Twelve hours of enjoying everyone’s bad breath and BO, and now we get to add a baby to the mix. Â I already plan on having Ellie wear a onesie that says, “I’M SORRY” on it. Â I remember on one of my flights to Vegas, I had an empty seat next to me. Â I was sitting on the aisle side, the middle seat was empty, and then a guy was sitting by the window. Â This was very rare, because these flights from Detroit to Vegas were always packed. Â The doors were closing and still no one had taken this seat, and then I noticed her. Â Standing in the corner by the bathroom was a mother holding an infant baby. Â My heart dropped. Â At that moment I knew where she was sitting. Â In my row, next to me. Â The husband did switch and take the middle seat so she could have the window, but still. Â This was too close for comfort. Â Upon take off the baby started crying. Â And what turned out to be more annoying than the crying baby were the parents. Â The mother kept chanting, “uhuhuhuh baby… uhuhuhuhuh baby…” Â And while she was doing that, the dad kept saying very quickly, “sleepy time, sleepy time, sleepy time,” over and over again. Â I wonder what my go to move will be mid-flight. Â It seems weird to sing my usual Yellow Submarine in an airplane.
Well, other than those, the baby factor is golden. Â I just wonder how long it lasts. Â I’m sure I might be able to milk it a little bit longer since I’m a guy. Â But there must be a cut off period when your kid goes from being the cutest baby in the world, to just another kid. Â Until then, I’m going to enjoy the baby factor like it’s a free pass at an all-you-can-eat buffet.