You know those “I gave blood today” stickers?  I’ve realized that being out and about with a baby is like walking around with that.  But better.  Everyone is so nice to me.  I feel like I’m in an episode of Leave It to Beaver.  When I’m walking through the neighborhood, people wave at me and give me the right a way to cross the street.  At the store, people open doors for me.  Women, men, even kids!  They smile while they do it too.  Even the grumpy lady at the post office is super nice to me when I’m with Ellie.  I get smiles and looks all the time.  I do realize these looks and smiles are for her, and not me.  I just get the benefit.  Hence, the baby factor.

I’m sure the baby factor works for all moms because every baby is cute.  When a baby smiles, giggles, sneezes, poops, or even fart, it’s the cutest thing.  People will walk by and ooh and aah.  From the parking lot to the check-out counter, Ellie is getting comments and smiles all the time.  She’s like a celebrity, and I’m like her publicist.  People ask her questions, and I always answer.  “You are just so cute, and what is your name?”  Her name is Ellie.  “And how old are you Ellie?”  She is one year old.  “You are just the happiest baby aren’tyou!?  Yes you are!  Yes you are!”  Yes, yes she is.  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.  And that is a restaurant.  When you walk into a restaurant that’s primarily filled with men, you can see the terror in their eyes.  And then you can hear their thoughts as the server leads you to a table.  “Don’t sit by me, don’t sit by me, don’t sit by me… aww crap!  Right behind me.  I’m sitting by the table with the baby.”  I remember when I was a kid and we’d go out to eat for Mother’s Day for my grandma.  The server would ask my uncle, “the smoking or non-smoking section?”  His response was, “We’d like the no baby section.” And it’s true, no one wants to sit by a crying baby.  Or even a potential crying baby.

Surprisingly, there was one time the baby factor worked too well at a restaurant.  Too well it’s effects were negative.  I was meeting friends for lunch and the server was so distracted by Ellie she was rude to us.  She was staring at Ellie.  She forgot to ask if we wanted anything to drink.  When I asked a question about the menu, she quickly said she didn’t know while smiling and cooing at Ellie.  And every time she came back to the table, she lingered.  And I mean lingered.  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.  And since I can be socially awkward, especially with strangers, I didn’t know what to do.  My friends and I just kept looking at each other wondering when she was going to leave.  The baby factor had backfired.

Okay, the airplane is a curse for the baby factor too.  I will find this out first hand soon on our twelve hour flight to Japan.  Twelve hours of enjoying everyone’s bad breath and BO, and now we get to add a baby to the mix.  I already plan on having Ellie wear a onesie that says, “I’M SORRY” on it.  I remember on one of my flights to Vegas, I had an empty seat next to me.  I was sitting on the aisle side, the middle seat was empty, and then a guy was sitting by the window.  This was very rare, because these flights from Detroit to Vegas were always packed.  The doors were closing and still no one had taken this seat, and then I noticed her.  Standing in the corner by the bathroom was a mother holding an infant baby.  My heart dropped.  At that moment I knew where she was sitting.  In my row, next to me.  The husband did switch and take the middle seat so she could have the window, but still.  This was too close for comfort.  Upon take off the baby started crying.  And what turned out to be more annoying than the crying baby were the parents.  The mother kept chanting, “uhuhuhuh baby… uhuhuhuhuh baby…”  And while she was doing that, the dad kept saying very quickly, “sleepy time, sleepy time, sleepy time,” over and over again.  I wonder what my go to move will be mid-flight.  It seems weird to sing my usual Yellow Submarine in an airplane.

Well, other than those, the baby factor is golden.  I just wonder how long it lasts.  I’m sure I might be able to milk it a little bit longer since I’m a guy.  But there must be a cut off period when your kid goes from being the cutest baby in the world, to just another kid.  Until then, I’m going to enjoy the baby factor like it’s a free pass at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

2 thoughts on “THE BABY FACTOR

  1. ohhhh i remember when the baby factor backfired. boy, did it EVER backfire. that was SO awkward. if she would have looked away from ellie for ONE second she would have noticed me shooting her nasty glares. 🙂

  2. The baby factor draws other young children to you, too. Ohh, ahhh..look at the baby, what’s her name, how old is she, can she touch me etc. Two very little girls were so excited that Ellie touched their coats. It was soo cute!

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