Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mouth Spit

Because of a lot of the issues we had with reflux etc, Baby was well into 6 months old before we really started taking day trips.  At this point, I was seriously feeling the cabin fever and desperately wanting to make some other stay-at-home-mom friends.  I connected with a local moms group and decided to attend a meeting / play date they were having at a local indoor playground.

Of course, that morning Baby also decided it was time to adjust her nap schedule and the chances of socializing were looking increasingly slim.  So it's a good thing she took a terrible nap and refused to go back to sleep (sarcasm), which put us right in time for the meeting.

The playground is at a local church.  It's all very hush hush... you go to the back, press a buzzer, mummer your request, and the door unlocks. Walking down the hallway, I could hear what can only be described as complete and total chaos.  The scene unfolding before my eyes as we made our way to the infant/toddler section can be summed up in four words: Lord of the Flies.

Baby pulled in close at the sheer noise.  I reassured her that no one would be roasting her over an open fire.  A little girl wandered over and pulled at my sleeve.  "Hi," I smiled at her.  She solemnly showed me a tattoo on her hand.  Great, we're in gang territory.  I quietly nodded my head in understanding, and she permitted us to remain near the play wall.

Slowly a few moms trickled over our direction for the meeting.  Their children were off fending for themselves at the slides while we made polite conversation.  Baby pulled up near the play wall to look at a little wooden toy with animals on tracks.  She squealed with delight.  I tried not to think about all the tiny hands that had touched said toy.  It's fine. We have to get out of the house eventually.  I can't keep her hidden away forever.  I took a deep breath.

Baby took my hand and we walked over to a large, round fun-house kind of mirror.  She squealed and slapped her hand down on the surface.  My heart stopped.  Her hand. was. in. spit.  My baby's hand was in another baby's mouth spit.

mouth spit.

mouth spit.

I smiled while one of the other moms continued to tell me about her vacation, but the world had gone silent.  All I could hear was the deafening sound of my baby's fingers splashing around in someone else's mouth spit like a puddle on a rainy day.  The room was getting hot.  I started to sweat.  It was a New Mom's Choose Your Own Adventure.

Do you sweep baby up, run over to your diaper bag, and disinfect her hand immediately?  And then disinfect the mirror... and the wooden toy... and your hands...

Yes ->  The room falls silent.  All eyes are on you as you feverishly attempt to clean the playground one sani-wipe at a time.  The other moms are whispering, giggling at the fool you are making of yourself.  What a new mom, they must be saying.  How ridiculous is she being, it's just a playground.

No ->  Your baby puts her freshly spat upon hands in her mouth, assimilating someone else's mouth spit with her own.  The stranger's mouth spit wreaks havoc, spreading all sorts of plagues around your baby's internals.

You think you know what I picked, don't you?  Well, I overpowered every instinct and voice in my head so that I could just sit there. I sat there, and I nodded at the other moms, and I watched on in horror as, despite my best attempts, baby managed to get her hand into her mouth.  My skin was crawling off my body.  She smeared her dual spit hand across my face, and I knew I had made the wrong decision.  I smiled, averted my eyes, and wandered over to my diaper bag.  I blocked the view with my body as I frantically wiped her hands, then my hands, then her hands again, but I knew it was too late.  The mouth spit had invaded.  The damage was done.

Baby was getting pretty fussy, and I knew nap time was approaching.  Honestly, I didn't need much of an excuse to flee the scene.  Once in the car, my anxiety reached an all time high.  My husband called to see how the play date had gone. "HORRIBLE!" I responded.  "There were a million of kids there, screaming and pushing each other and running everywhere!  It was loud and overwhelming!  AND THEN THE BABY PUT A STRANGER'S MOUTH SPIT IN HER MOUTH."



"I'm sure it's fine, sweetie."


For the next several hours, I was essentially wandering around the house twitching and chanting "mouth spit."

Two days later, Baby got sick.  One day after that, I got sick.  My head was pounding, my throat hurt, and all I could see was that damn glob of mouth spit perched on the mirror, waiting.  Waiting and taunting me. Taunting me and laughing maniacally as I committed the most common mom mistake: self doubt.  Because although you do have to let go a bit and embrace the messiness of having a child, I think ingesting someone else's mouth spit is a pretty reasonable place to draw the line.

Baby and I are sick yet again.  We had a play date earlier in the week, and though I'm squinting my eyes suspiciously, there is no Mouth Spit Villain in this scenario.  Despite my hesitation, baby sat on the carpeted floor of a coffee shop and played with another baby and that baby's toys.  And unfortunately, Baby got sick.  And then I got sick.  I think this clearly falls into the "Shot is Going to Happen" category.  There is no pivotal moment for me to play back in my mind and fuel my mom guilt fire.  And yet, here I am, picturing that gob of Mouth Spit and shaking my head, as if the Mouth Spit Incident of 2013 has permanently compromised our immune systems.

Mouth Spit.

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