Old Habits

A thousand years ago, when I used to be a lawyer, I'd dash into Starbucks for my caffeine fix and sometimes see them.  Mommies, enjoying a latte, glancing at the newspaper while their little one chewed a scone or slept in a stroller.  "Who are those women?" I'd wonder, as I calculated how many tenths of an hour I'd have to make up in exchange for my coffee break (.4).  "What lives they must lead.  No deadlines, no stress. . . ."  Then I would grab my coffee, which I drank without sugar to avoid standing in line for condiments (.1), and hustle back to the office.

Fast forward.  I've scuttled my career and have kids in tow.  But I still gaze at those women sipping their coffee, flipping through the paper  checking their iPhones, and wonder about their lives.  Because my trips to the coffee shop look a little different. 

Today, we had no adult food in the house and I hadn't eaten when I picked Buzzy up from preschool at 1:00, so I planned to grab lunch, and pick up some bread and milk at the local coffee shop/bakery/wanna-be hipster hangout.  But before we left preschool and its Lilliputian potties, I asked Buzzy if she had to use the bathroom.  She said no.  I asked if she was sure.  She was.

At the coffee shop/bakery, I ignored Buzzy's whines for a cookie, ordered soup for myself and a scone for the kids, and sat us all down.  To protest my cookie veto, Buzzy repeatedly threw her coat on the floor and picked it up.  When that grew old, she announced she had to go to the bathroom.  I strapped the baby into her stroller, and we navigated the crowded shop. 

"I have SO MUCH POO!" Buzzy's three year old voice piped clearly.  The crowd of hipsters parted like the Red Sea.  She wasn't kidding, either, and sat on the potty for the long haul.  She would have settled in with the Times if she could read.

After five minutes, I had to ask.  "Honey, are you done yet?" 

"No! I have more poo!" she said in a voice that carried well past the thin door separating us from the seating area.  Rosie wasn't happy about being stuck in the stoller in the bathroom stall and started to wail.  I began to wish for reading material of my own.  Fifteen minutes later (.3), we finally left the bathroom. 

My soup was stone cold, and a family of three was now sharing the other end of the table.  They were all reading quietly--the father was halfway through Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, and the mother had something that looked equally serious.  Buzzy, mood much improved after camping out in the potty, started chattering to Rosie.

It must be shared that Buzzy has the innocent and unfortunate habit of calling Rosie 'pussycat'.  (We traced it back to Rosie's love of cats and Buzzy's book of nursery rhymes, which includes one about a pussycat going to London to visit the queen.)  Actually, it's no secret after today. 

"How's my little pussy?" Buzzy called to the baby in her high chair.  The family of three looked up from their books in unison. 

"Is my little pussycat hungry?" She shoved part of the scone in her sister's mouth.  "Does my little puss want more?"

Time to leave the cold soup and to get my loquacious preschooler out.  Halfway to the door, I realized I'd forgotten the bread (upon which my grand dinner plan of grilled cheese sandwiches depended), so I quickly returned to the counter to buy a loaf.  In lieu of lunch, I also bought a cup of coffee.  I still drink it without sugar to avoid standing in line for condiments.  Sometimes, .1 of an hour is just too long.


  1. Great stuff. Hang in there it gets better and I should know.

  2. You crack me up...thank you for meeting me a a coffeehouse this morning w/ your crew in tow.

  3. We had a great time! See how easily we got off today?

  4. Your entries are so great! Luckily, I haven't had this kind of experience but I still feel your pain. Keep writing your adventures.

  5. Gave me a good laugh! This would be me, except we billed in quarter hour increments! ;)

    To tell the truth, I think the peaceful mom in the coffee shop is a myth...you just caught them in their 5 minute window. Or, they only had one child with them, and they were asleep!

  6. you are such a gifted writer, I love reading your stuff...I often wonder how long it takes you to draft something (.3), It takes me forever and they're never half as well crafted. You should come write for World Moms Blog, you'd be great! I loved this post

  7. You are making me blush. Thank you for your kind works--from a professional writer, no less! But I cheat b/c I wait a long time for something to happen that's easy to write about. (Which explains why I average about a post a month). Even so, it can take anywhere from .5 to 1.5.


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