If you take a little one enough places, you are bound to have some interesting experiences and encounters, many of which deal with how unique some people respond to babies.
Some of these reactions, some funny, others genuine, deserve a little rehashing. It's the kind of stuff you could not make up if you tried. With that in mind, here's some memorable encounters:
•€¦ Last Sunday, we picked up some pumpkins at a local roadside stand for our front stoop. Of course, the little guy came as well as did the trusty camera. The nice owners of the stand along Route 589 were kind enough to let us place our baby all over the pumpkins so we could get some snapshots of him in his first pumpkin patch of sorts. While we were overdoing it and setting up our shots (45 or so), the farmer responsible for the goods on sale came over to observe. It was surely unexpected, considering he had a truckload of pumpkins of all shapes and sizes to unload. Here was this big man, walking with a slight limp as most farmers do after a lifetime of making a living off the land, hitting a knee to fuss over a baby. There he was with his charcoal-shaded hands, that had been who knows where that day, touching our wide-eyed son's cheeks and dipping his wind-burnt face into his car seat to get a closer look and some baby talk. It was a sight to behold and our son was not the only one with some wide-open eyes as his parents imagined what those hands had been through on that day. We hoped it was just the dirt.
... While at Jimmys Kitchen last weekend, we got lucky. He was in the middle of his morning nap so my wife and I could actually eat together. That's a rarity these days. Of course, we still whispered our order to our waitress, just to be sure. While we were eating, a proud set of grandparents at the next table was eyeballing Beckett. We exchanged some typical pleasantries and a plate of eggs and 15 minutes later we knew how many children and grandchildren they had, the subtle differences between infant boys and girls and the hair and eye color of the youngest granddaughter (a half dozen pictures were displayed to prove it). If it weren't for the baby, that conversation never would have taken place.
•€¦ While at a fast-food restaurant on a recent road trip to the Outer Banks with our little one, we had another interesting encounter. After Beckett was finished his bottle, I put him over my shoulder for a good burp without realizing there was a woman behind us who got a big baby burp in her ear as she ate her 'thickburger.' While charming to us, I realize to others it may be borderline distasteful, especially considering the smell leaves a little to be desired. Apology aside, she finished her meal and did not seem upset, confirming it was no big deal with a 'he's a cutie' on her way out the door. No way to tell if that was sarcasm.
-- During a stop at the Berlin Fall Festival this month, it was interesting to watch as some kids approached the stroller and reached in without concern. One young girl, who apparently had just eaten something involving chocolate by the looks of her hands, started playfully poking our little guy in the belly and cheeks. He simply giggled and looked at me for I interpreted as reassurance. I couldn't help but wonder how long that chocolate had been on her fingers and how many had been in her mouth and the kitten's she was just petting. Trying to think on my feet, and honestly wanting her to take her disgusting fingers elsewhere, I said something along the lines of, 'watch out he does bite every once in a while •€¦ I think your mom is calling you.' She ran off thankfully with just a few dried up pieces of chocolate on our baby's cheek.
-- While in a department store the other day, a stranger approached my wife because of the baby. Pointing at him as he slept in the stroller, she said, 'oh he's so nice and chubby, is his daddy chubby?' That's funny on a number of levels.
-- Some people are just 'baby people' and The Globe co-owner Jennifer Dawicki-David falls into that category. We are in The Globe at least once a week (Sushi Nite on Thursdays is a must), and she has been entertaining and fussing over little Beckett since he was born. Whenever she is free, she scoops him up out of his car seat and shows him around the restaurant while we eat and kick back. What a delight. Eating sushi while a friend walks our smiling baby around for a few minutes, showing him the world of art, makes for a wonderful night out.
-- Last but certainly not least, grandparents have some of the most sincere reactions to kids. For them, it's the 'been there done that' thing and relishing in the fact their kids are beginning the journey of a lifetime by raising children of their own. Grandparents relish their grandkids and it brings out the best in them, from the baby talk and silly grins to the unbelievable acts of generosity and kindness. One of Beckett's grandfathers seems so touched by the latest arrival to his family he appears to tear up whenever he gets his burly hands on him. It's that recognition and appreciation of the greatest gift of all. It's a wonderfully touching sight to behold. The look and sentiment says it all.
Some people get it and he gets it, and all you parents know what I mean by 'it'.