I saw two babies at the food court this Friday. Each of them was being carried by an adult. From the non-grimacing way these grown-ups wiped baby drool and runny noses, I guessed they were parents. Both babies increased their enthusiastic squirming near a Gelato cart.
I suppose they really liked what they saw - a guy wearing a fetching pin-striped hat, grinning and scooping up luscious blobs of coldness and placing them in cosy, biscuit-cones. Now, they wanted a part of the action. One of them was making little leaping actions to grab the hat, while the other made goo-goo sounds at gelato containers.
The parents glowed and beamed at how cute their munchkins were getting. Then they started moving away and what followed was volte face extraordinaire. The babies started screaming – a robust, extended bellow. Both of them. No googoo or cuddly leaping actions. Deep guttural cries because parents moved away from a gelato cart. As I had watched the whole thing, I honestly hadn’t anticipated such a volatile reaction. But maybe, there is no such thing as a ‘disproportionate response’ from someone who wears padded duckie knickers.
The father meekly suggested to the mother that they probably get some ice cream for the kids. The mother refused. The father shrugged and probably resigned himself to the fact that mother knows best.
The kid in the father’s arms started kicking him in the gut. The one in the mother’s arms, completely devoid of an original idea of harassment, copies his brother.
Both parents look at the angry chubby babies – unfathomably agitated – and suddenly, they smile – a little conspiratorial grin.
It’s fun watching young parents bask in the ephemeral happy phase – when they regard their babies as a private joke.