Baby group with the first-born is comforting, with the second it’s obligatory and after the third it’s torture. Guilt is the only reason that she’d signed up for Carols’ twelve-week class. It’s now week two and she already wants to quit. However, if Ava goes to preschool, pulls hair and bites other children, then Heather knows that she’ll blame herself. She’ll think that she should’ve better socialized Ava, and taken her to Mommy and Me, like she did with Dylan and Kaitlin.
Heather pulls into the community center parking lot for class six minutes late. Ava is asleep in her car seat. Heather turns off the engine. She’ll wait for Ava to wake on her own, otherwise she’ll be fussy. Heather imagines Ava crying in class and herself getting unsolicited advice from well-meaning but annoying new moms. They can give me advice once they’ve simultaneously nursed one baby and played Dora the Explorer with a toddler.
A black Range Rover pulls in a few cars away from Heather’s Escalade. It’s Molly Stratton, new mother extraordinaire and possible winner of Best Dressed in Pacific Palisades. Heather slumps in her seat and tries to hide. She doesn’t feel like chitchat. She’s been up since six am getting Kaitlin ready for the school talent show and talking Dylan out of a puppy. She’d like to sit and enjoy the silence in her car for as long as possible. Like a spy, Heather watches Molly effortlessly unfold an eight hundred dollar stroller from her trunk. They’ve come along way, Heather thinks, picturing her six-year old Graco stroller that she still fights to assemble daily.
Molly removes her angelic-looking daughter from the car and slips a designer diaper bag over her shoulder. Heather thinks about how she’s managing to get Kaitlin from a play-date and Dylan home from practice this afternoon as she watches Molly strut through the parking lot in 4-inch wedges. Anything is possible, she decides.
Heather sits up straight and looks at herself in the rearview mirror. With some makeup she might not look too bad. There’s something white and shiny on top of her head. Maybe a piece of lint. She brushes it away but it doesn’t move. She leans closer to her reflection and gasps. It’s a grey hair. Her first gray hair. It grows straight up like a weed on top of her head. Like a unicorn, she thinks then plucks it out. It hurts but feels good. She studies it in the palm of her hand. Finally, proof of how very old I feel, she thinks. This makes her happy. I’ve learned a lot in the past ten years, she decides. There are good parts of aging. I can change diapers and talk on the phone at the same time. If someone is upset in the house then I’m the first to know. I can hide vegetables in a variety of sauces. I can usually finish my husband’s sentences.
Heather turns on the car and pulls out of the parking lot. This grey hair has freed me, she thinks. I am officially too old for baby group and I will pluck no more.
Don’t miss chapters one through twenty three!
Note: The ModernMom Chronicles is a completely fictional novel. The story is not a personal blog, nor is it based on existing people or families