Yesterday I made the somewhat dubious decision to show the boy off to my old co-workers. There wasn't any animosity when I quit, but it was a difficult decision to arrive at and I think all of us felt a little confused and awkward by the time I left. But I like these people, so, y'know, I wanted to share this big event with them. Just because. Or something. So I went. Of course as soon as I got there I was thinking, "Good gravy, what was I thinking..." but the door was already open and the stroller halfway through before I realized I was a big nut. Thusly committed, I rolled the bun into the lobby.
After a few moments of somewhat strained chitchat with my replacement, he went to gather up the troops for a baby-goggle. Out came this editor and that editor, and then my other replacement, who didn't even say hello but just went back to his desk. I took the bun out of the stroller so everyone could appropriately coo and ogle, and it was polite if somewhat strained.
One of the editors (in the old days, I was his right-hand, um, man) brought out his client as well. She was much more effusive in her appraisal of the bun, apparently because she was used to this whole child-bearing thing unlike the mostly gay-male staff who clearly found it slightly bizarre and off-putting. So we were commiserating on the basics: how you can't do anything at all once they're mobile.
She said, "Once they turn over, forget putting them on the bed so you can take a shower!"
I said, "I know, I have to take him in the shower with me now."
The conversation continued, but did I notice a little lag, a pregnant pause? Did I sense some infinitesimal shift toward confusion or distaste? Did everyone just barely take a step back? Perhaps it was just me.
We said our farewells, the editors went back to work and I departed a little bummed out.
Today as I was taking a shower, and playing peek-a-boo from behind the curtain with the bun who was happily rocketing in his bouncy seat next to the sink, it dawned on me that perhaps they thought that I was actually in the shower with a five-month-old baby. There, lolling on the porcelain against a loofah so that the suds didn't get in his eyes. "Here, can you hold this for me?" handing him the bar of soap. "Hey, don't chew the shampoo, try this washcloth instead." Trying to balance him with my foot as I shave my legs. "Oops, sorry, didn't mean to nick you!"
Sometimes one must be a little more precise when one is speaking.
And I suppose that they might not be so inclined to rehire me if they think that I'm so irresponsible that I drown the baby daily.