First holiday party of the month at the Brooklyn apartment of a college friend. The elevator doors part and three parked strollers greet me. BIG inhale. I can’t turn back now, I’m already here. I muster the courage and open the door…
Earlier, I had texted the hostess to ask what I could bring. “Just u! xxx” Looking down at my feet at the sea of toddlers of exactly the same height, I realized I had been exempted from the Bring Your Own Baby requirement. I instantly change my mind about not drinking and seek out the bar. As I contain my panic, I scan the room more efficiently than all generations of the Terminator combined. Was it that long ago you scanned the party to spot a hot guy? Here I was desperate to find anybody who was standing alone and NOT holding a binky.
I found a safe haven in the kitchen and made small talk with a woman who sported a bump–a real one unlike my post-Thanksgiving food-baby. “Yeah, this is the life I can look forward to, I suppose,” she says. See? Even a pregnant person doesn’t enjoy this toddler swarm fest–oh, there goes a kid pulling on a Christmas tree ornament. Oh wait, this one is looking for her sippy cup, and this one stole a cookie from the other kid. Each act followed by a “Sweetie this,” “Sweetheart that,” “Cutie Pie blah.” Next to the cheese board is a dozen mini apple juice packs with Big Bird on the side. He looks trapped. “Can you tell me how to get me outta here back to Sesame Street?”
I find a spot on the couch after the first wave of departures. I apparently spill wine when I get up to hug a friend good bye. “Uhhh, Todd,” I inform the host, “I think one of those hyper kids just spilled purple apple juice on your couch.” Thankfully, the couch was as sans-proof as it was childproof and it wiped off easily. Meanwhile, I learn that the majority of the kids are from the mom group organized by birth month, explaining why they were all the same size. “There’s 65 babies in this neighborhood who were born the same month as Marina.” Oy, Park Slope! Parenting capital of America!
Following another wave of departures, one of the cats comes out of hiding and circles around the living room. His surveillance mission earns him the loving slap-pet technique of two toddlers, for which his patience runs out at the first “awww” when one of them bends over for a hug. He quickly goes back in the direction he came from, and on his way out, deliberately rubs his body against my foot. “I know your pain,” he says.
I wonder if being able to communicate with a cat makes me one step closer to becoming the cat lady.