Today I took Anna, Maya and Natalie with me to get my nails done. We waited until Natalie fell asleep in her infant seat and then we seized the moment. I found a parking spot a mere eight blocks from the salon and lugged the sleeping Natalie in her car seat as I limped along, thanks to an unfortunate episode involving my big toe and the stone step into our kitchen.
I was suffering between the toe and the cumbersome infant seat, but of course the five-year-olds had the greater angst. "This is such a long way," Anna said. "I can barely make it." A few times Anna halted conveniently in the middle of intersections to ruminate.
But we finally made it, and the neon lights of the salon were an oasis in the desert. Soon my feet would be lovely and soft again! To my great relief, Natalie slept peacefully during all procedures while Anna and Maya acted extraordinarily grown-up as their fingernails were painted in matching gold hues. Just before I left, Natalie woke, and I looked down and realized that my big toe had been smudged.
I asked Anna to hold Natalie for a few moments while I had the toe fixed. Natalie started to wriggle out of Anna's arms, and the woman who had painted my nails came over to help, because I didn't yet have the use of my fingers.
She held Natalie in her arms and said, "Is it a boy or a girl?"
"A girl," I said.
"She doesn't look like a girl," the woman said.
"Well she is in kind of a boyish outfit," I conceded.
The pacifier then slipped from Natalie's mouth to the floor. I asked Anna to drop it in the infant seat, because I still couldn't pick it up with my wet nails. But the woman said, "No! It must be washed." I said, "Oh yeah, Anna, Maya, will you wash this for me?" The girls were thrilled with the task and headed to the sink at the back of the salon.
And then the woman said, "You really should trim your baby's nails. They shouldn't be long like this. She could scratch herself."
I nodded. What an astute observation and handy bit of advice!
Then, with Natalie still in her arms she bounced her and sang this clever ditty (to be sung to the tune of "Nah-nah-a-boo-boo, stick-your-head-in-dog-do"), "I don't have any babies, but I know how to take care of babies."
But she stopped cold when she noticed my next crime against humanity. "Do you have a dog? She really has an awful lot of hair on her. She shouldn't be . . ."
I stood up. "This is an unpleasant experience for me. I don't think I'll ever be able to visit your salon again. You don't have any babies yet, but when you have them you can take care of them however you please, in the meantime, I'm not interested in your advice."
I swung Natalie onto my hip and told the girls it was time to go.
"Do you carry your baby like that?" the woman asked.
I jerked my head back at her, fire in my eyes. The ladies who were drying their nails looked up at us. Lucky for them, this was grander drama than they could have anticipated. Why go to the theater when you can get a manicure?
"Stop." I said, firmly and loudly. I looked the woman in the eye and pointed at her."I don't want to hear one more word from you." (Apparently I spend way too much time around five-year-olds and not quite enough in the company of adults).
"I was just asking," she said.
Posted by Jenny at 2:35:00 PM