This weekend, the Lacko family is having a big get-together-pre-Thanksgiving event. I thought it might be nice for Baby Joseph to have his very first haircut in honor of this auspicious occasion.
There are some really fun children’s hair salons, ooohh, 75 miles away from where we live. I was really quite committed to making the drive until I came to my senses. I ended up finding a very nice lady named Shell at the huge salon in town, and I packed an assortment of toys, bottle, sucky, etc. to hold Baby J’s attention until the deed was done. The salon is really Women’s Wonderland: not only do they do hair, but the salon is full service, including massages, facials, nails, tanning, cafe and boutique. I think there is also a cosmetic surgeon on staff, but don’t quote me. Needless to say, a feast for the eyes for a curious little boy who loves the company of females.
I won’t give you the cut-by-cut, but it was great fun. He was amazed at what was happening to him, and tried very hard to look behind his own head to see what Shell was doing back there. Another stylist came by to help distract and entertain him, and we took the requisite baby-book photos and saved some clippings of his blonde-towards-auburn silky-goldilocks. By the end, he was both runway-ready, and ready for a nap. It struck me that this was my golden opportunity to get a much-needed pedicure.
Let me begin by confessing that my husband has asked, very nicely, on several occasions, to refrain from taking our son into the toxic realm of the nail salon. My own nose and skin are very sensitive to chemicals and fragrances; I avoid the detergent and air freshener aisles at the grocery store, they give me a headache. I agreed: no nail salons for baby. (Besides, agreeing means that nail-time means alone/relax/read a trashy magazine uninterrupted and unjudged-time). But this, this was an emporium of beauty, the scent of which is not predominantly acetone, but, um… salon-ish. And it was perfectly fine for him to be amid salon-smell, how else would he get his hair cut?
I quickly imagined myself reclined in the massaging pedi-spa while my newly-coifed angel slept peacefully in my vibrating lap. I looked at him. He yawned. He rubbed his little eyes. An appointment was available. I took it.
I chose my color, “Marooned on the Miracle Mile”, and sat up and into the massage chair and dipped my feet in the spa below. The baby climbed on my lap, finished his bottle and laid back for a snooze. Then, suddenly, he propped himself up and peered between my knees to watch the bluish water swirl around his mama’s feet. He became intently fascinated with the nail tech’s scrubbing, buffing, trimming and filing. Then, he wanted play. Then, he wanted to talk, loudly, over the hum of the bubbling water and vibrating chair. Then, he wanted to stand. Then he wanted to see what was behind, what was below, what was over here, who was walking over there. Mary, the nail tech, smiled, cooed, and went about her business patiently, adding a variety of foot masks, wrapping my feet and legs in towels, trying to create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. Her efforts, while appreciated, dwindled sadly under the energetic shufflings of the suddenly-alert infant in my arms.
At last, her work was done, and Baby J again seemed ready for his afternoon nap. Then came a wee shock–it was forty bucks. For just my feet! I usually get my nails done at the strip mall shops where both mani and pedi can be done for around 30. So be it, it had been a quality pedicure.
OK, so here’s the thing. We still needed to pop into Target for things we actually NEED, like dog food, milk, baby food, stuff like that. I calculated roughly 20 minutes before the baby absolutely had to be down for his nap, and we took off. Once we were in Target, I remained focused on the must-haves and lingered only momentarily at the new silver and white snowflake plates on display for the holiday season. I got what we needed, and Baboo babbled and cooed merrily in the cart, a trooper til the very end. The trip had been so successful in fact that when I spotted, on an aisle endcap, what looked like a perfect match for the color I had just gotten painted on my toes, I grabbed a bottle and congratulated myself for the foresight of being able to correct any small chips that may befall my new, expensive, pedicure. The baby–and I–were in such good spirits that I swung over to the in-store Starbucks and ordered a low-fat, decaf eggnog latte. (Hey, I didn’t get the holiday plates, shouldn’t I get a holiday drink?)
To shave the latte time from my trip, I headed straight for the Express Lane. And then we came to a dead stop. And waited. Only one person was a head of me, an elderly man purchasing two pillows. The transaction, or discussion regarding the transaction, went on and on. And on some more. I don’t have many pet peeves, but I do expect the Express Lane to express. The baby suddenly broke down into a screaming fit. He was unconsoleable. I would have left, but, aside from the nail polish, I needed everything in my cart. I held the polish in my hand, appraising it. It was deep red, “Sexier Than Red”, to be exact, and it had a large chrome cap. It looked like a toy and was too big to swallow. I handed to the baby. He was distracted by the newness of it for exactly 2.34 seconds, when he hoisted it in the air and slammed it to the ground. Upon impact with the floor, it shattered, splattering my entire left foot and sandal in a sea of cold red paint, then rolled, spilled, rolled and spilled across the floor, out of the checkout area and straight into the Jewelry department.
Somehow, the sudden and irrevocable destruction of pedicure and sandal seemed instantly justified. I did feel terrible about the mess of polish strewn across the floor. I tried to get the checkout person’s attention. I was ignored. I continued to pester her for her attention, while watching that innocent shoppers didn’t inadvertently wade into what had become much less sexy than red.
I carried my howling baby to the car where he fell immediately asleep in his car seat. Trying to ignore that my pedicure now included the additional cost of a pair of shoes, I pondered as I drove, “at what point did things go wrong?” Rather than admit that I shouldn’t have been so impulsive about getting the pedicure, that I wouldn’t have needed that color of polish if I hadn’t gotten my toes done, and that “Sexier Than Red” is not, after all, a children’s toy, could I blame the elderly man and his pillows for taking so long that I had no choice but to give my screaming child a bottle of nail polish?