Is This Your Baby?


I came around the corner. There was my landlady suddenly outside my door, standing over the baby I’d left there. “I was just coming up to the roof and ran into your baby, here.”

But here’s what happened. I swear I don’t just leave my babies lying around. I had just come back from a walk. Actually I had just come back from the most laborious trip to the bank ever. Or, just how every trip is now getting out of the house. (Eight trips up and down the stairs, lugging 25 lb of baby, car seat and stroller each way up and down. But anyway…)

When I got back home, I was at the final step of getting everything and everyone back into the apartment. Both babies were in their car seats back up on the third floor landing. All I had left to do was carry one into the apartment, then go get the other one and lug her in. Then shut the door behind me.

The landing is only for our apartment (and the door to the roof). We fill it with our mess of bicycles, shoes, boxes, ACs, etc. I carried Bean in first and took my time with her in the bedroom. She was falling into a nap, so I didn’t want to disturb her much, but I took off her hat, which seemed a bit too warm for indoors. Slowly I made my way back for M. I was tired.

“Aaaaaaah!” I cried. There was a big figure in black at my door. It took me a moment to see it was the landlady. Actually she isn’t big at all, she is maybe just over four feet tall. But big in comparison to the tiny people I am used to spending the day with. And behind her was a roofer. “I was just coming up to the roof and we ran into your baby, here.”

“Oh, sorry,” I stammered. For all they knew she had been there for hours. Maybe I made a habit of leaving babies lying around. “Every time I come in and out I have to carry the car seats up and down,” I said, as if that explained why my baby was in the hall. Oy vey.

“I’ll just close the door for the draft,” she said. Babies here, babies there, babies everywhere. And a mess to boot. Outed as a bad mother by a surprise visit from the landlady. It’s been a long day–time for me to go to bed.


2 thoughts on “Is This Your Baby?

  1. When we lived in a one bedroom in Carroll Gardens my landlady used to tell me stories about the woman who lived there before us, who had either three or five children. I remember thinking it was an absurd amount for the space. But our landlady didn’t seem fazed, because she was a Brooklyn landlady and that job has to be up there with taxi driver and cop in terms of seeing it all. I’m sure a baby in the hall is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

    • Ha. Taxi driver, cop, and Brooklyn landlady. Maybe so. Yeah, there was a long list of things we had to say we wouldn’t do when we moved in here: make art using spray paint, smoke, loiter on the stoop, play instruments, get pets… For each item on the list I imagine the past tenant who upset the neighbors, leading to the new rule.

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