"Hi" and "How are you?" are fine greetings, but I prefer salutations to be informative:
"I have barf on my shirt!" I said, welcoming three non-mom friends into my home Friday night.
They smiled at me. I also had mustard in my hair and a film of baby saliva clinging to my neck like a barfly hoping to get lucky.
I didn't have a minute to change before they arrived. No Matter. I didn't have anything to change into.
Scarlett's meals du jour are splotched over every article of clothing I own. There's mashed avocado on the tush of my yoga pants, crusty peach puree on the sleeves of my t-shirts and tiny yogurt handprints on everything else.
My only spring jacket - the one I just had dry cleaned - looks like it was mauled by a rabid squirrel monkey. Small nail nicks and teeth marks descend from the shoulders like a troupe of ants marching down a sand hill.
Typically, I notice these things when it's too late, like just after I've left home and the kids are buckled into the car. Or, I'm in the presence of people who should think I'm fit to parent, like Hudson's nursery school teachers. Or, I'm with people who might be embarrassed to be seen with a freak.
"What they hell is that?" I spat, after catching a glimpse of the squirrel-monkey mauled jacket. I was in Yorkville with a stylish friend who, unlike me, could not feed a football team with the food crusted onto her sleeves.
"I didn't want to tell you," she said.
A couple months ago, when I felt particularly dirty, hideous and vulnerable, I did something stupid: I visited a make-up counter at Holt Renfrew.
The salesman was suave. He sidled up to me as I was fingering the mascaras.
"Come, sit down," he said. I think he had a Spanish accent because what he said next didn't sound so bad. "You need moisturizer and something to make you look younger."
Did I mention he was also dark and tall?
It was his lucky day. My credit card magically appeared on the table.
When my sisters and I were small (they were babies when I was a preteen), I was mortified by my mom's appearance because she always had a big white burp stain down the fronts of her shirts.
I have become my mother.
I actually heard her voice coming out of my mouth when I dropped Hudson off at nursery school last week and apologized to a fellow mom about my slovenliness.
"I look like a fugitive," I said.
"You look like a mom," she countered. "I'm not sure which is worse."