How to Handle PDAs (Public Displays of Awkward)
1. Baby emits a loud bodily function. Right when Melissa James's pastor called for a period of silence during a service, her 8-day-old decided it was a fine time to do his thing. "He filled his diaper, and out came a loud, drawn-out, liquidy, raspberry sound!" recalls the mom from Hampton, Virginia.
Save-face strategy Laugh it off. James dissolved into giggles, along with her friends. As she says, "I decided it was a reminder from up above that I needed to keep a sense of humor as a mom."
2. Puke. Everywhere. During a holiday trip, as Kirsti Jeppsen, of Taylorsville, Utah, shuffled through a long airport security line, her 17-month-old threw up on her. "I just wanted to cry," she says.
Save-face strategy Accept help. "One mom in line passed me a couple of wadded-up tissues, and another handed me some rumpled napkins," Jeppsen says. Tokens, sure, but when disaster strikes, an offer of assistance can be just as comforting as a hug.
3. Snookums screams throughout a flight. Bernadette Noll, of Austin, once took a flight with her wailing, flailing, teething 6-month-old. The evil eye from passengers was about to become a torrent of angry words when Noll bought a round of drinks for people seated nearby. "It broke the ice and softened the not-so-nice glares," Noll says.
Save-face strategy No need to lube up people—commiserating can go a long way. Try a rueful smile and a "Wish I'd brought earplugs for all of us!"
Originally published in the October 2011 issue of American Baby magazine.