Anyway all my friends were immediately sad that I didn't bring the baby. They haven't seen her in months. I had to tell them the troubling news: she's not so much a baby anymore, she's like a hurricane. We call her "Josie the destroyer". We sing "baby you're a firework!" to her. And she's not even walking yet! All she does is crawl, but she crawls fast. Then she pulls up on furniture. Then she clears off tables, knocks over chairs, pulls on people's pants, yanks on curtains, eats small objects, slobbers on large ones, bangs solid objects on tables to see if they make noise, rattles keys, shrieks with delight when she loves something, screams in pain when she a plan doesn't work out or she hurts herself.
All of this is totally normal at our house which is now officially in "baby" mode. The coffee table is clear. Wastebaskets are on top of high shelves. We have baby gates and fences. We are parents... totally used to hearing that expressive little voice, we know the difference between the "I'm frustrated" cry and the "I'm hurt and you should feel bad" cry. It's our life now and I love it. But I learned quickly that outside of the normal contained environment I'm setting myself up for hours of insanity. I took her to a friend's brunch and had 10 minutes of hearing "oh what a cute baby it's so good to see her!" and 110 minutes of chasing Jo around, restoring items to tables and asking her not to grab people's plates. She did not want to be held, she wanted to explore and climb the stairs and scratch the walls and like the mirror and pull the hair out of the cat. There were some older girls playing a game in a corner, and she crawled right over to try to eat a game piece. They moved around so their backs were to her, collected the pieces in a nice pile, and looked at me with this pleading "remove your monster?" sort of look.
Josie has a great time when she meets new people and goes to new places, I do not. People joke about how when you're not a mom, you don't have to deal with anything inconvinient about a small child, you hand her back to mom! It's not that funny a joke to me. Mom becomes the Human Baby Gate, banished to a quiet back room for the remainder of the party, only to emerge 45 minutes later to say good-bye and apologize for re-arranging your bookshelf.
So just accept it: I can't bring the baby. It's partially for the good of your house but mostly for my own sanity. I need a little adult conversation! I cannot be the mom that takes the baby away when you're tired of her because that is not fun for me. If you want to see her, come to our house, or we can go to a restaurant with high chairs so she's contained. Expecting me to bring the baby with me to your house is like expecting a zookeeper to bring his lion along. Trust me, it belongs in the zoo!