Starting in September, in order to have some cold-weather activities and to keep her from feeling hopelessly neglected, I signed the second baby up for a music class, a tumbling class, and a playgroup.

A lot of the other mothers in our classes are first-timers. This has led to some interesting conversations.

For example, the other day one of the mothers was telling the group that she bought her baby a set of musical instruments. Then she read on the toy company’s website that they don’t inspect ALL of their toys for lead. They just do random checks.

So she went online and found some sort of swab, where she can test all of her child’s playthings.

I must have been making a face, or rolling my eyes, or maybe mouthing the words “found some sort of swab” in an audible and incredulous tone, because the first-time mother looked at me and said, “You wouldn’t buy a toy for your kid that was dangerous, would you?”

Helpful hint to mothers: if another Mom asks you that question, the right answer is “No.” The right answer is not, “Depends. Is it on sale?”

Also, all of these first-time mothers make their own baby food.

I understand that this is now a done thing. I know that even Nicole Richie steams little Harlow’s parsnips. Personally, my feeling is that if the good people at Earth’s Best want to spend their days cooking, mashing and canning organic butternut squash and selling it in handy, portable jars for extremely reasonable prices, who am I to stand in their way?

The problem is, I keep talking about it to my second-time mom friends (“These crazy first-timers! They all make their own baby food!”), hoping for sympathy. Instead, my second-time mom friends say, “Actually, I made/make my own baby food, too.” (Usually they’ll try to throw in some nonsense about how their kids were picky, or allergic, or not gaining weight. This doesn’t help).

Cleary, I needed to find someone with no babies who would understand my dismay.

So yesterday I had lunch with a baby-free friend. I was telling her the swabbing-for-lead story, and how the first-time moms sanitize every surface their babies could possibly touch, and how they travel with anti-microbial shopping-cart cozies and disposable cling-form placemats, and I’m lucky if I’ve got a spoon in my pocket and a baby wipe in the diaper bag. Then I segued into, “And they all make their own baby food!”

She looked at me. “If I had a baby, I’d make my own baby food.”

“Well, yes,” I said gently. “That is because you are a freak.”

“I already make my own dog food,” she continued. “I make lentils and quinoa.”

My jaw dropped. “Your dog is a vegetarian?”

“She’s never been healthier,” she said.

“Oh my God. Dogs are carnivores! They’re not meant to eat lentils and quinoa! You’re gonna be like that lady in France who needed a face transplant after her dog tried to eat her face!”

Friend (giggling) “No I’m not.”

“What do you think’s going to happen if there’s a plague that wipes out all the humans?” I continued (I think about things like this. Somebody has to). “My dog’s going to be chasing down rats and squirrels. Your dog’s going to be wandering around looking for someone to steam her some quinoa.”

In non-food news, I’m going to be very interested to see whether Wally Lamb has a career without Oprah. Or, alternately, if Oprah’s going to go three-for-three with his books. And the best book I’ve read in a while: THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins, which Stephen King recommended (hey, he’s got a new book out today!)

Jen