Friday, May 13, 2011

Losing the Dinner Olympics

Yesterday evening, J and I wanted to go to the CD release party of a local band we have unsuccessfully been trying to see live for quite some time. We had heard of the CD release party about a month ago, and being an organized mama, I had put the event on our calendar. A mere three hours before the CD was to drop, we heard the discouraging news:

Babies were not allowed in the part of the restaurant where the band would be playing.

Apparently, dedicated bars do not allow anyone under 21 into their premises, thereby foiling my plans to become the World's Worst Mother who has given her child a satin tour jacket of all the completely inappropriate places I have taken him. (After this bar, I had hoped to get a patch from the broken glass factory, then possibly visit the brightly-colored toxic substances warehouse).

No matter. J and I decided we would still eat dinner in the kid-friendly part of the restaurant, and pop upstairs to the bar one at a time to buy the new CD and maybe tap our feet a time or two.

As with so many of our plans lately, the execution of this one did not in any way resemble the anticipation.

We arrived around 7:45, which was our first problem. 8 pm is LO's witching hour. That is normally the time when J shows off his exemplary Daddy skills by singing "Rubber Ducky" in the echoey bathroom while I get a little down time. Sometimes J also gives LO a bath. The good news is that LO's bedtime routine seems to be working. The bad news is that taking LO out for dinner instead of giving him a bath at the appointed hour is a recipe for a cranky baby.

J and I managed to get through ordering our dinner with relatively few eardrum-piercing shrieks. (LO was quiet, too.) After we got our drinks, J suggested that I run upstairs and say hello to the performer we know in the band and scope out the scene.

This is when the second problem arose. I got upstairs to the fairly crowded room, where apparently the band was taking a break, and scanned the place for our friend. I spotted her on the other side of the room and made my way to her table, where she was in animated conversation with a neighbor. As I stood beside her, waiting for her conversation to end, I realized just as she turned to look at me, that this WAS NOT my friend.

I asked her if my friend was there, as I secretly hoped for the ground to swallow me up (although that would have just resulted in my landing back in my chair downstairs, since I was on the second floor). She looked at me strangely, told me she hadn't seen friend, and then waited expectantly. Blushing to my roots, I introduced myself, explained the mix-up, laughed hyenically several times (I tend to laugh when embarrassed or nervous) and escaped downstairs.

There, I found LO and J enjoying some tofu. We have recently realized that the little man quite likes that vegetarian staple, so I had packed some of his leftover breakfast of tofu for snacks. J was enjoying handing it to LO, and LO enjoyed grasping it pincer-like between his thumb and forefinger, before dropping it somewhere on his car seat. Babies must get much of their nutrition through osmosis.

LO considerately waited until our food was served before he launched into a full core meltdown. As I had ordered a cobb salad (not easy to eat one-handed), J graciously dripped barbeque sauce and beer on himself while he ate and drank one handed and attempted to contain 14 pounds of unceasing movement. Whenever the shrieks became too loud, I would grab LO and take him outside. (For those non-parents out there, outside is like a baby reset button. If ever your child is losing his sh*t or inexplicably speaking Spanish, a quick jaunt into the fresh air will usually get him back to his default setting.)

J and I ended up bolting the (very good) food like eating was going out of style, and J only drank one beer with dinner when he usually savors two. We asked for the check as indigestion set in, and it became clear that the baby reset button only provided .37 seconds of default behavior once the child was brought back inside. To the tune of LO's objections to being replaced in his car seat ("I DON'T want you to put the strappy things on me. NO you can't distract me with my rattle or with Yorick. I'm mad as hell, and I'm going to make sure everyone within a mile radius knows it!"), J quickly paid the bill while I tried to reassure the greater Lafayette area that we were not, in fact, harming the child.

We got back outside to discover that the sky had darkened and rainy armageddon had arrived. J set off for the car three blocks away, and I got to stand under the awning of the restaurant and listen to the cell phone conversation of the world's most inane man. (He was describing his upcoming move to San Francisco, and all he could tell his caller was that he would be within walking distance of Alcatraz [?] and that he'd be three miles from the Full House house.)

As I rushed to the car when J pulled up, I realized that we did rather poorly in the dinner Olympics. High school level embarrassment: I had that in spades. Dinner conversation: Nil (unless you count: "Where's the tofu?"). Food: I couldn't tell you. I think there was avocado in my salad. Glares from other patrons: At least two.

Overall, yet another successful social event with a baby.

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