06 March 2008

Lunch with an Octopus

When we first had Zora and were trying to survive those first weeks of parenthood, well meaning friends, family and other parents would advise us that NOW was the time to go out to dinner with our bundle of joy.

"She'll sleep through dinner."

"She'll just lay in her carseat and look around."

"She's so portable now."

I supposed we could've heeded their advice but several things stopped us from doing so:

  • Zora was not a sleepy baby, but rather what her Oma affectionately termed "alert";

  • She loved to look around -- in our arms;

  • She was portable, but required her own entourage to carry around her baby acoutrements (Yes, these were the early days when we thought we needed a bottle, three diapers, and a change of clothes to go to CVS); and

  • We were pooped and in no shape to make public appearances. Think Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeny Todd: dark saddlebags of exhaustion hung beneath our eyes and shocks of tangled dark hair sprouted from our heads.

After 924 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at home, we decided to treat ourselves to lunch out at a cute French bistro in Adams Morgan. At six months, Zora was certainly big enough to sit in a high chair, and we could bring some toys with us to keep her entertained, and...

Have you ever had lunch with a octopus?

We set her in the high chair and strapped her in. I use the term "strap" lightly. Do you think that Moby Dick would have been restrained by a cobweb? Me neither.

While I was digging in the diaper bag for her sanctioned toys, Zora lunged for the flatware and smiled as the utensils skittered off the table. Then as I leaned over to pick them up, a napkin came sailing down. And then her pacifier.

"Would you like me to bring some lemons?" the server asked.

For her to suck on? Throw? Be nice, I told myself. He's trying to help.

"No thank you," I smiled.

Then Zora sneezed and the pacifier went flying again.

Then Zora was bored demanded to be picked up.

Then she demanded to be jiggled.

Then she wanted to jump.

Then she decided to try steak frites. Dissatisfied, she knocked my fork to the floor in protest.

Never again.


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