I just got back from my first ever Mother’s Day lunch. Mr Chick and I ambitiously decided to take Charlie to a very nice Thai restaurant to celebrate. He’d held it together at a few burrito bars in the past, but we’d always sat outside. This time, we were inside, among lush Thai furnishings, zshushy lighting and Other People.
It was his first foray into becoming restaurant-friendly and the pressure was on (we can’t be the only new parents out there who dream about a return to fine dining at some point). But it wasn’t long before we realised that taking an 8-month-old baby out for lunch in a proper restaurant is pretty much like taking a belligerent drunk out for lunch in a proper restaurant.
Firstly, Charlie demanded that he sit in his own special chair (a highchair, in this case). Then he demanded we take him out of it immediately. Loudly and vocally and by banging his plastic plate on the table like a convict stuck in a jail cell.
Still optimistic we could have a nice lunch (and I could savour my chicken stirfry and wine), I tried to take his mind off the highchair situation by shoving chunks of rice and chicken and broccoli in his mouth. He played along until I decided I needed to eat too and handed him an entire piece of snowpea to gnaw on. He gave it a go, did his sour milk face and unceremoniously chucked it on the floor. Rapidly followed by his plate, spoon, knife and squeaky monkey.
“Ahhhh-yi!” he babbled, attempting to overbalance his high-chair so he could smoosh his fat hands into my bowl of chicken chilli basil.
It was time to try our fall-back method: a bottle. I lifted him out of the highchair and tried to nose the bot-bot into his mouth. He half-heartedly swigged a couple of mouthfuls, pushed it away and instead made a grab for the formula dispenser, which he gnawed on for 2.4 seconds before hurling it, too, on the floor with everything else he’d come into contact with in the past twenty minutes.
“Mama, mama,” he crowed, pawing at the silky purple curtains hanging next to my chair. He then noticed the funky wooden walls behind my chair, decided he simply must inspect them, which involved climbing me like a tree (and using my hair like a vine to haul himself up).
I expertly extricated fistfuls of my hair from his kung-fu grip and promptly handed him over to his father. In typical fashion, Charlie calmed down instantly and smiled at me, beatifically, from his dad’s lap.
“How are you liking your first Mother’s Day?” Mr Chick enquired without even a smidgen of irony.
“Maybe Mother’s Days are better when you don’t celebrate,” I said glumly, taking a slug of my pinot grigio. “I mean, I know the next few will probably be bad because Charlie will be a toddler. But perhaps then it gets better?”
Misty-eyed, I indulged myself in visions of cute indecipherable handmade Mother’s Day cards, hastily-wrapped toilet-paper craft projects and trays with cold toast and tea in bed. Dammit, I wanted cold toast, tea and crafty presents in bed.
We clinked glasses, united in hope for the future and smiling indulgently at the cheeky bear. Charlie chose that moment to really crack the shits and short of handing over our iPhones (No. No. No. No.) we relinquished the next best thing: Mr Chick’s expensive Raybans. If Charlie can slobber all over Mr Chick’s sunnies, he’s happy, and it bought us a precious 5 minutes to bolt down our food and drink, strap our
belligerant drunk boisterous son in his pram and beat a hasty retreat to the couch. Where, if we had any smarts at all, we shouldn’t have left all day.
How was your Mother’s Day?