Yesterday, J suggested that we take both girls and — with the help of his parents — go have lunch at a Hibachi Steakhouse.
Before I go on, I should state that I do not particularly like taking my kids to “adult” places. If the locale is specifically marketed as a family-friendly establishment? Sure, let’s go for it! But otherwise, I am a firm believer that most patrons of restaurants, theaters, and such pay the markup for the experience, and have the right to get annoyed when children are ill-behaved, or when babies won’t stop crying.
(And although I am a mother myself, I personally would pay more for a child-free cabin if I were flying without my kids.)
But this time around, I honestly believed that Claire would be fascinated by the Hibachi style of cooking, just as she had loved the Liberty Science Center. As for Aerin? We figured that we could time it so that lunch could coincide with a nap, and that she could be peacefully sleeping in her carseat on an adjacent chair while the rest of the family were dined and entertained by a Hibachi chef.
As soon as the chef arrived and performed his first showy act — a hissing river of steam angrily rising from the stove — we realized we had made a big mistake.
Because Claire started BAWLING.
Not just tears and sobs. Hysterical, red-faced WAILING with tears streaming down her face.
J’s father immediately scooped her up from the high chair and embraced her in a hug while we all pitched in to help calm her down. We tried distracting her, as well as clapping and excitedly saying “Yay!!!” whenever the chef performed a new act. But no dice. Claire seemed to only grow more and more terrified of the scary Hibachi man and his bag of tricks. Eventually, J and his father had to take turns walking her around to other parts of the restaurant because every time that they attempted to return her to the table, she would start crying again.
I felt horrible for the chef and the nice old ladies who shared the table with us. HORRIBLE. I couldn’t apologize enough.
(I also couldn’t help but look on to a nearby table with envy, because a little boy who seemed a few months younger than Claire sat in his high chair, laughing and clapping and simply enthralled by the Hibachi cooking.)
As for Aerin? She decided that she didn’t want to nap at all and started crying too. I barely got to eat my food because I had to bounce her while pacing in order to keep her quiet.
However, I’m happy to report that the outing wasn’t a complete bust. After the chef left the table, we tried one last time to return Claire to the table and she started crying again. But right then, our waitress served us dessert — ice cream! — and once Claire had a spoonful, she immediately shut up.
This was Claire’s very first time having ice cream, and it was clear that the girl loved it. We gave her four flavors to try: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and green tea. And soon, it also became apparent that she had a favorite flavor: chocolate!
Claire loved the ice cream so much that she began to dance along to the music playing at the restaurant and J caught a bit via his phone:
Isn’t it funny how we don’t teach babies to dance and they all still move their bodies along to music? Whenever Claire starts shaking her little booty even just a bit, I can’t help but think back to this video from when she was 11 months old:
J and I think that the scary Hibachi chef continued to linger on Claire’s mind, because she randomly cried out in her sleep throughout the night. Next time, we’ll be sure to remember that our firstborn is an overly shy, cautious little girl who tends to scare easily.