b Papa Dog's Blog: At Least We Didn't Have to Sit Outside in the Rain

Papa Dog's Blog

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Saturday, May 07, 2005

At Least We Didn't Have to Sit Outside in the Rain

For reasons I don’t quite recollect, the afternoon nap came late today and then went long. Baby Dog wasn’t up until 6:30, an awkward time all around. Mama Dog wanted to eat out, but baby had to be fed first, so we didn’t make it to McTalian until deep in the thick of the Saturday night dinner rush. Baby Dog was in a fine mood when we arrived, but after sitting under the heat lamps bundled up in sweater and blanky for half an hour she was a cranky, squawky fussbudget. By the time they told us our table was ready I had walked her around the patio four times, letting her pat the Plexiglas barrier with enthusiasm not quite great enough to attract the attention of the couple deep in conversation a the bus stop. Whenever I tried to sit back down, she would demonstrate her conviction that the most comfortable thing for all concerned would be if she were to go completely rigid and arch her back so as to make a seated position impossible.

We sat down and went through what seems an inevitable restaurant ritual; tried to strap her into the highchair, found the strap was broken, requested another high chair. Since she’s been big enough to fit in these contraptions, I’ve noticed that the majority of them have broken straps. Surely we’re not the only parents who reject a broken high chair. The wait staff must be continuously apprised of the defects, yet somehow the chairs are never repaired or replaced, and somehow the broken one is always the first one offered. Worse still, Baby Dog is too big for a carry seat anymore but not really big enough to be comfortable in the high chair. She always ends up sliding into a low slump. We wedged the blanky in behind her back, and that sort of did the trick. For a while. But not really.

The baby-seat setup included some crayons and a place mat to colour. That seemed charming at first, but of course Baby Dog is still too young to have quite mastered the concept of colouring. She was more interested in grabbing the place mat and ripping it apart. We demonstrated that the crayons could leave marks of colour on the paper, and that intrigued her initially, but she doesn’t quite have the manual dexterity to manage it. She got a few faint marks on the paper, then decided to chew the crayon instead. Mama Dog took the crayons away after that and from that point on Bay Dog was a continuous whirligig of discontent. We requested a spoon, and she happily banged that on the table for a while. When she tired of that she leaned forward alarmingly to gnaw the table top like that little girl in that Zippety Fixit thing. We pushed the chair far enough away from the table to prevent that, and I gave her the little wooden stand that had held the dessert menu. That was of interest for a minute or two. I tried cycling back to her favoured rattle, the one she shoplifted*, but she must have bookmarked her loss of interest in that, because she shoved it away without even looking. She wouldn’t sit still. She was reaching for everything that passed by and/or landed on our table. Mama Dog decided to hold Baby on her lap, then passed her on to me when she went to the bathroom. Baby Dog resumed the convenient arch-backed thing. Mama Dog came back, then decided to try changing a diaper in the ladies’ room. I sat quietly at the table, pinching the spot where my nose hits home between the eyes and wishing I hadn’t stayed up to finish watching Lost last night. The girls returned and I took Baby Dog on my lap again. The waiter thoughtfully set my ravioli di zucca down just in her reach, but I managed to intercept before she had a raviolum in her hand. I gave her a little bit of the bread. It turned out when I asked for the small ravioli, that meant an appetizer I didn’t care. I ate it down quickly. Baby Dog was squawking pretty loudly by the time I was done. I stood up and walked her around the restaurant, hoping Mama Dog could eat her chicken in peace. Of course, she was too stressed. Baby and I toured the back hall by the bathrooms, but that led to the kitchen, so we were constantly in the way of the staff. Finally, I found the most entertaining spot in the restaurant. Right at the front door there’s a chain of little metal beads that controls (I guess) the blinds. Baby Dog was instantly mesmerised – gorgonised, even – and played happily with the chain until Mama Dog was ready to leave.

I started this post at ten p.m. and she still wasn’t asleep. I hope some of us get some rest tonight. I think we’ve established pretty firmly that we’ve reached the age where it’s going to be necessary to employ a babysitter when we want to go out to dinner.

PS to Judy – I don’t know if that Magritte sky is a regular thing or not. I never noticed it before. I’ll try to remember to look out around the right time tomorrow night.
*Not really a long story, but I’m too pooped to tell it tonight.


Blogger Twizzle said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Mama Dog Duvalier said...

I'll tell the shoplifting story, then: I was strolling Baby Dog around Rockridge Kids (a purveyor of all things kid & baby)and she took a fancy to a wooden, German rattle. I let her play with it for awhile, then forgot about it and left. A couple of days later, at home, I discovered the rattle wedged in the stroller. The teenage shoplifter in me was all, like: "Ha ha! Free rattle!" Then Papa Dog, being the honorable man that he is, made me promise to go back to the store and either return the toy or pay for it.

1:05 PM  

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