The life and times of a waitress in Cool Cape May… by Molly Stone
While all my girlfriends are excited to buy cribs and breast pumps, I can’t picture myself as a mother. They spend hours discussing the pros and cons of a binky (which is like, what, a blankey?), Gerber vs Parent’s Choice (it all ends up on the bib anyway, right?), and effective toilet training strategies (isn’t that what a Diaper Genie is for?). Sometimes I think I’m missing the maternal gene altogether, but then I have a night like this last one and I feel reassured. I’m not wired incorrectly; I just spend too much time in the restaurant.
It’s not so much that I mind children; I just mind them in fine dining. They order as many Shirley Temples as they have electronic devices. Parents need to lug a suitcase across the dining room just to hold all the iPods, iPads, and iJustmakealotofnoises necessary to keep their grenadine-loaded rascals entertained.
And then, in between Tetris tournaments and texting, the kids eat, well, a lot of crap. Salad? Yuck. Fish? Eek. Quasi-edible chicken-like substance the chef keeps on hand for the under five-foot set? Bring it on… but only if I can beg the Mad Batter for ketchup first. As far as children are concerned, it isn’t cleanliness that’s next to godliness; it’s ketchup.
Sometimes, though, it isn’t the older kids who are the most demanding. Last night, I waited on a young couple and their bouncing baby boy called Bean. For Bean’s first birthday celebration, his parents had me write “Happy birthday, baby,” on his dessert plate, in chocolate syrup, as a surprise. When I slipped at the beginning of the meal by saying, “So here’s the birthday boy,” the father shot me a look of disgust.
“So much for the surprise,” I heard him say. Now most one-year-olds I’ve met don’t yet know that their hand is attached to their arm, but little Bean – drooling, jibber-jabbering Bean – not only knows what a birthday is, but how to read. And I ruined it.
Perhaps this is why Bean was so cranky. His parents moved tables three times, trying to find a comfortable spot for their little prodigy. They decided eventually to move altogether out of the dining room and into the lounge, where baby Bean might relax on the $500 zebra-print sofa. I followed behind with diaper bag in tow. When it came time for dessert, I brought my decorated plate with a bowl of fresh berries in the center. Baby Bean, I was told, tries to stay away from sugar – a budding dietician, I’m sure. But Bean was too distracted by his big toe (a future podiatrist, no doubt), to notice his makeshift dessert.
Maybe I’ll be a mother some day, maybe not. What I do know is this – when it comes to causing trouble in the restaurant, Baby Einsteins take the (sugar-free) cake.