It’s Friday night, and a great night to eat out, especially for someone who is quick to make excuses not to cook. (I just did the dishes, I don’t want to dirty the kitchen. OR I have had a busy day, eating out is easier. OR I have been thinking about Chinese food all day. …) So, Greg and I went to Tom’s Grille, a local establishment here in Murray. It’s one of the nicer places to eat, and our table seemed to be surrounded by couples out on dates.
Just like us.
Except we had an 11-week-and-five-day-old baby with us.
We don’t think twice about taking her somewhere. We like to have her with us, and she’s just a really great baby.
Well, back up a few moments, Cate seemed like she wanted to eat when we were leaving the house. I hesitated, but we decided to just go ahead and feed her when we got the restaurant. She’s eaten lots of places other than home.
So on the road to Tom’s. Keep in mind that this is Murray; nothing is very far. Actually, it’s 2.27 miles from our house and Mapquest says it should take 4 minutes.
We get there, and Cate is happily chewing on a strange but somehow endearing soft, pink blanket that also is a bear stuffed animal thing. Anyway, she’s content. We run into some people we know. Actually, Greg’s second cousins. (I think. You know, I know who they are exactly and can tell you how they are related, but I’m not good with those family tree labels.) So we chatted after the hostess showed us to our table. Fine. Cate grinned for them. I’m telling you, those grins melt even strangers’ hearts. Just ask the people we pass in the aisles at Kroger. And they even love to look at her when she’s sleeping.
Then she started getting restless, so we went to our table. I made a bottle and started feeding her. All is well.
Then she fell asleep so I sat her down in her car seat carrier thing. (I hate the word carrier. Makes me think: Pets. Um, no, our daughter is more valuable than that. At least to us.) Well, she apparently decided she didn’t want to sleep but wanted to eat more. OK, we can do that. So we do.
And, well, it only momentarily worked.
The last couple days Cate had been a bit sensitive. I think it’s the two spots on her gums that seem to be preparing for teeth.
So, she started crying in a slightly piercing fashion that I felt like everyone who was apparently out on their dates at Tom’s was looking at us. Or rather trying not to look at us. So Greg took Cate outside. She calmed down. He brought her back and gave her to me. Salad vs. chicken. He needed to eat his hot food. She was OK. Then she wasn’t. He decided to walk back out with her. I finished eating. Then he came back. And I decided to walk out with her.
Greg finished eating. Then we left.
It is important to remember at this point that we live 2.27 miles — even more importantly less than five minutes from the restaurant.
Cate doesn’t make a peep from the time I walk outside with her until …
Well, she just doesn’t make a peep. When we pulled into the driveway, I said to Greg, “I bet she’s asleep.”
Sure enough. Her precious little head was slumped over to the right like she likes to sleep. Inside the house, I unbuckled her and went straight to the crib. She did her cute little I-am-really-tired stretch then curled up on her right side really close to the bumper.
And she slept for an hour. Only to wake up to eat some more and smile at her Mommy and Daddy.
It’s like she knew.
Usually I say it’s like she knew to only have minor breakdowns at home. Or it’s like she knew when to wake up in the car, like she’s sensing the Beaver Dam exit is close. Well, tonight was the opposite.
It’s like we should have known to feed her before we left the house and take a full, content baby out to the restaurant and not push our luck by asking her to wait 2.27 miles.
Just for the record, though, I do think it is important to say that in nearly 12 weeks Cate has had a major breakdown at each grandma’s house and a few at home, especially in the evenings. She’s totally a morning person and she’s genuinely very happy. And really tonight I’m just thankful we experienced the first public baby meltdown.
And come to find out, the couple sitting in the booth over understands. But they were on a date while their 10-week-old boy was at home with his grandma. Oh well, we live and learn and, of course, realize there are more meltdowns to come. But I’ll take them because Cate is worth more than any awkward (and slightly loud) moment in any restaurant.