Our formerly tiny, limp, 'better support his neck, little baby is changing fast. In the first 6 months, a trip to a restaurant was not a big deal. The only struggle was lugging his clunky carseat through a maze of tables and chairs. Mikey would stay buckled in his seat quietly watching us eat. That has all changed.
We headed down to the Hill Country Galleria to for some window shopping, and our little guy joined us for dinner at Iron Cactus. Thank goodness the ambient decibel levels were high, because Mikey was acting like his last bottle featured four ounces of espresso.
It started with slapping the table and laughing. Then he began swinging his plastic links like they were nunchuks. My silverware slid a bit too close into the grab zone, and in an instant my butter knife was being violently wielded and shaken in a tiny slobbery fist. This was just the beginning.
Then came the squeals, the piercing, piercing squeals. Like the screaming eels in Princess Bride, this was a forboding for troubles to come. Luckily, these were happy squeals, but they still cut through the din of a bustling restaurant. I could see the heads turning from surrounding tables. What could we do but laugh, blush, and try to shoosh our now thoroughly excited little dude?
It was time for a distraction and an alternative to eardrum-bursting outbursts. At this point, Mikey's chubby little cheeks are flushed red with happiness. He's giggling and kicking his feet, and his three lower teeth hold steady as part of never-ending grin. We hand him a rattle.
It was just like that Saturday Night Live skit with the cow bell, except this time the crazed musician is wielding a maraca. The rattling was more like a roar. Mikey mixed in a few table-shaking smacks with the hard plastic. I see a couple of heads turn. Some folks leaving the restaurant chuckle at us as they walk past our table. The rattle goes back in the bag.
This is an authentic action shot from the restaurant. Note the blur on the left. That is a rattle being shaken at supersonic speed.
Shannon and I are both laughing at this point. Our baby is embarassing us, but he's having so much fun that we are too. Normally a loud restaurant can be a bummer, but it saved us. We don't want to be those horrible people with the annoying kid at a restaurant.
Just when we think it can't get any better, the massive reserved table next to us is finally seated. It's 28 high-schoolers out for their senior prom. Mikey is now in full swing with belly laughs and giggles as we cover his head with a black cloth napkin. Every time the napkin uncovers his little eyes, he must be seeing the world created anew. And it must be freaking hilarious.
Seated next to these teens on our prom, our meal took on new import. I felt like the star of a public service announcement. "Hey kids, I know what some of you are probably planning. Take a good hard look at our table. Watch the little force of nature in his high chair. This could happen to you, and your trips to a restaurant will never, ever be the same. Don't say we didn't warn you."
With our public service and fajitas completed, we paid our check and carpetbagged our huge assortment of gear out the restaurant. The place got a little quieter and but also a little less joyful for our leaving.