July 15, 2009

Café Culture

Today, after we took Colin to get his six-month shots, Kevin and I did the unthinkable: We got a seat at a trendy little café, ordered some drinks, and had a conversation that wasn't about babies -- all while Colin sat, wedged between us in the booth, quietly enjoying a teething toy. I would not have thought this possible a few months ago -- even a few weeks ago.

Ever since he was about six weeks old and emerged from that quiet, drowsy, newborn stage, Colin has been way too fussy to take out much in public. Certainly, he has been too fussy to take to a restaurant ... that served drinks ... to adults. Before we had kids, we always thought we would be like those cool parents we saw when we lived in Europe, who would park their impossibly cute and well-behaved youngsters under a café umbrella while they sat down for drinks -- and, quelle horreur!, a cigarette -- in the middle of the afternoon. We were going to be those parents (minus the cigarettes, of course).

But many are the times that we have tried such experiments, only to have to leave, half-way through our entrées, whisking our inconsolable companion out the door before it was slammed behind us. Now I think I can say with some confidence that those days are behind us ... at least until he becomes a toddler. Colin has finally reached the stage where he can sit up, almost without support, and can keep himself occupied with any object that comes within his grasp -- so long as his parents are also within arm's reach, in case he needs a quick cuddle.

Our trial run was Saturday night, when, after a day spent shoe-shopping for the entire family, we stopped for emergency sustenance at the Boston Pizza at the mall. (Oddly enough, I never recall there being such a thing as "Boston Pizza" during the six years I lived in Boston. I also never recall that pizza was one of culinary delights Bostonians were particularly good at.) So far so good.

Then today, after Colin was such a trooper at his vaccinations, and I was through with work at a mere 3:30 in the afternoon, I thought we could all use a treat. So we headed to this upscale strip mall (an oxymoron, I know) that houses Deluxe Burger, a super-trendy burger-bar that we used to frequent back when it was no big deal to wait in line for an hour get a seat at a super-trendy burger-bar. However, in the middle of the afternoon on a Wednesday, there was no wait -- and no other customers really -- so we thought we'd give it a try.

Sure enough, Colin was golden. He didn't make a peep and charmed the pants off our waitress with his quiet good looks. "What a great smile and cute dimple!" she said. "I don't normally like babies, but this one sure is cute." (She earned every penny of that 50-percent tip, I tell you.) And in sophisticated, European style, Kevin and I sat there enjoying our Belgian beers, our greasy fries (with mayonnaise, thank you!), and discussing the latest articles we'd read in The New Yorker and the NYTimes magazine. We were too cool for words, so all I have to say is "Merci beaucoup, baby!"

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