Yesterday afternoon, Hubby called and said he was going to be leaving work early so we could have dinner together and asked what I thought about him making a reservation for the two of us and our two babes at our favourite Japanese Teppan Yaki restaurant. What did I think? Immediate reaction: Yay! Dinner together! The babies will absolutely love seeing the Teppan Yaki chef cook our meal at the hot table. Secondary reaction: This could be a very stressful, crazy experience and end very badly. Hubby convinced me that it would be fun and if the babies behaved, it would be a great time. I agreed that it would be a fun experience regardless and asked him to make our reservation for as early as possible to avoid meltdowns and to warn them that we have two babies with us when he called to make the reservation hoping that they would sit us far away from other diners, in a segregated area, with drop sheets. He said that he told them there were two adults and two kids and figured that was fair warning. Uh-oh. This could be interesting.
I managed to get the babies down for a nap at the same time (Simulataneous Nap Time! Woot!) and have a shower, dry my hair, get dressed in real clothes and put makeup on to cover the freakishly dark circles under my eyes and adult acne. I was so excited to get out with Hubby and spend some quality time with our little family. When the babies got up from their naps, I changed them out of their play clothes and into suitable dinner wear. Mr. 8 months wore a striped dress shirt onesie with blue dress pants and brown loafers while Miss 19 months wore a new black and white polka dot sweater with black leggings and new leather boots she got for Christmas. Reality Check: My 19 month old daughter has nicer boots than me! Can’t wait until I can borrow her clothes! Our reservation was for 5:30 pm. By 4:30 pm, Miss 19 months was irritable and cranky. I sat her in her booster seat and gave her a snack so she wouldn’t get “hangry” at the restaurant. When Hubby got home from work, he helped me finish packing up like we were going on vacation for 3 weeks; diaper bag, bag with milk-filled sippy cups, snacks, teething rings, small toys, bibs, two booster seats. We were all set and ready to eat dinner out!
We each received $50 in a Christmas card with our gifts from my parents for Christmas. When we opened our cards, Hubby asked what I was going to do with mine. I responded with “the usual…diapers and wine… but really just diapers!” He made me look bad and said “I’m using mine for a date night with my wife!” and taped it to the fridge door where it has been a conversation piece for 2 weeks with every person who enters our kitchen asking “Why do you have a $50 bill on your fridge?” When I explained it to my sister, she quickly responded “Where the hell does he think you guys are going for $50?” Ahh…young, child-free love. She doesn’t know yet that even a trip to a fast food joint without babies would be a thrilling night out. As we packed the car to get ready to go, Hubby excitedly announced “Look! I get to take the date night money off the fridge! You thought it would be there for months!” Umm no you don’t. We are currently taking a 19 month old and 8 month old out on our “date night.” That money can stay put. It can be cashed in when I’m leaving the house carrying nothing but a purse, not a diaper bag with two booster seats slung over my shoulder like a mule. He agreed and put the money back on the fridge.
We managed to arrive at the restaurant on time for our reservation which was a victory in itself. Miss 19 months was amazed by the pond with a water wheel in the front entrance. It kept her well entertained while we waited for our table with our pile of baby gear beside us. I shoved her hat in the sleeve of my coat before hanging it up so I wouldn’t lose it and put her poncho in her little brother’s car seat for safe keeping. Miss 19 months happily ran around the front lobby, running over to the waterfall then back to a Christmas tree. She was having the time of her life…which quickly ended when the hostess came over to tell us our table was ready.
Hubby and I looked at our pile of stuff and tried to figure out how to maneuver getting it all to our table. The Hostess quickly offered to help by carrying Mr. 8 months’ car seat for us. I took Mr. 8 months’ from Hubby’s arms and chased Miss 19 months around the restaurant while Hubby installed their booster seats on to the chairs at the table. He gave me the signal that they were set up and I dragged a screaming, flailing, Miss 19 months back to the table and we attempted to strap both babies into their seats. By the time we got settled we noticed something terrifying. May Day! There were 9 menus around the teppan yaki table. Oh dear! We were going to be sharing the table with some other diners. Uh-oh. We really didn’t want to be “those parents” who can’t control their children when dining out. A sweet family of five joined us around the hot table. They were celebrating their daughter’s 16th birthday and while they were polite and friendly, their eyes showed that they were obviously concerned that our little family was going to ruin it. Rightfully so. Can’t blame them.
I quickly moved napkins, forks, chopsticks out of reach of both babies. Our server came over and offered Miss 19 months old a pair of children’s chopsticks that were attached at the top with an elastic to make for easy maneuvering. I fought the urge to confiscate them before she poked her eye out since she was entertained by them which meant she wasn’t screaming and flailing trying to get out of her seat and back to the waterfall at the front of the restaurant. Hubby took her chopsticks from her and began entertaining her by squeezing his nose with them. Not appropriate dining behaviour but it was keeping her entertained so hey! Why not? It was all good until he passed them back to her and she tried to imitate him and almost poked her eye out. The chopsticks can now be confiscated. Thank you. We kept both babes entertained by offering them sweet potato Gerber puffs. I opened the menu to see an insert that said “Parents: Please do not let children run. There are hot tables and it isn’t safe.” Uh-oh. We are already in trouble. I looked up to point this out to Hubby and noticed that the same sign was also posted above his head. Whoops!
After we ordered our food, platters of terikaki shrimp, beef, chicken, veggies and rice for Hubby and me and a sushi (avocado roll) for Miss 19 months old, I kept her entertained with the lemon wedge from my water glass. Miss 19 months loves lemon. It’s bizarre. She happily sucks on it and enjoys every last bit. Hubby and I treated ourselves to a real drink, a beer for him and a glass of wine for me. Mr. 8 months happily played with a rattle in his seat, squealing with excitement. He dropped the rattle a couple of times and each time, a beautiful young, Japanese server would run over and pick it up for him and he would smile with excitement. He quickly noticed a pattern and started purposely throwing the rattle out of his seat then turning to look behind him to the service station to see where she was and then get all excited when she would return to pick it up for him and compliment him on how handsome he is and his beautiful blue eyes. He’s a lady’s man already!
Overall, both babies were really well behaved throughout the meal. While the chef cooked our meal, Miss 19 months’ eyes lit up as he filled a volcano made of onion with oil and she let out an excited “Woah!” as he set it on fire. She applauded with glee. She enjoyed her sushi and eating bits of stir fry off of our plates. Mr. 8 months devoured tiny balls of sticky rice and enjoyed every moment. Both babies did really well. The craziest thing to happen during the start of dinner was Miss 19 months kicking her boot off and then excitedly handing me her sock and putting her bare foot up on the table as we started to eat. This wasn’t horribly tragic. Our fellow diners thankfully laughed.
Hubby and I recalled the first time we had dined at this restaurant about 6 years ago when we had shared the table with a young family who had a toddler sitting with them eating sushi. We both thought it was so amazing that they were introducing their child to different cuisines so early and hoped that we would do that some day when we became parents. Coming from English backgrounds, neither of us had grown up experiencing different cuisines other than the occasional Chinese takeout dinner and we both really enjoy a wide palette of foods and hope our babies will too. We realized last night that we were the “cool parents.” High five! We were the brave ones taking babies out and feeding them sticky rice and sushi rolls in their high chairs. Yay us! haha
All good things must come to an end and as we finished up our meal, Miss 19 months started to get bored. Dun…Dunn… Dunnn… To get her to stop screaming so the other family dining with us could enjoy their meal in peace, I put an episode of Dora the Explorer on my iphone and leaned it against her plate of sushi so she could see it. She was entertained enough that we could finish the last few bites of delicious Japanese food. Yum! A server came by to comment on how well-behaved she was but then quickly blew our cover when she announced “Oh! You’re watching TV!” We’re just trying to survive. Miss 19 months blew our cover again when she suddenly started singing along to Dora’s “Backpack! Backpack!” complete with applause and “Yay!” at the end. After that she was done. She started throwing food everywhere. She freaked out when I took her food away so she couldn’t throw it anymore. I asked Hubby to track down the bill while I took her out of her seat and let her run loose (against the rules) back to the waterfall. She was excited to be free but didn’t want to just look at the waterfall. She wanted to run everywhere. Uh-oh. It is time to go! ASAP! When I tried to pick her up so she couldn’t run all over, she instantly turned into a spineless jellyfish and melted out of my arms, shirt over her head, into a screaming puddle on the floor. Not good. Not good at all.
Hubby quickly paid the bill, got Mr. 8 months into his carseat and started folding down and unstrapping our booster seats from the chairs. I put Miss 19 months’ poncho on in attempts to restrain her and held her kicking and screaming under my arm while I quickly bent down and picked up all of the abandoned rice, terriyaki chicken, zucchini, bean sprouts that was all over the floor. We apologized to our fellow diners 5000 times who were awesome and actually complimented on how well-behaved they were and joked that they understood and had been there and that it was all good until I took her food away so she couldn’t throw it everywhere. Gotta love people who make a hectic experience easier! We obviously still felt bad and made a quick evacuation, taking one last look at our barely touched glasses of beer and wine on the table. It was worth a try! We did manage to toast and take a sip before eating anyway!
I held a booster seat over my shoulder and a flailing 19 month old under my other arm, Hubby carried the car seat with a crying 8 month old in one hand and a booster seat and diaper bag in the other. I dropped the booster seat at the doorway and put Miss 19 months old down for a moment so I could grab my coat from the coat rack. She ran over to the waterfall as I chased her trying to quickly push my arms through my coat at the same time. As I pushed my second arm through the sleeve of my coat, I forgot about Miss 19 months knitted owl hat that was shoved in my sleeve, it went flying through the air in slow motion, landing in the pond under the waterfall. Of course. Miss 19 months thought it was hilarious and quickly pulled her knee up on the wall of the pond attempting to climb in after it. I picked her up and climbed over the wall myself to reach in and grab the soggy, wet hat. The sweet server that was playing “fetch” with Mr. 8 months at the table saw the mayhem unfold and quickly came running over with a plastic bag for me to carry the hat home in…covered in pond water and koi fish poo. Perfect. How thoughtful! This place has amazing customer service. We took our babies out to the car simultaneously kicking and screaming. They both fell asleep in their car seats on the way home.
All in all it was a great experience. Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Would we do it again? Yes…but maybe with the $50 bill from the fridge and no babies in tow next time!
andbabymakes3imean4 is one mom’s adventures while tap dancing on the brink of insanity with 2 babies, 11 months apart. If you liked this post, please click “Subscribe” or like my page on facebook to be the first to know of future posts. Thanks for reading! xo