Remember when I said my Sunday dinner last week was quite interesting in “What a mess!“? Well, here’s the story of how a 3.5-year-old can convert even a very normal, very toned down restaurant dinner into something no one will forget (especially our table’s waiter!).
We were hosting a Brazilian friend for the weekend who had come to visit Delhi and especially the Taj Mahal in Agra. She is hubby’s colleague. They had met during a fortnight-long Corporate Sales Training for which hubby had gone to Hyderabad recently. If you really think about it, friendships strike in some of the oddest of places. When 24 people get grilled together for more than 15-16 hours a day, “bitching about trainers” (as my hubby puts it) becomes common grounds for developing lasting camaraderie. And he did make a great many new friends during this training.
Anyway getting back to the story, considering the security situation in the National Capital Region (especially since people get to hear only the bad stuff through news and none of the good ones), she was very concerned about visiting The Taj Mahal on her own. So Hubby invited her to stay at our home and travel from there. One of her girlfriends from Mumbai (again, a work colleague) also came to accompany her while traveling to Agra.
During hubby’s training, the general consensus was that “Brazilians are way more emotional than Indians.” and our friend proved it right when she choked up (and in fact cried, if hubby is to be believed!) during her farewell speech at Hyderabad. Prior to meeting her, my only exposure to Brazil was through Paulo Coelho’s novels and Pele’s soccer. But I could not agree more with the statement. She was very friendly, open and quite emotional. I am generally reserved when meeting someone for the first time, but with her, it was easy to open up. We hit it off nicely from the moment she reached our home. And I learned that, in a lot of ways, our values are very similar to theirs.
She spent the entire Saturday visiting The Taj and other places in the vicinity like Vrindavan, Mathura etc. with her friend from Mumbai and we got to see her again only at dinner time. That evening, hubby cooked his “famous” chicken curry (without too many chilies, of course) and she commented that the look and taste of the dish were very much like the way they make it in Brazil 🙂
On Sunday (after a leisurely breakfast), hubby took her along with her friend for sight-seeing and shopping in Delhi. It was raining on and off that day. I decided to stay home with sonny as he was coming down with a cold and I was worried that it would get worse, if I went, given the bad weather.
When they came back home in the late evening, quite exhausted from the jam-packed sight-seeing/shopping schedule, we decided that we would have a quick dinner at a nearby restaurant inside the sports complex, which we were members of. Her friend from Mumbai had already left on an evening flight and she too was supposed to catch an early morning flight to Dubai the next day. So we wanted to make sure that we were back home soon (to give her a chance to pack and rest).
Sonny was quite excited to go out, considering that he was cooped up at home (mostly) all throughout the weekend. We reached the place around 9:00 pm at night. There were only a few tables occupied during that time.
The moment we were seated, sonny decided to entertain us with music (rather a loud cacophony) by banging his fork and knife against the quarter plates. We tried to ignore the noise to the best of our abilities and focused on food and talks instead.
For appetizers, we ordered a light tomato soup for the grown-ups and a strawberry milkshake for sonny. The milkshake was more to keep sonny occupied (I was pretty sure he would not really drink much). And it sort of worked. Initially, he got busy unwrapping the 5-6 straws that the waiter placed on our table, throwing the torn paper pieces on the floor of course and then blowing bubbles using one straw into his milkshake. After a while he decided that there must be a reason why he was given 5-6 straws and not just one and so shoved them all into his glass, alternating between the water glass and milkshake glass and blowing bubbles from time to time. We let him be, at least he was still seated and not running here and there, saying hello to random people!
For the main course, we ordered grilled fish (for our Brazilian friend), fish fingers (for sonny and me) and Aloo Poori (for my very “desi” hubby, of course!). We had barely started eating when sonny decided that the sides of julienne lettuce and French fries were way more interesting than his fish fingers. He stuffed his mouth with both as I kept reminding him to eat slowly and chew his food. I tried to coax him to try the fish fries but he did not bother much with those. Nonetheless, the fact that he was still seated and eating something was good enough for me. I was not getting stressed anymore as he seemed to be behaving himself (more or less!).
So, I focused on the grown-up conversations instead while still keeping a keen eye on him from time to time.
And then I heard a cough………..which, through 3.5 years of his existence, I have learned to associate with the inevitable disaster: HE WAS ABOUT TO PUKE!!!!
Something was caught in his throat (I think it was the lettuce) and he was trying to get it out. I tried to give him some water but I knew from experience that once there was something bothering him (or he just thought there was!), his gag reflex would invariably kick in and he wouldn’t rest until he had vomited out the last morsel of food from his stomach.
And from experience, I knew how difficult it was to get puke out from his clothes.
So, again, from experience, I was ready to catch it all in the cloth napkin I had on my lap……way before he actually started puking, while still trying to convince him not to do it!
And then he started. He puked and puked and puked. He puked out whatever he had eaten/drunk during the dinner, and then he puked his evening snacks and milk out (I could tell from the chocolate color of his curdled milk!). So much so that after I had used up my napkin, I had to borrow four more, three from our table and one from the adjacent empty table. And even after that some of the residual vomit landed on his shirt and jeans and on the chair he was sitting on. Thankfully, I had moved his chair away from the table (yes, from experience) before his puke-fest started so our table remained untouched by this sudden onslaught (Credit goes to me and hubby because between us we managed to contain the puke-volcano only to five cloth napkins, sonny’s shirt and jeans and a very little on his chair. Not a single drop fell on the floor or elsewhere…..talk about risk assessment and crisis management!).
Hubby moved the vomit-laden napkins and chair away to a side (and put a new chair for sonny instead) as our waiter looked on, quite concerned I must add. I was not sure whether the concern was for sonny or for the gross disaster in front of him!
Anyway, I got busy undressing sonny, while hubby went to the restroom to wash his hands.
The weather was still chilly and sonny was wearing his full-sleeved thermal tee under his shirt. So, once I removed his shirt, he still had a fairly decent looking T-Shirt on. But his lower half was an entirely different story! Once I took off his jeans, all he had on were his underpants with a prominent image of “Goofy” printed on one side and his blue-green slip-on shoes (with no socks!).
I have no idea how the people at the rest of the tables reacted to this crazy turn of events (my peripheral vision was quite compromised by the whole incident) and I was almost ready to leave the moment hubby came back (though we were only half way through dinner).
But then, just like that, sonny (in his “Goofy” underpants, slip-on shoes with no socks and full t-shirt and his trademark “captivating” smile, which can melt every heart in a fraction of a second) hopped into his “fresh” chair from my lap and started nibbling at his fries again. And our friend picked up a fish finger from his plate. And just like that, we continued eating dinner as if nothing had happened.
“Oh, my god! He did not cry at all!” is what our friend kept on commenting from time to time throughout the remainder of our dinner and even later, back at home.
Anyway, after dinner, we apologized to the waiter (We gave him a generous tip for his troubles 🙂 !) and went out of the restaurant with our “scantily-clad” child in tow (who was quite oblivious to the whole situation and of his “Goofy” underpants!). As if sonny’s particular state of undress was no big deal at all, we even gave a tour of the sports complex to our friend before heading home.
And at home, I had to cook some pasta for sonny (Talk about not getting a break from cooking!) and feed him at 11:00 pm at night before getting him to bed (Turns out he was coming down with a cough and cold and hence slept very poorly that night 🙁 ). By the way, only when I was about to make sonny his dinner, did I realize (rather a sniff) that amidst all the chaos, I had forgotten to wash my hands at the restaurant and kind of smelled like sour milk. “Ewww!!! So Gross!“.
Anyway, what struck me most about the whole incident was that our Brazilian friend, who is not a mom yet, was so amazingly graceful about the whole “yucky” mess! Just before sonny started his puke-fest, we were talking about caring for kids and she was telling me how patient I was (hehe! if only!) and how she worries that she would not be able to handle a child. The fact that she did not flinch even once during our son’s misadventure (if I may call it so) and that she was more worried about sonny’s well-being and less about the “grossness” of the whole situation, tells me that she would be more than ready to take care of a child when her time comes.
As for the waiter and other support staff at the sports complex, I just hope they don’t remember our faces the next time we visit (which I am guessing and hoping is not going to happen anytime soon)!