On Pancakes and Toddlers


All this fuss about Marcy’s Diner in Portland, MA brought back some memories.

My youngest is 24, so they’re old memories, the best kind.

Before he was born, Betsy and I took our infant daughter (here she is all grown up!) kateto Jupiter, FL to visit my parents. Knowing that they prefer to experience their grandchildren “in small bites,” we decided to take Kate out to lunch one day, at the fabulous Joe’s Stone Crab on the Loxahatchee River. At the time, she was no more than 6 months and we carried her in the car seat.

We were ushered to a nice table by a window, next to a group of six elderly women. When they saw the baby, you might have thought they were looking at Rosemary’s Baby. They were horrified, certain that this infant was soon to spoil their nice, quiet, two Manhattan lunch (ending as they all do with a lengthy to-the-penny reconciliation guaranteeing that no one paid a nickel more than owed, including the 5% tip).

Their disdain was palpable, and we actually considered whether this was a good idea. Kate could be fussy at times (still is, in fact). But we decided to tough it out, agreeing that if she started squawking, we’d take a doggy bag and get the hell out of there.

We proceeded to have a delightful lunch ( fish and wine, of course), during which Kate sleep soundlessly from start to finish. That was when we learned the sedative effect of restaurant noise.

Anyway, the ladies finished their lunch and began to trickle away from the table, then each of them paused by Betsy and the baby. One of them complimented Betsy (not me!) for having such a “lovely child.” Her friend was more direct:

“And so quiet!”


3 Responses to “On Pancakes and Toddlers”

  1. 1 Margaret

    But as you well know, it’s a crap shoot!

  2. 2 Mike

    You never can tell…..

    Your post brought back similar, but oh so different, memories of our “baby in a restaurant” experience.

    Born in December, our now 15 year old (going on 21) daughter spent the first months of her life huddled against the cold New England winter of 2000. In April, taking a much needed break from the weather, mom, dad and child headed to Miami, also for some grandmother time.

    During the trip the three of us headed down to Key West for a few days of R&R…or as much of that as you can get with a 4 month old in tow. Off we went to the cushy Casa Marina in Key West and out to one of our favorite eatery’s, Bagatell….a lovely 4 star landmark with wraparound balconies overlooking Duval street.

    Our host seated us in a prime location, on the second floor balcony with unobstructed people watching up and down Duval, room for our sleeping baby (in car seat), and next to a table with six older woman obviously enjoying a girls night out.

    As drinks were served, and appetizers arrived, our little one decides to wake and make her presence known. A little whining, some tears, and up in dads lap….putting the fresh calamari just out of reach.

    Just as her volume increase, and I had visions of blackened grouper and grilled swordfish in the hotel room, one of the woman from the next table leans over and says that she thinks she could help and proceeds to scoop her up, as only a grandmother could, and bang…tears turn to smiles and whining to cooing.

    Enjoy your meal she said, and for the remainder of our feast…main course, desert, coffee…our little girl was passed around from one lady to the next having the time of her life, and adding a treat to their table that was not on the menu.

    As we finished our dinner, and they finished theirs, thank you’s were given all the way around…everybody got something out of it, in their own way.

    Just goes to show….you never can tell.

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