Lunchtime with Emma

– by Michael
[Context: a neighbor asked if I could take care of their 9-month-old child today; Joanie looks after Emma on occasion, but was busy this morning, so I stepped in. Emma was… gracious, if not entirely thrilled. Here is an account of lunchtime from her perspective.]
I noticed right away that the service staff was new – my waiter was an altogether too large man with what appeared to be red fur growing on his face, and I did not approve. Still, one does try to be open-minded, so instead of giving full voice to my displeasure I elected simply to howl intermittently at random intervals.
My immediate complaint: the first course was brought out far too early. By a good half hour. Call me old fashioned, but I think that I deserve to be walked to and fro through the establishment for at least half an hour, followed by a minimum of a further quarter hour’s worth of time in which I ignore the brightly-colored toys in favor of car keys, stereo cables, and cat fur, all of which serve as delightful appetizers. Or they should have, had not the clearly inexperienced servant on duty continually interrupted my attempts to consume them.
At any rate, once the preliminaries were more or less properly observed, we settled down to the important business of lunch. There were several options on the menu, pictured below:
Starting from the back row, then left to right: ‘K, no way, ehhhh, ‘k, OH SWEET MOTHER OF MERCY YES
Clearly the squash was a non-starter. I sent it back forcefully. And apples and cherries were not really suiting my mood for the day. But the remaining dishes appeared tolerable, so we began the meal while still being held upright, as the servant tested my willingness to eat (and apologized for his earlier haste!) by offering me a Cheerio.
I accepted, and the meal was on.
After the obligatory expressing-discomfort-while-being-buckled-into-my-seat, the servant started me on my first course: the chicken. Palatable. Worth eating the bit on the first part of the spoon, but not worth the effort of retrieving the remnant left within the utensil’s bowl. I made a peremptory gesture which, to his credit, the servant interpreted correctly, and we switched to the second course:
The yogurt!
I have a weakness for this substance. It’s sweet, easy on the mouth, and makes a really great-looking mess, the kind you just want to throw on and wear around town. I easily could have dined on nothing else but after a few bites the servant interpreted my enthused flailing as a signal to move on to the third course.
More chicken.
Again, only one bite. Then on to the fourth course:
More yogurt!
We alternated thus for some time, with one bite of the chicken interspersed with two, three, and once even four nibbles of the deliciously inspiring yogurt. Eventually, of course, I elected to finish the meal by forcefully covering my mouth with both hands and glaring at the servant until he placed a handful of Cheerios on the table as a finisher while he cleaned up the mess he had made. (Quite a messy feeder, that one.)
Then, of course, it was time for more exploratory walking, capped off with an inexpertly performed diaper change.
All in all, both the cuisine and the service were well-intentioned, if slightly lacking. I’ll most likely give this place another shot, especially if they bring back the lovely blond servant lady.
And, of course, as long as there’s yogurt.

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