Monday, July 9, 2007

Reason #782 Not to Have Kids

We went to Thousand Cranes at The New Otani Hotel for dinner tonight. It was my brother-in-law's choice for his birthday. We had a private tatami room, which, much to my relief, had a hole in the ground for our legs to dangle, so we didn't have to kneel uncomfortably as traditional tatami rooms dictate.

The food was good but not outstanding. Mr. Monkey and I each had the kaiseki (懐石), which is basically a Japanese version of a tasting menu. Kaiseki is lighter than Western tasting menus, though. The kaiseki at Thousand Cranes purports to be "celebration of foods consisting of nine courses presented on small dishes: steamed, simmered, grilled, vinegared, sliced raw fish and crisp tempura."

What actually comprised this "celebration"? Agedashi tofu/egg custard, thick seaweed-wrapped fish with roe, sashimi (two each of toro, maguro, hamachi, and whitefish), grilled black cod, cold soba, hot "special" miso soup with a slight tang, tempura (shrimp, fish, eggplant), two slices of sweet rice cake (which were not mochi) doused in a sweet brown sugar syrup and sprinkled with peanut sugar, and ice cream (Mr. Monkey had green tea, and I opted for red bean). Mr. Monkey's dad, brother, and sister-in-law took the shabu shabu route, dining on do-it-yourself boiled thin slices of beef and vegetables accompanied by various condiments and salad, rice, pickles, and miso soup. [Side note: The Monkeys hate shabu shabu. It is a combination of our laziness and disdain for eating something that's just boiled and dipped in sauce. ] Mr. Monkey's family also ended with ice cream.

So now you've read about our Japanese dinner. What the hell does this have to do with the title of this entry?

Li'l Monkey Niece ("LMN") is about 1.5 years old. She knows how to say "Auntie" and loves to scream "Auntie,
Auntie, Auntie, Auntie, Auntie!" until the Monkey acknowledges her. She is not as proficient with "Uncle," which is rather disappointing to Mr. Monkey. She is small and boisterous and likes to laugh.

She is a tiny terror.

Now, don't get me wrong. LMN is not a bad baby, certainly no worse than other babies. I'm told that LMN is actually a pretty good baby. The bottom lime is that she's a baby. There's a reason why Thousand Cranes doesn't have a changing table in the restroom. Babies don't belong in fine dining establishments.

Thankfully, we had the private tatami room. LMN ran 'round and 'round and 'round us in her socks. She "combed" our hair. She giggled and yanked at our ears. She shrieked. She hurled her little Elmo figurine across the room. Several times. She carried my purse back and forth and back and forth. She gave us unsolicited extraordinarily drippy drool-laden kisses. She banged on the table with her hands.

It took us 2.5 hours to get through that meal. During that entire 2.5 hours, not one word of adult conversation was uttered. The whole 2.5 hours was devoted to corralling LMN.

Having children really does change your life, and not in a way I care to experience any time soon.


  1. thank you. i have added this to my list.

  2. you know what, though? what i see here isn't necessarily a reason not to have kids (although i know you didn't need any more anyway) - but more of a lack of judgment on the parents' part. i didn't take the kid to any restaurants till she was well past the age of knowing how to behave herself. i wish parents would just find a sitter already, if they want to have a fine dining experience. a couple of hours ain't gonna break ya, people.

  3. I'm with Wan on this one - this sounds like a parenting problem not a child problem. My brother and I were taught about "outside" behavior - this includes sitting at a table in a restaurant the whole time. You got out of your seat only to go to the bathroom. And if you couldn't handle it? You were left at home (with a babysitter - my parent's weren't monsters)

  4. We've been around so many babies/toddlers lately and they do tend to take over all adult conversation...I agree with Wan-Nabe, the parents should have hired a babysitter. It wasn't fair to LMN either...

  5. Yeah, but this is what life is like 24/7. Hell if I want to deal with this at home.

  6. I am craving JAPANESE dinner My baby (luckily) is so good in restaurants. Now if only I can control him at home :)

  7. You are so funny m'dear. I agree with Wan too. People should not bring kids to these kinds of restaurants. If you are fine-dining it, you should fine-babysit it too. Nuff said.

  8. This is why I stuck to ordering in and establishments like IHOP when Lil' Man was younger. Sucks for me, but I viewed it as sparing the masses. Fine dining is no place for rugrats, regardless of how cute they may be. And yes, they command much attention at home but there it's OK to give it. Not at a birthday dinner with all grown ups. Wrong person getting the attention there. :/

  9. I get frustrated and upset when I'm on a nice night out with Mr. P and have to deal with someone's bad ass kid. Even if it's not a nice restaurant or something like that, I'm really sick of parents not disciplining their kids when they're running amok in public. This is why my nephew is so well-behaved :) When the time comes for us to have kids, be sure to copy and paste this blog entry to remind me that my "cutest kid in the whole world" is not, in fact, the center of everyone else's universe and as such, should not always be brought out among the masses.


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