A classmate of Lucien's has chickens. They recently invited us over to see their new baby chicks. The family is a lesbian couple with two daughters, so I considered saying, "Wow, this house really is full of chicks" when I walked through the door, but didn't. I'm going to save that comment for when I know them better, though, because I think it's pretty good.
You would think holding chicks would be a delightful experience, but instead it's nerve-wracking, bordering on heart attack-inducing. Both Lucien and Coco were excited, squeezing the tiny fragile bodies in a terrifying way that made the chicks squeak. I performed many chick interventions, and gave chick-holding demonstrations, all while being climbed upon by many baby chicks. We lost one for awhile under the couch, then another behind a pillow. I spent the visit thinking "we're going to kill one, maybe two, so when it happens, Imma run." Remarkably, all chicks were unscathed when we left but they probably needed some stiff drinks.
We've been to a lot of restaurants lately. They've all been great except for the last one, which was a disaster, but we'll get to that in a minute.
We met our friends, Beer Guy and Beer Gal (they brew beer at their place, thus a new blog moniker is born), for brunch at Skillet diner on Capitol Hill. The thing that matters most at Skillet, and possibly in this world, is the cinnamon roll. Skillet's cinnamon rolls are as big as your head, and arrive hot and drowned in icing. I'd gained three pounds by the time I finished it, but it was well worth snug jeans.
The combination of Bloody Mary and cinnamon roll is a little rough, but who cares.
A few hours later, I had dinner at Marjorie with a childhood friend and his wife. The childhood friend -- Video Game Guy -- and I haven't seen each other since high school graduation. Our mutual friend, Facebook, put us back in contact and informed us we were both Seattleites. Unlike the many times you reconnect with someone via Facebook and realize you now despise them with every fiber of your being, Video Game Guy and I are a Facebook success story.
The food was good, but perhaps not as noteworthy as the sign posted at the bar --
You can just barely see the sign hanging underneath the guy in the fake Hofbräuhaus t-shirt (a Hofbräuhaus in Vegas? Is nothing sacred?) It says "No minors. No firearms." That was just for the bar, though, so the handguns we had at the table were OK.
Also noteworthy is the bathroom. There's a record player in there, so you can choose the music to which you'd like to pee. Miles Davis was playing when I walked in. I could have spent the entire evening in the bathroom with the vinyl but went back to the table for fear Video Game Guy would unfriend me.
sweet, sweet pee tunes
Now I'm going to change the mood significantly. Fun and games are over because our third restaurant was a disaster, to put it mildly. I'm sick, frankly, of talking about what happened so the blog's getting a much-abbreviated version.
We met friends at a nearby alehouse -- an alehouse infamous for its toy corner moshpit, kids underfoot, chaos, and general mayhem. Perhaps it wasn't the original intent of the restaurant, but it's the environment that's grown there over the years, and it's the main reason we go there, to give Lucien a longer "leash" than we would in a more traditional restaurant. We thought it was OK to do so. We were wrong.
An elderly man, unbeknownst to us, grew irate at Lucien and his friend's constant back-and-forth in front of his table. It's unclear how the altercation began, but according to the kids, it began with Lucien's friend being yelled at by the man. The friend cried, prompting his father to get up from his table and come over. Lucien then either said something mouthy or made a face at the man seated in the booth. The man then grabbed Lucien -- by the neck -- and shook him.
The dad of Lucien's friend, who was by then standing next to him, yelled loudly and pulled the man's hands off Lucien's neck. The restaurant went silent, staff (eventually) came over, the man denied he touched Lucien, that "he would never hurt a child." Right.
The aftermath has been lengthy and tiring. I mailed letters to the management and posted an angry message on a popular parenting listserve, which got me a barrage of comments from opinionated people on all sides. I spent a full day plodding through and answering all the direct emails in my inbox, either thanking them for their support or thanking them for their opinion we're crap parents. That day was long.
But it did have the effect I hoped for -- someone forwarded it to the owner of the alehouse and he was in touch with me within twenty-four hours. He's a good guy, father of three himself, and was suitably appalled by what happened. He and his staff are pulling receipts from that evening in an attempt to both identify the man and contact more eyewitnesses.
Lucien's OK, though still processing. Sometimes he'll be sitting in silence and suddenly say something like, "You know, Mom, I bet that man just likes to squeeze kids' necks, so he goes to that restaurant because he knows there will be lots of necks to squeeze." It hasn't slowed him down much, but it's evident he's still trying to figure out what went wrong, too.
We have no interest in suing the man or filing a police report, as many have suggested. Whenever he's identified, I want only to write him a letter, tell him he can deny it all he wants but we know what he did, it was an assault, and it was wrong no matter what Lucien said or did to him. I want to scare that asshole so he never, ever touches a kid again.
It was so confusing in the restaurant, Alex and I didn't get a chance to confront the man before he left. Lucien didn't see us defend him, and that pains us greatly. We just want the chance to do so now.
You have absolutely no right, ever, to touch a child in anger.MJ
(Everyone knows this except assholes.)
(Everyone knows this except assholes.)
It's been a rough week, posse. Sure could use a few cinnamon rolls over here,