Imagine that you and your sweetie are just settling into a romantic dinner for two at The Melting Pot. It's Sunday night and you picked that night because it was more likely to be quiet and intimate. You're gazing deeply into each other's eyes, debating the relative merits of the Wisconsin Cheddar Fondue as opposed to the Traditional Swiss, when a woman is led to the table next to you. You pay no attention to her, at first, until she starts emitting a high-pitched shrieking. Startled, worried that the poor woman is having some sort of attack, you turn to her and realize that it's not she who is shrieking, but her baby.
Yes. She brought a baby to The Melting Pot. And not just any kind of baby, but a toddler kind of baby. A toddler kind of baby that is objecting vociferously to being put in a high chair. Then another woman, talking loudly on a cell phone -- trying to get off, but nonetheless still being extremely rude -- arrives at the table and sits down. She hangs up the phone and pulls the toddler-type baby into her lap. You return your attention to your beloved and resume your perusal of the menu.
It's when the server is swirling your cheddar and beer together that loud banging sounds start coming from the table next to you. The server winces. You peek around her to see that the toddler-type is banging some sort of plastic sippy-cup on the table top. When one of the women takes the sippy-cup away the infant starts that shrill screaming noise again. When the woman gives the sippy-cup back, the banging recommences and the tiny devil laughs. The other woman starts trying to distract the baby with crackers. You are dismayed to see that they haven't even started their cheese course yet.
Still, you return to your own meal. You and your beloved start feeding each other little bits of bread dipped in the hot cheese. You can hear and sense a great deal of ruckus at the table next to you, but you determinedly ignore it. The ruckus gets louder, you continue to ignore it. You manage to ignore the situation quite well until a bit of bread and cheese comes flying through the air and a maniac cackle erupts from the table next to you. Luckily, you were not hit with any flying cheese, so you give the women at the table a dirty look and return to your meal. That'll show them. Maybe they'll keep that baby in line better for the rest of the evening. Your beloved is starting to talk about how much she hates children, and how she never wants to have any of her own. You are beginning to agree with her.
Time passes. The ruckus has not lessened, but no wayward pieces of food have been flung your way in several minutes. You're looking into your pot of coq au vin seasoned bouillion when you hear your beloved gasp. She has a look of horror on her face. "Someone gave it a weapon," she whispers in a strangled voice. You turn to see the toddler waving a large fondue fork maniacally around, nearly taking out the eye of the woman holding the child. You see the baby expertly spear a piece of raw meat and fling it before the woman manages to get the fork out of the baby's hand. The other woman just starts scooping the raw meat and veggies into the pot haphazardly. You hear her explain that if they can just get all the damn food cooked they can get out of here. Inwardly, you cheer. Then you hear the other woman complain, "We came to the Melting Pot and AREN'T getting any chocolate fondue?" You cringe, just wanting them gone, and then you hear that same woman cry, "never mind, never mind, can we turn the heat up on that pot somehow?" just as the child starts screaming again.
You and your beloved look at each other. You whisper about the merits of changing tables, but the women are making every move to leave the restaurant, so you decide to stick it out.
Finally, finally, the women get up and leave, their sticky, squirmy, sticky, screaming baby with them. Their table is a mess, there's food stuck to the walls, bread crumbs and cheese shreds scattered on the floor in a wide circle. The server looks pale and drained. You hope they at least left a massive tip.
Then you and your beloved return to your dark chocolate fondue and swear never to have children. Or at least, never to bring them to The Melting Pot.
Just because a restaurant has high chairs doesn't mean it's appropriate for children.
note: we did leave a massive tip. And in our defense, Julia has NEVER been that bad when we've eaten out, and we've taken her to some pretty fancy places. Hopefully she was just tired and this isn't a sign of new times to come.
No Diners Were Harmed in the Making of this Blog Post.