Wednesday, 27 August 2008

The 'Omen'

I have lately begun to question whether I might have accidentally given birth to the Anti-Christ. Dumpie is without doubt a fiercely engaging creature with the most charasmatic smile and a bigger than life personality...but he also possesses an uncanny ability to make other children and even grown adults cry (myself mainly).
I don't know what it is, but lately he's gone off the scale on the naughty-factor and now a good 90% of my day is spent chasing after him, wailing in dismay at the latest disaster, and apologizing for his behaviour. I may as well save my breath and wear a sign that reads, "Sorry for everything Dumpie is about to do, has done and will continue to do".

Yesterday a group of us went to Toronto Island, bought the kiddies ride passes and watched amused as they spent the day riding toy cars, ponies, giant bumble bees and toy boats. All went well until the toy boats when Dumpie enjoyed it so much that he refused to come off and screamed the place down when removed by a loving but firm Auntie Kristy (Jay's sister).

Later on in the day as we were leaving the island, we made the mistake of letting the kiddies have one last ride on the boats. The first round was fine, but then I impulsively begged the ride operator to let them stay on for one more turn as it was our last ride of the day and their favourite. Well I shortly came to regret that when Dumpie first began to plunge his hand in the water, then tried to climb over into the back seat to sit beside his cousin Taylor while the boat was in motion! Two grandma's, an auntie and mother all stood in disbelief and horror as we watched this potential disaster unfold.

The operator must have been blissfully unaware or I'm sure he would have stopped the ride. We were all covering our eyes, and screaming to Jake and Taylor to hold Noah down and not let him stand up, climb over the sit, and to make him get down from where he was precariously balancing up on the edge of the door....leaning back delightedly and taking great joy in our unabashed horror and fear everytime the ride came round again. We were seconds from leaping the fence, and watched in dismay as first Taylor got her hair pulled, then Egg, and both were bitten as they tried in vain to keep the Dumps seat bound. We were traumatized for a good half hour later, but Dumpie just lay back in his pushchair, arms casually thrown back behind his head in his customary pose, and surveyed us all through angelic eyes (though I swear there was a glint of a slightly patronizing and knowing smile).

Still, that is nothing compared to what occured at the lovely upmarket french bistro we took my beloved father to two nights ago for his birthday....

Myself, Auntie Ba, my dad, my mom and of course Egg and Ollie Dumpie dressed ourselves up and were only slightly late for our 7:30 reservations. The owner/manager of the place greeted us kindly and sat us near the back (I was later to be ever so grateful of this). We spent a good 20 minutes trying to choose a fitting bottle from their immense wine list, and I suspect this is where it went all wrong.

Both boys became simultaneously bored and intrigued by the setting. Such gleaming, heavy cutlery, such sparkling wine glasses, such lovely unsoiled cloth was a too tempting to bear. Dumpie of course was passed from person to person in an effort to amuse and keep him contained on one of our unfortunate laps. That didn't work - obviously. So we found ourselves having to get up, run and chase him through the restaurant where he was pausing at tables, smiling engagingly and pointing at peoples food. This I could have handled...but what came next I couldn't.

We were seated at a banquette which was mirrored and had a decorative corner...just about the perfect size for a naughty 21 month old to use as a viewing platform from which to survey the entire restaurant. Distracted while the delicious hot bread was being served, we failed to notice that Dumpie had removed his sandals, and clambered up onto the platform, stopping only to grab a ciabatta to nibble on. In utter and absolute horror (I kid you not - Auntie Ba and I were positively blushing red with humiliation) we clocked the owner walk by, do a double-take and register the fact that in his fine dining establishment, there now appeared to be a giggling baby chomping on bread and sat up high for all to see, with his big fat toes hanging over the edge and wiggling in glee at the commotion he was causing.

We were whispering furiously, "DUMPIE! COME DOWN NOW!" but it was to no avail as whenever we tried to grab his foot to pull him down, he'd snatch it away and scream (what sounded phonetically like 'Die'! but is likely just 'bugger off and leave me alone'!).

We did not know what to do, and were waiting for the owner to have us immediately and discreetly removed. It certainly would have been well within his rights. Just then the waitress came up, clocked Dumps and said in surprise, "Oh my! There's a baby up there!". We couldn't even meet her eye, and it was with some quick thinking and even quicker grabbing that we swung him down and Mom sacrificially forewent her lovely dining experience to whisk him swiftly and resolutely out of the place and allow us to eat in peace.

The moral of the story? Fine dining and babies do NOT matter how well-intentioned and deluded the participants are. Second lesson? No matter how big your tip, you will never be allowed to make another reservation under the same name once you have dined with The Dumps.

Looking back we should have gone to McDonalds, sat in the parking lot with the doors open and toasted my Dad with vanilla milkshakes. All the champagne in the world will not make you oblivious to the fact that people are staring daggers at you and wishing you dead. Believe me.

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