Monday, January 03, 2011

Welcome to the Four Seasons. Please don't ever come back.

My dad's brother is in town with his wife (my aunt) and my cousin.  They're staying at the Four Seasons and emailed last week to see if we wanted to come to the hotel to meet them for brunch.  I try to avoid going to restaurants with my children, but I don't see my uncle very often and I haven't seen my aunt or cousin in decades (for reals -- the last time I saw my cousin I was 14), so I thought we'd brave it this time.

The outing started out well.  The kids looked cute and presentable in nice sweaters.  Josie had just woken up from a nap so she was energetic and happy.  It was lovely to catch up with my relatives.

But there's a reason I don't like going out to eat with my children.  They're just too young to sit still without getting restless and fussy.  Occasionally we'll grab dinner at the Greek diner down the block from our house, but we generally only have 20 minutes of good behavior from the kids before they start squirming and wanting to wander around and J and I end up shoveling the rest of our meals in our face while frantically motioning towards the waitress for the check.

At the Four Seasons, which was mercifully uncrowded for brunch/lunch, Zeke did really well.  I packed a bag full of coloring books and crayons and trucks for him to play with, plus the restaurant has cute little puzzles for kids and Zeke is on a big puzzle kick, so he sat quietly and colored and did his puzzle. 

But Josie was full of beans and just wanted to run around and look at everything.  First I followed her around as she ran around tables and looked at the sculptures and tried to find her way back into the kitchen.  Then Zeke wanted me to take him to the potty, so I took Zeke to the bathroom while J followed Josie around.

When Zeke and I got back from the bathroom, Josie was crying and she and J were surrounded by concerned-looking restaurant staff.  Apparently Josie made her way back to the swinging service doors leading into the kitchen and before J could grab her, a waiter carrying a tray of food kicked the door from the other side to open it and smashed her in the forehead, sending her airborne.  She had (and still has) a red welt extending from the top of her forehead to her left eyebrow and was totally freaking out.

We spent the next half hour assuring the nice people at the Four Seasons that we didn't need medical attention.  The restaurant manager came, multiple staff came to check on us, the poor waiter who kicked the door was completely distraught.  We assured them that we didn't blame them, that Josie would be fine, kids get into mischief and it's just life, blah blah. 

And once she calmed down, she resumed wanting to run around, which freaked everybody out to no end.

After brunch, we went up to my relatives' room to see their dogs.  They have little Yorkies that they travel with and we thought the kids would enjoy seeing the dogs.  And little 2 pound dogs wearing sweaters are not really my thing, but the dogs were very sweet, until Zeke got a little too much in the face of one of them and she nipped his hand.  So he started to cry.

We figured it would be best if we cut our losses and went home. 

Zeke ran ahead of us in the hall to the elevator because he wanted to push the buttons.  But he pushed the wrong button at first -- at the same level as the elevator call button, there's an emergency button that I guess you call if the elevators don't work and you aren't able to get down stairs or something. 

We told the people at the front desk about the error so they wouldn't think there was some emergency.  Then we went out and waited for the valet to bring our car.

That's when we heard the sirens.  Apparently, that little button that Zeke pushed isn't just an internal call button.  It summons the fire department.  As the fire trucks pulled up and at least 10 firemen ran into the building with axes and other fireman-y accoutrement, we kept our heads down and tried to act casual.  The valet brought the car, we threw the kids into it, jumped in and sped off, half expecting to look in the rear view mirror and see the entire structure collapse in our wake.

We'll be laying low for a while.


  1. It sounds exhausting. I try to avoid taking Jordan out to eat anywhere that isn't completely kid-friendly and not remotely fancy at this point. I cannot imagine hauling him to the Four Seasons. Keeping up with him and keeping him out of other people's way is just too much of a pain in the ass.

    Also, I have pushed that red button. And left. Once you realize it, it's humiliating.

  2. I felt like such an asshole. And my aunt and uncle wanted to meet us out tonight or tomorrow night, but the thought of it gives me hives. I told them to come over to my house instead.

  3. Oh, Wendy! While I feel your pain, when I read that the fire department showed up, I fell out of my chair laughing. My son came downstairs to ask what I was laughing about.

    And know that I am laughing with you because one day you are totally going to laugh about this.

    It gets a lot easier to go out when they turn 5 and having an older sibling really helps the younger one.

    We still don't take the kids to any place that doesn't readily welcome children, but we know now that we can actually make it through a meal without a meltdown or someone running in circles around the restaurant.