Friday, April 30, 2010

I just wanted a new dress. Is that so wrong?

Last night, I went to the mall with Junior and my mother, Linda. I was on a mission to find spring clothes, but after two hours, I hadn’t found anything. Between the geometric shapes, horrid colors, flimsy fabric and strange cuts (maternity wear, anyone?), I decided I’d rather make my own clothes with a glue stick and sandwich baggies—blindfolded—than to buy the crap they are trying to peddle as fashion.

Who are the clothing designers dressing? Forty-five pound pregnant, color blind math enthusiasts?


By 5:30, we were hungry, so we took Junior to the Rainforest Cafe. For those of you who haven’t ever been, it’s a chain restaurant designed to look exactly like, duh, a rain forest.

Pre-Junior, a children's place like this made for excellent birth control.

Wait staff dressed in khaki safari gear meet you at the door.

As does a crocodile with a guttural growl (he's hidden in a moat that hisses steam). The restaurant itself is a conglomeration of screaming kids, thunder storms, roaring elephants, talking trees, slithering snakes, huge fish, chest-pounding gorillas and cackling birds.

It’s perfect for small children who are going through the scared-of-monsters stage. Just perfect.

We were greeted by a bubbly woman with a headset, who gave us a number and told us to wait for our server, Darnell. As Darnell walked us to our table, Junior wrapped his ankles around my side in a vice grip.

“That elephant is angry at me!” Junior cried.

Where did Darnell sit us? Right next to the elephant.

“Could we possibly sit somewhere else?” I asked nicely.

He nodded. “Safari party of three wants to move,” he said into his headset.

He walked us over to another table, this time next to the gorillas.

“Those gorillas are scary!” Junior cried.

“I’m so sorry,” Linda said. “Can we possibly sit by the fish?”

Darnell frowned. “Safari party of three wants to move. Again.”

By the time we got to the fish, the lights had flashed and the thunder had roared. Junior was crying. “I want to leave!” he screamed. “I want to go home!” Darnell nodded towards our seats. Linda and I stood there stupidly.

“I’m really, really, sorry,” I said. “I don’t think we should stay.”

Darnell sighed. “Safari party of three is leaving,” he said into his headset, then disappeared into the jungle.

We walked to a sandwich shop but Junior, being the bipolar, schizophrenic, fickle toddler that he is, starting wailing, “I want to eat at the Rainforest Cafe! I want to eat at the Rainforest Cafe!”

“But you were scared,” I said calmly.

“No I waaaaaaaaaaasn’t,” he blubbered. “I want to go back. I want to go back, Mommy.”

Deep breath.

My mother, being the doting grandmother she is, suggested we give it one more try. We walked back to the Rainforest Cafe.

The bubbly greeter smiled brightly before saying, “Safari party of three is back” into her headset. At that point I felt like saying, “My name is Mrs. Mullet and clearly we are not on a safari.”

This time, though, was better. We sat at a table that was, for all intensive purposes, in the gift shop. Junior marveled at the animals and started coloring. He ate a big dinner. I drank a big beer. My mother didn’t hump anything. Life was good.

Or so I thought.

At 12:45 a.m. Junior woke up screaming. And when I say screaming I mean SCREAMING. Something tall and big was in his room and there was no way in hell he was going to sleep in there.

I brought him into bed with me and Chuck, but he wouldn’t sleep between us. He wanted to sleep on top of me. Again. All 35-pounds of him. It hurt my ribcage.

As soon as he’d fall asleep, I’d creep gingerly back to his room and put him into bed, but he’d wake up and start crying again.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Finally, I put him in bed and offered to sleep on his floor, which I did—holding his hand. It was 4:45 a.m. by the time I got back to bed. Fifteen minutes away from 5 a.m.

One thing is clear. The safari party of three won't be going back to the Rainforest Cafe until Junior is 21. The clothing options in 2029 better be a hell of a lot better.


Everyday Goddess said...

I could swear I saw that same outfit worn by a baby Olsen on a repeat episode of Full House.

Rainforest Cafe is a scary place. I think the Olsen's are major investors.

Pricilla said...

He waaaaaaaaasn't scared. Oh no.
He was PETRIFIED. Like that tree lady who kind of petrified me in the photo. I think if I saw here I would bring up my lunch.

rachel... said...

Yeah, that dress sucks. But the Cafe sounds awesome! Sorry Junior was scared but my kids would love it. We don't have anything cool around here...

Lisa said...

Geezus, no wonder you were drinking at an early(ish) hour.

Mine would have done the EXACT same thing. It's the old (hand them a toy) "I DON'T WANT THAT!" (take toy away) "I WANT THAT TOY!" trick. Jerks.

Still On The Verge said...

I went through this same hell with my first daughter. 3 daughters later and we still haven't gone back.


JD at I Do Things said...


I've only been to the Rainforest Cafe once in my entire life, and even I found it a bit overwhelming. Of course I'm talking about the gift shop, which I think we had to pass through on our way in and out.

And thank you for the nightmares. Tracy the Tree will be visiting me tonight, I'm pretty sure.

Um . . . can I sleep on your chest?

Frogs in my formula said...

You can sleep on my chest, but only if you buy me a pretty dress first.

Keely said...

That place is frightening for adults. I'm glad we don't have one here (yet).

I don't wear dresses so I'm safe.

Julia said...

I got the 5 am screaming wake up call this morning over a "VERY bad dream." but at least it was not ALL night long. . .

Fashion sucks my big left toe right now.

That's it. :)

Brandy said...

Oh my. I'll be sure and avoid all animal themed restraraunts. Fo sho. And I hate clothed. If I wasn't too fat - I'd be a nudist

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Okay, I am a math teacher and 5 months post-partum. And still, that dress looked ugly to me.

Doris Sturm said...

Never heard of it - but then, I live in the sticks - thanks to blogland I can be somewhat informed.
In 2029 the Rainforest Cafe will probably the ONLY place to see animals - or the rainforest for that matter.

Jenni said...

Why do they have to sleep on top of us? Why?

But, I can't say I blame him. Even I'm a little bit afraid of Tracy Tree.

Grand Pooba said...

I wouldn't know a thing about fashion if it hit me in the boob.

♥Georgie♥ said...

I gave up on fashion the day I had my first ass needs it's own zip code...just sayin...and victorias secret well...I could use her thongs as dental floss...LOL

I also gave up on taking my childrens out in public...but thats another story =)

Anonymous said...

Thx ur share........................................

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

Well, I know where I am NEVER taking my kid. EVER.

Small Town Mommy said...

It gets better as they get older. My girls used to scream at Rain Forest cafe. The younger one is still a little cautious about it, but the older one loves it.

FoN said...

I'm sorry you didn't find any clothes or get any sleep, but that was SUPER funny.

Jen said...

We've been through that exact same scenario with both my kids. And still every time we walk by that damn 'restaurant' they want to go there, even the big one. Luckily their drinks are really big and often they have bogo for the drinks.

Sara said...

I've never heard of the Rainforest Cafe. Wonder if we have one around. Good luck on the dress hunting!

Lidian said...

I took my oldest (she`s 16) shopping last year and in the mall there was a Rainforest Cafe - we both thought it looked WAY too noisy, even for older kids (esp. their Luddite, quiet-loving mother!) so many kudos to you! Especially for going back (been there, not at the Rainforest though, have blocked out where, but it really rang a bell) -

And that dress! Oy. What were they thinking!

Buggys said...

I've experienced the terror of the Rainforest Cafe with a 2 year old! Nothing quite like it. My kids loved it as teenagers though.

kyooty said...

It's happened, they are also trying to dress us like cows!!!

I've seen dresses!

The Kind Of Post — except the part where I don't "kind of" have 3 kids

I've been thinking about going back to work full-time instead of cobbling together my income with 7+ freelance jobs, part-time work...