Monday, April 24, 2006

Goofy Falls Off the Cool Wagon

I pride myself on being Fairly Cool Mom. I avoid-like-the-plague the 'traditional' kiddie institutions, like Chuck E. Cheese, McDonald's, etc. You know, those bastions of bad food, sugary drinks, too much stimulation and rape-and-pillage prices.

But I fell off the wagon tonight. Well, let's be honest husband grabbed me by the shirt collar and PULLED me off the cool wagon. We went to the Rainforest Cafe tonight.

This place used to be cool. I remember going to the one at the Mall of America in Minneapolis about eight years ago. We had to wait about 30 minutes to get a table. The atmosphere was indeed rainforest-like...dark...fake thunder/lightning...rain...moving animotronic animals..lots of 'wild' sounds. It was kitzchy, and the food was bad, but overall it was different and fun.

So fast-forward to today. Goofy Junior (aka The Boy Who Is Potty Training Himself) decided that he didn't want to wear a diaper today and told his daycare teacher such. Since he already had underwear on over his diaper, she took off the diaper and he went 'commando' for the morning. He actually made it until 11:30am before an "oops". Anyway, we applauded his efforts and decided to take him someplace fun for dinner.

Here's how it happened...

Me: So what is "fun for dinner" for a toddler?
Loving Hubbie(aka Wagon Jacker): Anyplace with balloons and games.
Me: Like where? (getting worried now)
Me: NEVER. Try again.
LH: How about Rainforest Cafe?
Me: (comparing the two and deciding at least I can get an adult bev at RFC) Um....okay.

Did you hear the YANK? Yep. That's the precise moment I fell was pulled off the Cool Wagon.

When we got there, the place was empty. Granted it's a Monday, but it was pretty obviously not the coolest place to be. I decided against the adult bev, as it came in a lighted, blinking glass. We took turns touring Junior past the animatronic, twitching elephants ("They're BIG Mommy!"), the hooting and jerking-like-bad-break-dancer gorillas ("I don't like them...they're LOUD!") and the giant fish tank ("NEMO!!! NEMO AGAIN!! TWO NEMOS!!!").

At least he was digging it.

Our waitress came several times as we went over the menu, stunned by the high prices for over-rated bar food with "rainforesty" names (Volcanic Cobb Salad, Rumble in the Jungle Turkey Wrap). We settled on a mixed appetizer platter to split. Junior got popcorn shrimp. As I remembered, the food was mediocre at best...although the popcorn shrimp were mightly tasty.

As we ate, we noticed that approximately every 10 minutes, the gang of servers would come out with a ginormous cake/ice cream dessert in the shape of a volcano, and sing Happy Birthday to another table. Junior dug this, and clapped after each song. I started suspecting that this was the main reason that even the small amount of patrons had come here. Free dessert, folks. It's a great marketing tool!

But even though I'm off the wagon, and still dusting myself off, there was a Proud Momma moment. During dinner, we mentioned to the waitress that it was Junior's first time at RFC. She looked surprised and said, "Wow! I wouldn't have known. He's not crying. What a big boy!"

I don't know who beamed or Junior. Maybe being a Fairly Cool Mom That Sometimes Falls Off the Wagon is not so bad, indeed.


Cagey said...

Too funny!
I am surprised at Mr. Goofy - usually, he is pretty cool. What gives? I can't believe he even muttered the CEC word. That makes me very sad.

Anonymous said...

In defense of Mr. Goofy, who I understand is VERY Cool and is known to dress very well and be seen at some of KC's grooviest joints...but I digress...shared with me the thought that a big part of parenting is letting the young mind begin to form their own opionion on what is cool and what is not. To this end, as I understand from talking to Mr Goofy, his intent was to allow Goofy Jr. to experience the uncool in order to begin to understand the difference. It is obvious by the way that Goofy Girl attempts to dress Goofy Jr. that she is trying to teach him the same lesson.