Have you ever tried to take a newborn on vacation? Well from my experience, it goes a little something like this:
After nearly a month of sitting on the couch in the same pajamas doing nothing but breast feeding and watching “Doctors” on the BBC, your husband takes one look at you and decides that maybe it might be good to take a shower and get out of the house. And since you are completely delirious from the 32 minutes of sleep you’ve gotten all week, you say what the hell! Let’s drive 2 hours to Brussels and drink some beer!
Because that’s what responsible parents do, or at least those who want to prove to the world that life does not end when a baby arrives: They spend 3 hours packing up what seems like all of their worldly possessions and hop in the car to spend one night away. I mean, really – if I’m not going to be sleeping, I’d rather not be sleeping in a cool city, not resting comfortably in a swank hotel.
So we made it to Brussels without any major catastrophes, and le bébé was a peach right until we pulled into the hotel. That’s when she started screaming bloody murder in the lobby as we frantically tried to check in. But we got to our room and fed her, and other than a few wide eyed stares in the hallway that I’m pretty sure said “dear god I hope their room is far, far away from ours,” we were good to go.
Freshly changed and ready to tackle the world, we loaded up the Bjorn and went in search of our first gauffre liégoise. If you haven’t experienced the wonder that is a liégoise waffle before, let me explain: this is no regular Belgian waffle. It’s born from a yeasty ball of dough that’s full of pearl sugar, yielding an irregular shaped, crisply caramelized exterior and brioche-like buttery interior. A good one doesn’t need any accompaniments to be absolutely spectacular.
But I digress. Bébé in tow, we ate waffles, went to the Magritte museum, and even stumbled upon a Belgian Beer festival. Which was a bit too rowdy for someone carrying an infant on their person, but inspiring enough to make us seek out a place to get one nice tall glass of Delirium Tremens.
The Delirium Cafe seemed like an apt choice, and as we descended into the cavernous space we weren’t disappointed. Covered from floor to ceiling in old drink trays and filled with big beer barrel tables, the place was perfectly grungy and cozy and fairly busy for a Sunday afternoon.
Husband sat with le bébé while I ordered up a couple of cold ones. Which means I got 30 seconds of time to myself AND a beer – things simply couldn’t get any better. I returned to the table feeling almost like a human being again, and a fairly cool one at that. We clinked glasses and took a first, delicious sip.
“This is the kind of place we would have stayed at all night, pre-baby!” I yelled.
“Yeah! It’s pretty awesome!” shouted Husband.
“I said, IT’S PRETTY AWESOME!”
“Oh. Yeah! It is!”
We sipped in silence for a moment, fighting the urge to ask each other about the status of le bébé’s diaper. Somewhere someone turned up the music, just as a big group from the beer festival tumbled in. And before I could even control what was coming out of my mouth, I looked at Husband and said,
“I feel like this is bad for the baby’s ears. I wonder if we could ask them to turn down the music?”
I wish you could have seen the look on Husband’s face. It was a look that said sure honey, go ask the bartender to turn down the music. FOR YOUR BABY. IN A BAR.
We nearly fell out of our chairs laughing, finished our beers and got the hell out of there. And I spent the rest of the evening wondering which made me more of a parental loser: coming this close to asking everyone in the bar to keep it down, or taking my child to the bar in the first place.
But before you decide and call child services, let me say that there was another family there with a 6 year old. And they ordered her a Duvel. So I’m doing something right, no?
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perdant(e) (pair-dahnt) – loser. Lah-hoo sah-her. As in,
“I’ve turned into a total perdante. Might as well order me up some mom jeans.”