Scarred for life: Rainforest Cafe

If the first of what will inevitably be a long series of articles, herein goes the story of an affliction to which Maddie’s parents unwittingly subjected her.

Maddie’s got uncontrollably wavey hair.  It’s cute, but we get jealous of other babies that have comb-able hair.  Las Vegas managed to do what no amount of baby hair care could:  it straightened Maddie’s hair.  But when we returned to the Bay Area, Maddie’s hair returned to its usual wavey anarchy within a couple of hours.  Oh, well.

We just got back from a long weekend in Las Vegas.  A good time was had by all, with one minor exception.  We may have done a little irreparable damage to our child.

On our way through the MGM Grand hotel, we noticed the Rainforest Cafe, and thought that that would make a nice place to lunch.  Parents of babies take note: After getting on the list and waiting for half an hour, and the hostess calls your name, it’s not for seating.  It’s so you can wait in line for seating.  Ugh.  So, Maddie’s nap would be a little delayed.

We get seated, and are immediately taken by the atmosphere.  The cafe is dimly lit, with a little LED milky way overhead complete with shooting stars.  And our table is distantly surrounded by realistic animatronic figures partially hidden in a simulated forest canopy.  There are two elephants, some monkeys, a talking tree, and two leopards.

Maddie, in her high chair, seemed struck by the surroundings too.  But she never really took her eyes off one of the leopards.  She even pointed it out and gave us a concerned, “Ooo.”  We acknowledged the cat, and said “Yes, Maddie.  It’s a cat.  Can you say, ‘cat?'”  Maddie didn’t seem interested in lessons.  The leopard would occasionally wag its tail or rotate its head, the way animatronic critters are prone to do.  There was lots to watch, and it made passing the time easier.

Then, out of nowhere, Maddie freaked.  She just went nuts and lunged for her mother, who was sitting at her side.  She clawed at her mother’s blouse, almost ripping it off, as she tried to claw her way up and out of the high chair.  Maddie was crying and her little legs were pumping and her arms were flailing and her head was buried in her mom’s shoulder.

We didn’t actually see what the leopard did, but it must have given Maddie that “I’m going to tear you apart, limb from bloody limb” look.

This, of course, was well before the food even came.  Suffice it to say that the tempo for the meal had been set.

Who We Were Then
  • David
  • Lillian
  • Maddie (1 years old)