There was a lot of faffage about where to eat lunch today. I had both of the boys with me and they had all sorts of fanciful ideas about what they wanted and where they wanted it. Jamie’s Italian was mooted at one point, as was the Horniman Museum cafe. I’ve been wanting to check out Rocca, as it’s a popular Friday night post-school dinner hang out, and I always like to do a recce before committing to plans with others and their kids, since what I can and can’t/ will and won’t eat can make such arrangements tricky. But bear in mind that both boys have been afflicted with off-colouredness this week (less vague in the case of my 3 year old, who threw up, spectacularly, no less than 3 times earlier in the week and has been off his food ever since.) I figured we should probably go home, but they, euphoric with the ‘treatiness’ of being together on a Friday, insisted on lunching out.
Eventually they expressed a desire for a lunch that I thought sounded feasible and I took us off to a place where I knew we’d get it. The Dish and The Spoon is one of our favourite cafes, and the only reason I’d not suggested it earlier was because I knew we were going to be there for a party on the weekend.
There are no words to describe how glad I am that we ended up in this sunny den of familiarity. Almost as soon as we sat down, my eldest son, already with a certain dullness in his usually bright eyes, started to look even more listless, leaning his head on the table and taking little interest in the food he’d been so excited about. I’m a major league scoffer, especially since my preferred form of Intermittent Fasting means that I rarely eat before 2 or 3pm, so I patted him soothingly on the knee while wolfing my salad (the cauliflower, in particular, was amazing – really simple and tasty) and hoped for the best.
“Shall we just take this home and have it later?” I asked, gesturing towards his still-full plate at the side of my all-but-licked-clean one. He nodded. And then – eugh, that noise, that gurgly choking noise, you know the one, whether you’re a parent or not! – he vomited. I grabbed the nearest thing – a completely useless flyer, as it turned out – and tried to contain it, but to no avail; in desperation, I resorted to my bare hands. Youngest son, still off his food despite the fact that he’d been so keen to eat out, was goggle-eyed; no hope of him eating now.
I turned to the people at the next table – thank goodness we eat late, so the lunchtime crowds had dispersed somewhat. “I’m so sorry this is happening as you eat,” I said, lamely.
Within minutes, the lovely owner of the cafe and her staff had clocked the situation and materialised by my side with rolls of paper towel and plastic bags. I was so mortified; they were so sweet. My son seems much better tonight. And I know these things happen, and it could’ve been worse and all the rest of it. And I’m sure that anyone in any of the other places we thought about today would’ve been kind and helpful in the same situation. But I’m so glad that, if it had to happen at all, it happened in a place where the owners know us by name and made us feel one hundred times better about it than we would have felt if we’d been somewhere unfamiliar or – even worse – stuffy and disapproving.
And – strike me down for my greed and selfishness – I’m glad it happened after I’d finished my sald. Seriously, that cauliflower was good.