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The first time I saw a cockroach at one of my fave kid-friendly restaurants in the West Village, I thought: No problem. What New York City restaurant doesn’t have a cockroach now and then?

So I kept eating there.

Then, one day at this very same establishment, I saw a mouse.

Now, this gave me some serious pause. Mice really skeeve me out. And the waiter didn’t even give us a mouse-in-the-house discount or a free dessert (one mouse = one molten lava chocolate cake) which kind of pissed me off. So I didn’t go back for months.

But they have very yummy mouse fish tacos.

Plus high chairs.

And lots of room at lunch time (although maybe the mouse situation has something to do with that).

And a great kid’s menu with more choices than the incredibly predictable chicken fingers and grilled cheese.

And I mentioned the fish tacos – right?

So finally… I returned.

And gosh damn it, I saw another cockroach in the women’s room. And then my husband (along with our shrieking daughter) saw another in the men’s room. I mean, how many live animals do you have to see at a restaurant before you call it quits?

For me: 3 cockroaches and 1 mouse. I’m done.

But I still think about the glory days at this place because I walk by it all the time on the way to my daughter’s preschool. Or should I say, I RUN by it on my way to preschool.

Am I the only one that is always running a few minutes late for school pick-up?

If I only could leave 5 tiny, little minutes earlier, I could casually stroll on over there. But instead, I’m pushing 15 month-old Summer in the stroller, like a crazy-fish-taco-deprived-mama-from-hell – desperately trying to get there for the 11:50 am pick-up.

When I’m about a block from the school, I can see this huge clock tower. The time on that clock momentarily determines my worth as a parent.

11:45 – I am an awesome mom! I just know I’ll be the first mom there. I wonder if they’ll elect me “Best Mom of the Day” when I get there. How could they not? They really should.

11:50 – Oh crap. I’m going to be a minute or so late. Totally mediocre mom but maybe Dylan won’t notice. Hi, I’m average mom.

11:55 – Worst mama on the planet. Guilt. Guilt. Guilt.

But then something came in the mail recently, that made me feel just a tinge better.

I just got a Christmas card from some family friends.


Postmarked March 24th. Yeah, that’s right. How bold is that?

These sweet folks are really really running late.

And now “5 minutes late” doesn’t seem so late at all.

30 Responses to city tales

  • I know this is odd, but as a Wisconsonite who has never even seen a cockroach, I have never understood why people freak out so much about them. Are they any worse than any other bug? I'd worry more about the mice…..yuck!

  • Mama Bird, you are the segue (sp??) queen! Love your writing!

    I appreciate you showing us that little card because maybe this means it's not too late to send out my 7 month old's birth announcements…?? Talk about guilt guilt guilt!!

  • Jennifer H says:

    You should keep that Christmas card in the side pocket of the stroller. Then, when you're 5 minutes late, you can wave it around as proof that you're doing all right.

    My favorite Chinese restaurant just closed because of health code violations. I refuse to think about it for very long.

  • Jacki says:

    Ha! That family is a family after my own heart. Perhaps they had lost yours, found it suddenly, and said crap! We need to send it anyway.

    We stopped going to one Chinese restaurant here in town after my sister found mice fur in her rice. We nicknamed it Chicken Fried Mice.

  • Bitsy Cazel says:

    Kind of reminds me of the time we were finishing a meal in a suspiciously empty restaurant when my son (about 4 at the time) asked if he could go see the "squirrel" over there in the corner. As we hurried out and were getting in the car he confided, "Actually, it was a rat". AHHHHH!!!!!!

  • wa says:

    If that restaurant had more marketing saavy, they'd advertise themselves as an "Authentic NYC Experience!" for all of the suburban tourists who don't have such exotic creatures running around their cafes.

    See, dinner AND a show!

  • sam says:

    i know which restaurant you're talking about kelc, and i too love it!! recently you and i had one of the most civilized kid lunches in the history of kid lunches there! am i a bad mum if i keep going?? good kid restaurants are hard to find!

  • Mad Madge says:

    when i was five my mom dropped me off at kindergarten on a day WHEN THERE WAS NO SCHOOL. in january. in minnesota. it was cold. the janitor wouldn't let me in. i was out there for like an hour before my mom figured out there wasn't school.

    so i think you are doing ok in the mom department. you really are.

  • Rhea says:

    Wow, that's a late xmas card. I would have called it a Happy Easter or Welcome to Spring, card! lol

    3 roaches and 1 mouse would be it for me too. sheesh!!

  • Memarie Lane says:

    A friend of mine is always so late with everything that she started sending "New Year's" cards instead of Christmas cards. Now she doesn't bother with those either.

  • GHD says:

    We have friends that do the New Year's Card too, but even that has started being sent later and later, but a Christmas card in March. That's bold, indeed!

    And your hardly a bad mom for 5 minutes πŸ™‚

  • Tina says:

    Hello-My husband's aunt JUST said she got our Christmas card in the mail this week. I SWEAR we sent it out in December….seriously….Too funny that you wrote about that….

  • nap warden says:

    Wow, maybe I'll send out my Xmas cards, get a jump on that. My favorite little hole in the wall gave a friend and I food poisoning, it killed me to give up that place! Best enchiladas in the city…I just can't go back:(

  • izzy's mama says:

    Many years ago, I had to give up a favorite cupcake spot in the village..while we were eating there my husband watched as many mice scurried under the tables and around the mixing bowls. He said that if they were bold enough to cavort underfoot in broad daylight, imagine what was going on in there at night. I must confess that I didn't give the place up entirely but have only returned on a rare occasion.

  • Cat says:

    I'm with Kerry, do tell!

    Not the downstairs place on Christopher st. that used to sell the best waffles in the world?

    I used to live on 15th between 5th & 6th.

  • Milena says:

    Still laughing about the late Christmas card. You have to hand it to them, their sending it is either a sign of exteme panache or Mr. Magoo fogginess. As to the eatery, Kelcey dear, whatever were you thinking still dreaming about those fish tacos. Did you never wonder what might be chopped up in there with the fish? I know, I know, terrible of me to point this out but I hope you'll never, ever veer again towards this unsanitary place. I'd be just like Dylan, screaming my lungs out at the first roachy sighting. P.S. I'm always late to pick up my kid at school too. Those five minutes make up all the difference in the world.

  • Erin says:

    I waved at you while flying into NYC yesterday. Did you see me? I was the frantic mom running though the airport kid in tow with clothes dirty enough to stand on their own and I swear she has a cute face under all those boogers and grime! πŸ™‚

  • Valerie says:

    When we had lunch together with your girls when I was in NY in Sept. we ate near your house at a place with yummy fish tacos — was that the same place?? Yikes, but they were good! And I did not send out ANY holiday cards this year, so your friends are ahead of me. I'm thinking of sending out "Cinco de Mayo" cards — is that inappropriate for young children? And finally, I have to pick up my kids from school at 5:30, and I am always flying down the sidewalk to my parking garage and driving like a maniac through town to be there on time. I am the 5:29 Mom nearly every day.

  • Susan says:

    If I were a roach I would want to know, why you stay inside and I have to go.

    If I were a mouse all comfy and warm, I would prefer I stay in and you go out in the storm. If I were an ant and filled with good cheer, I would wonder why there's no "Ant Day" each yearl

    But alas we know two-leggeds have power, so we're changing our digs to the Eiffel Tower.

    From there we'll continue to promote peace and green, treating each other kindly and working as a team.

  • Allison T. says:

    Not that you need this kind of back up, but I, too, can be seen running to day care. In heels. With a laptop backpack. Down Greek row. Because nothin' says "hot mama" like a sweaty, late, guilty-feeling, Easy Spirit-runnin' gal hoofing it by the cute co-eds on a college campus. Oh yeah, the frat boys are checking me out.

    Since I also have a thing for fish tacos (and have visited all 3 Dos Caminos to eat them), I have to say that I thought Miracle Grill had ceased to exist? Are you telling me that i can still get a blood orange margarita?? Granted, I now know I'll have to share it with a roach, but hey, it's New York. Maybe he'll cover the tip.

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kelcey kintner