Captain Pansydaughter

We’re at a hibachi restaurant. You know the kind–the samurai chef performs at a table of conjoined strangers. One of these strangers asks if we wouldn’t mind forgoing the famous flame because his 6yrold is scared of it. 

I say, ‘Your daughter’s a pansy I’m sorry, but our daughter has been looking forward to this for weeks. It’s all she talks about.’

He says, ‘F*ck you, you coldhearted c*nt, you just ruined my weekend with the kid Oh, no problem. We’ll just take a walk.’

We exchange death telepathy and rejoin the goings on of our own respective families. Lucy is engaged in a Frozen singalong with her miso soup, Jack has discovered broccoli, and Rich is pretending that he’s seated too far away to thwart an impending food fight. I resign myself to a night of disaster avoidance, at romance’s best.

The show is over and–to my horror–there is no finale flame. Just the sad, anticlimactic toot toot of an onion volcano. So I’m like,

‘What the eff, sensei? Where’s the fire?’

‘Somebody sued the restaurant, miss. We do fire, we get fired! Ha ha ha.’

Ha ha ha, indeed. For weeks I’ve been telling Mila that hibachi restaurants are only open on Sundays. She’s going to give me hell.

So I prep my oh-baby-I’m-so-sorry-but-the-japanese-are-a-cruel-people face. But she hasn’t been paying attention. She’s holding a shrimp in the air in front of her face.

‘Mommy,’ she says after a moment of me staring at her. ‘Is this…real?’

Uh oh. ‘What do you mean?’

‘Was this a real guy?’ She applies a gentle stroke to the blackening spice.

‘You mean, was that alive once?’

She nods. So do I. Solemnly.

‘Ohhhh. Poor little shrimp. Why do we eat shrimp?’

‘Well–‘ but I’m saved by the bell. Lucy has been reciting her one-hundred-mommys and she is now at the end. I turn to receive tonight’s brilliance.

‘Mommy, I think maybe fuckit is a bad word.’

I don’t want to see the smug look on Captain Pansydaughter’s face, because I will punch him and have to spend the night in jail. Instead I say,

‘Yes, Lucy. That is a very bad word. Where did you learn that word.’

‘My teacher taught me.’

Future teenagers of Boca: please be warned of the indelicacy of Lucy’s friendship. She once told her entire school that a knee-scrape was the result of Daddy Richie stabbing her with a kitchen knife.

Please help me tackle this parental steppingstone. What the f*ck do I say to Mila? Yes baby, we employ inhumane butchering methods on farm animals but it’s ok because try it with ketchup isn’t that yummy? I don’t know how to be diplomatic about this. Let’s PG that and say only, yes baby–we eat animals. I mean…what? How didn’t I anticipate this discomfort?

Please help me.