Our good friend Carel took us all out to dinner last night at a new restaurant, the first Japanese restaurant on our side of town. "Kiku" is awesome, the food is great, the staff are wonderful, and you have the option of sitting either at the sushi bar or around one of several big hibachi grills. We're just starting to enjoy going out to Asian restaurants with Kittyboy, who although he likes tofu and vegetables, used to not be able to have rice. If he got anything by accident containing rice, he would be rolling on the floor screaming in pain 1-3 hours later (time dependent on how high rice was in the ingredient list). No Crispix, rice cereal, rice krispie treats (I had to intercept those on a regular basis during coffee hour), and do you know how many things contain rice flour? I went through our Asian grocery one day reading labels, and decided we just had to wait until he grew out of his rice intolerance, because ordering for him in any Asian restaurant would just be too much of a pain for everyone involved - us asking questions, staff asking, "who on earth could be allergic to rice??" and Kittyboy's little tummy later if we ordered wrong. Well, he can have rice now. We found that out by accident a few months ago - did you know every burrito at Taco Bell comes with rice in it? He was halfway through his burrito when I saw white grains. We figured, well, we'd been planning on testing that again someday, and that was the day! And he was fine. So we've been enjoying being able to go to our favorite restaurants again!
And Kiku is a new favorite now. We've learned that Kittyboy will eat salad with ginger dressing, and he liked miso soup, to my surprise - it's basically a broth with some garnish floating in it, it tastes wonderful but I didn't think he'd be interested in something so watery looking. He liked it a lot, though! I'll have to make it sometime! And he was watching intently as chefs were lighting things on fire at other tables, and we know he likes candles. We thought he was going to LOVE the clanging and fire and everything!
"Love" doesn't usually mean wailing, "All done! All done! All done! Mommy, ALL DONE!" while scrambling from the booster seat over to Mommy's lap and then trying to climb her to escape. My poor precious. The big FWOOSH and probably just as much the blast of heat did NOT go over well. He didn't cry, though - he was just All Done. I got him calmed down sitting on my lap, but he was looking very suspiciously at that grill - it might spontaneously erupt again, you never know! The chef got him to laugh finally when he was trying to get us to catch pieces of egg from the fried rice in our mouths - one man at our grill actually could catch it, but none of the rest of us could, and Kittyboy was quite amused at bits of egg bouncing off our faces. Then when the chef was done cooking, he lit a pyramid of onion rings on fire, like a little volcano (MUCH smaller than the first fire) and when Kittyboy started "All done! All done!" and scrambling again, he [the chef] tossed something on the onion, I think it was salt, that burned sparkly and in different colors. THAT was cool enough to distract him from his wish to escape.
We got great compliments on Kittyboy, though! The other diners had never seen a two-year-old who ate vegetables, shrimp and rice! (have they ever seen, I don't know, a Japanese two-year-old?) And Kittyboy ate his fried rice with great gusto. And with his fingers, but also with the spoon from his miso soup. We're going to the Asian market sometime for some of those spoons with the really deep bowls. And when the waiter brought us chopsticks, he also brought over a pair that someone had MacGuyvered into toddler chopsticks - a rubberband around the ends, a folded piece of paper in between, and a rubber band after that, so they were attached and springy. THAT was fun, trying to teach him how to use the Magical Picker-Upper Sticks. He would pick up a single grain with his fingers, and then try to make the chopsticks hold it. I think I'll get some "rookie sticks" and start handing them to him with silverware, just to let him figure them out on his own. I can remember learning, but can't remember not knowing how - I must have been three or four when I learned. With regular wooden chopsticks, that is - I don't think they made rookie sticks back then. They'll be a good start for Kittyboy, though.
We'll have to go back sometime! Maybe after we have some more words, at least enough to discuss "fire" and the fact that it's not going to spontaneously attack him!