On Sunday morning when we have no other plans, the whole family goes to Sportscheck, which is a chic sports club. They have quality childcare, real horses to ride and pet and a good Italian family restaurant that we like a lot. German sports clubs are not as dramatically different from their American counterparts as grocery stores (see my Tengelmann posting) but they do have their differences. For example, the truly athletic wear all black, presumably so they’ll look like master race ninjas. Also you are expected to wipe down your machine when you’re finished with it - it is considered very poor taste to leave yout sweat on a machine. And in the locker rooms nakedness is not so much flaunted as celebrated, which violates my American puritan ethics. Anyway, except for the tacky naked cavorting going on in the locker rooms, Sportscheck is a classy establishment and Ralf and I like going there a lot.
So there we were in the restaurant, which was fairly crowded, and I have to say with all the love in the world that our beautiful kids were not looking their best. K has grown about 3 inches in the last month and her pants cuffs were practically up to her knees. Her hair, always a bit wild and not unlike candy floss, was all over the place and she had several large mosquito bites on her face. L was wearing a mismatched shirt and pants (after a very smelly and regrettable accident in the nursery) and a large pair of winter boots that forced her to goose step around without bending her knees. They immediately began jumping around and making noise, something that is frowned on in Germany in public eating establishments. Ralf, who had no trouble getting back in touch with his uptight German roots when it comes to brushed hair and matching clothes that fit properly, was trying to get the girls back into some semblance of order when L suddenly dropped trou and squatted in the middle of the restaurant.
I’m afraid that my first reaction was to burst out laughing. You have to understand that this sort of thing had never happened to us before so my response was neither practiced nor appropriate. K was in a diaper well into her threes and even L always seemed to understand the basic principles of keeping your pants on. And yet, there she was, squatting on the floor of our favorite family restaurant with a purposeful look on her face. It took me a couple of seconds to process the situation and stop shrieking with mirth, but when it sunk what was about to happen in I moved fast and somehow managed to avoid disaster. Picture a nice restaurant in, say, Walnut Creek and the same thing happening to a seedy-looking, sweaty German family, and the German mom scooping up her kid like a football and running off with her while babbling in German, and you’ll get the idea of what all this probably looked like to the other Germans in the restaurant.
You’ll be happy to know that L kept the lid on while we ran downstairs to the bathroom and seemed only mildly put out by the interruption.