Monday, April 6, 2009
I am not of the opinion that small children should be excused from their roles of hosting adult entertainments. As a matter of fact, one of the things I most look forward to in my adult life is teaching my 6 ½ year old Ethan how to mix a very, very dry Martini. When my squeamish friends try to chide me for my interest in my son Ethan’s spiritual education (I refer here not to his belief in God or Jesus, but rather his ability to differentiate good ‘spirits’ such as Vox, Grey Goose, or Belvedere vodka from undrinkable brands such as Absolut, Stolichnaya or God forbid, Smirnoff) I am completely nonplussed. Ethan has proven to be a rather quick study, and I am supremely confident that by my son’s 7th birthday he will assume his rightful position behind the wet bar in our library. Now, I know what many of you are thinking, and I completely understand your concern. You also worry that at your next cocktail party, your youngster will mistake a guest’s request for a Manhattan and to your dismay serve a Rob Roy. Of course, I’m kept up at night by this same worry, but I am comforted by the heaps of money I’ll save by using our underage, ‘in-house’ bartender as opposed to the gorgeous young actors I usually favor for such pursuits.
Our son’s affinity for entertaining began at the tender age of 2 weeks. Having recently come home from the hospital with our infant son and been completely unprepared for the nightmare of sleeplessness, anguish, and terror brought about by our complete inadequacy as parents, George and I were delighted to receive an invitation to an intimate dinner party hosted by our good friend Lori London, the renowned Los Angeles bridal designer. Lori’s deceptively simple, elegant designs for veils, clips, and bridal accoutrement are snapped up by bouffanted brides whose ruthless zeal for the perfect veil or headband sometimes leads to bloody fisticuffs at many of Lori’s trademark trunk shows. Lori, a woman of impeccable tastes is sweetly indulgent of my desire to model every glittery, rhinestone-encrusted headband, veil, and tiara in her collection. She’s often had to pry her sparkling designs from my greedy fingers as I whine, “But I look so pretty!”
On the night of Lori’s dinner party, I’d had the pleasure of being shit, pissed and vomited on by my new son all within the space of 30 seconds. With baby spew still sticking to my expensive Burberry coat, George, Baby Ethan and I arrive at Lori’s well-appointed home exhausted, hungry and desperately in need of a cocktail. In anticipation of our visit, Lori’s dutiful and understanding husband Adam has mercifully prepared a batch of industrial strength Martinis for us. As we literally and figuratively drink in the plush atmosphere of Lori’s home, our eyes come to rest on the dining room table which is set with a beautiful assortment of antique dishes, glasses and glittering flatware. In the center of the table sits a bowl of freshly cut pink roses that sparkle with tiny diamonds of dew. Without a moment’s hesitation, Lori takes our colicky son into her arms and to our surprise his incessant shrieking suddenly stops. As she rocks him and hums a soothing lullaby, our son happily babbles to himself and then inexplicably passes out. George and I gawk first at each other and then at Lori who despite holding a massive Martini in one hand and our infant son in the other, is still able to expertly finesse the hors devours that seem to appear out of thin air.
As the evening progresses, George and I realize that we have not brought anything for our suddenly comatose son to sleep in. Stupidly, we hadn’t brought the hateful ‘pack-and-play,’ stroller, or car seat and began to panic that we might have to leave for home prematurely so that our son could get some much needed sleep. Unperturbed, our hostess rises silently from the sofa and disappears for a moment. She suddenly reappears with a large, porcelain soup tureen. She motions for Adam to remove the floral centerpiece and places the tureen in the center of the table! She lines the tureen ‘cradle’ with a Cashmere shawl that she happens to have ‘laying about.’ She places our son in the tureen, where he remains for the rest of the evening completely motionless. The food, the candles, and company are glorious, but nothing can compare to the magnificence of my son’s death-like sleep, which has never been equaled no matter how much children’s Benadryl I’ve ladled into his gaping mouth.
Our magical evening ends far too quickly and as we bid adieu to our generous hosts, we tenderly remove the human ‘centerpiece’ from its’ resting place. As we drunkenly stumble up our street, George and I glance longingly over our shoulders at Lori and Adam who in the fading twilight are arm-in-arm and waving at us as though they haven’t a care in the world. If I hadn't loved them so much, in my jealousy I would have gladly had their legs broken.
(In memory of the incomparable Lori London R.I.P – 4/4/09)