Jack is turning 9 in a few days and when asked where he wants to go for his special birthday dinner, he enthusiastically replied “Rainforest Café.” For my son, this is a major event in his young life because he’s using this as a way of showing us and himself that he is a big boy who is facing his fears. You see, we’ve never eaten at the Rainforest Café. We’ve gone into the restaurant and sat at the table and even held menus in our hands but we’ve never actually eaten there. The first time we attempted to go there Jack completely panicked and we all had to flee from the restaurant.
Our second dining attempt at the Rainforest Café happened last year when Jack decided he was ready to take on his fear. He was wrong. We didn’t even make it into the restaurant before he attached himself to me like Velcro and almost knocked me to the ground in the middle of the mall.
So here we are again at this crossroads for Jack. We’ve told him there’s no reason he has to go to the Rainforest Café and that there are plenty of other wonderful restaurants from which to choose. Jack, however, has decided that since this is also the year he will no longer need to use his booster seat in the car, he should start checking off his list of little boy fears and face them head-on.
Luckily, there are plenty of other restaurants in that mall should he find himself not yet ready to dine next to a stampede of mechanical elephants.