Some occasions just beg for the telling of the same story over and over again. In our house, New Year's Eve is one of them. Amazingly, I've never told this one here so tonight I thought I'd share.
We have a grocery store near our house that used to have a lobster tank. Every time we went to the store with Robbie there was a certain routine we had to follow. First, a stop at the bakery for the free cookie. Then off to the seafood/meat department to see the lobsters.
Our crustaceanic visit was never long. Just a minute or two to see which lobster was moving that day (not always guaranteed) or which was the biggest. But there was no setting foot into that store without making an appearance at the lobster tank.
So one year when Robbie was about three years old, New Year's Eve rolled around and Mike and I were trying to think of festive ways to celebrate the occasion at home. We decided it would be fun to have lobster for dinner (and fish sticks for the kids). We couldn't wait to tell Robbie that we were going to pick out a lobster.
The morning of New Year's Eve, we told Robbie we were going to the store to pick out a lobster and asked if he wanted to help. Well, of course he did! So we went to the store, made the obligatory stop at the bakery, and headed to the lobster tank.
We picked out our lobster and asked the guy behind the tank to cook it for us so we could pick it up at dinner time. For the record, that's the only way I'd ever serve lobster in my house -- pre-cooked.
Later that evening, Mike went back to the store to pick up the lobster and bring it home. We put it on a white platter, where it's now-bright red shell stood out. Robbie was so excited. He picked it up and looked at it up close before putting the lobster back on the platter.
About 10 minutes of final dinner prep went by and we sat down to eat. Mike was the first to start in on the lobster, taking a large claw in his grasp and ripping it off the rest of the body.
This was the point at which the screaming of bloody murder started. It wasn't the lobster, who was sufficiently dead and cooked. Instead, the screaming came from Robbie. We tried to assure him it was ok as I took my turn to messily remove another claw, which led to more tortured screaming.
Eventually, Robbie became so inconsolable that I had to take him to his bedroom. It wasn't until the kitchen was quiet again that we figured out what had upset Robbie so badly. Poor kid thought we were bringing home a lobster to be a pet. And then we proceeded to tear it from limb to limb!
And the story has become a New Year's Eve classic, told every year at least once, sometimes more often. Oh, and we've never brought another lobster home again.