Herald reader Tracy Turney sent me an email about a waitress at a Bothell cafe who works the tables with a baby boy on her back.
“Little Syd has a fan club that grows by the week,” Turney wrote about the toted tot. “They’re an adorable couple. Come see them at Jantee Bistro &Bottle.”
I went to the bistro in Country Village to find out what was up with that.
I found former software engineer Sara Thibadeau, 39, bustling about with 13-month-old Syd in the saddle.
As she puts it: “I wear him to work.”
While she serves, he works the room from the back carrier.
“I sometimes forget he is there, especially if he’s asleep,” she said. “Unless he’s snoring.”
She often doesn’t actually see him until the end of the shift.
Others can’t take their eyes off of him.
“We look forward to being served by Syd when we come in,” said regular Kathi Ryan, of Edmonds, as she had breakfast with friends.
First-timers are in for a surprise.
“When they walk in, they don’t even notice,” Thibadeau said. “When I turn around to seat them they are, ‘Oh, my God, there’s someone on your back.’?”
It’s not her first stint at waitressing, but it’s different this time around.
“I always joke when I waited tables in my 20s I’d wear a short skirt to earn tips. Now I’m almost 40 and I wear a baby,” she said.
The tips are good when she wears Syd.
“People will say, ‘This tip is for Syd for his college fund’ and give me a few bucks extra,” she said.
“He’s just a happy guy. I need a break before he does.”
After all, he weighs about 20 pounds.
Syd was born five weeks premature, so she started “wearing him” to provide additional mommy contact to make up for his early arrival.
She decided not to return to her job at Microsoft in Redmond. Her husband, Dan, is the technical art director at Monolith Productions in Kirkland.
Now, every day is take-your-baby-to-work day.
“People say ‘Are you a stay-at-home mom or do you work?’” she said. “I don’t know how to answer that question.”
Her mom, Janis Stave, and a friend, Tina Holden, opened the bistro in July 2014 in the space that was Country Cafe for more than 30 years. It has 15 tables, a bar, patio seating for 50 and a lunch menu that includes roasted beet salad, portobello wrap and meatloaf melt.
The bistro is where Syd took his first step and learned to like Brussel sprouts.
“He loves the dishwasher,” Syd’s grandma said. “A couple weeks ago I taught him how to turn on the mixer. Then he discovered the big Hobart mixer and, boy, he got excited when he saw that.”
Customers gave Syd toys, books and stuffed animals at Christmas this year.
Country Village’s festive holiday setting brought in more business. “Santa brings more customers who don’t normally come,” Thibadeau said.
But the new year came with bad news.
Jantee Bistro &Bottle is closing for good at 4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.*
It will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily until then.
It’s not the only change for the quirky shopping village on Bothell Everett Highway with a giant rooster landmark and live chickens running around. Iron Horse Railway’s pony and train rides that have been a fixture since 2003 are ending this week, too, due to increased property values.
Thibadeau said her mom plans to keep on cooking. “She is going to do catering.”
As for Sara and Syd?
They’ll land somewhere together.
“We’re a package deal,” she said.
— Andrea Brown (@reporterbrown) December 29, 2015
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