I remember once, years ago, going out to dinner and being appalled by a loud toddler. I asked my mom why that kid’s mom wasn’t keeping him quiet. She smiled, and said, “You wait, my dear.” Actually, that was her comment to a lot of my questions.
And here I am, several years later, two kids smarter, and a lot more reluctant to go out to dinner. Don’t get me wrong, we still go out. It’s part of our lifestyle. We’ve always been of the mind that if our children get used to the experience of dining out and appropriate dinner table behavior at a young age, they will be well behaved in social settings in general.
Perhaps we were setting our expectations too high. Last night we dined out with my in laws. Being the grandparents of my lovely offspring, they kind of have to love my children, thank GOD. The other patrons, however, had no such ties. And, for once, Harrison and Ella were on the same page. That page must have read, “Let’s see how obnoxious we can be!”
It probably wasn’t Ella’s fault that the table top was glass. Therefore, when she banged her spoon on it in rapid succession, of COURSE it was going to make a loud noise. But, you know I’m a responsible parent, so I snatched that spoon right away once she started getting the attention of people seven tables away. My child must believe she was in the middle of composing a masterpiece, because her deafening screeches as a response to me repossessing the spoon were unbearable. I thought quickly and gave her some bread to pacify my poor princess. She threw said bread into her Rara’s purse, one small piece at a time.
I remembered that there were some toys in my diaper bag, so I grabbed a few and tried to entice her with them. That little tease looked me right in the eye while taking the toys and immediately threw them on the floor-four feet away from the table. I forgot to mention that I was cornered in the booth and blocked by her high chair so I had to perform an act that most gymnasts would admire to get out of there and retrieve them.
Once Ella got bored with the present company, she turned around in her seat and sang “hello” to all dining patrons, servers, and bussers, waving as though she were the queen.
Harrison couldn’t have possibly let this nonsense go on any longer. The thought of another child being more publicly obnoxious than him was abhorrent. He’s currently on somewhat of a hunger strike, and eats ONLY fruit snacks and graham crackers. This is why we were surprised when he took the entire loaf of bread and bit into the center of it, carefully chewing, and then placed the remains back on the cutting board in the center of the table. Bread anyone?
He also decided this would be the day he drank out of a “big boy” cup. Let’s keep this part short and just tell you that I used four napkins to fix that situation.
All that drinking made for several trips to the bathroom. On one such occasion, the ladies’ room was occupied, but you don’t mess around when a toddler needs to pee, so yours truly went into the men’s room. And because it was that kind of night, the hostess and a gentleman patron were standing outside the door to greet us as we exited. I did the walk of shame back to our table as Harrison pranced through the restaurant, free from bladder fullness.
My child wishes and hopes for his daddy all day long, but insisted at a very high volume that he must sit beside Mommy at dinner. I noted that this was odd, because we spend everysinglesecond together throughout the day. Doesn’t he want a break from me? A little space, perhaps? No. As a matter of fact, we had to hold hands once my meal came. This happened, of course, right at the moment that Ella thought she had been in her high chair too long, thus, she came to sit in my lap.
That haddock looked so good. I wonder how it tasted.
My father in law started feeding the kids cherries directly out of his manhattans. I suggested maybe he shouldn’t rinse them off before he doled them out, but he was afraid of the after-effects. I was just hoping a little bourbon might take the edge off. In other words, I was hoping he’d feed me some cherries. Or bourbon. I could have used some bourbon.
SInce I don’t drink bourbon, I probably won’t be going out to dinner with the kids again any time soon.