Taking the Kids out to Eat (aka Why do I Continue to do this to Myself?)

One evening last week, the weather was nice (finally) and the wife had the seemingly excellent suggestion for the six of us to go out to eat and then go to the park afterwards. What was she thinking?!?

We went to a local sandwich place, which was an innocuous choice at first glance. It proved to be anything but that.

I could look past the kids climbing on chairs and tables and built-in furniture. Nothing new here. I could disregard them weaving in-and-out of line, standing with other families, and pulling chip bags down onto the floor. It happens all the time.

But, the real trouble started once we “sat” down at the table to eat. Clare, the baby of the family, will turn two in May. She discovered early on that in order to get mom’s and dad’s undivided attention, she needed to find ways to let her voice be heard. And, man, has she found her voice.

She yelled nonsense words at the top of her lungs and followed it up with maniacal laughter. Then, she would repeat over and over. The more we told her to stop, the louder she would yell. She wasn’t angry. She just wanted to be heard. Just ask the other customers.

The yelling started the moment I put Clare in the high chair until the wife delicately pulled her out of the restaurant just as the other customers were searching their bags for duct tape. The wife got to enjoy her dinner from the front seat of the minivan. Little did she know that she actually got the better end of the deal.

OK. It happens. She’s not even two yet. Having been through this three times before, I’m used to this sort of thing.

Then things got messy. My oldest son, Cam, had ordered a turkey sandwich and a milkshake. He decided that he didn’t like the bun, so he was just going to eat the turkey. No biggie.

That was until he realized that a few crumbs from the bun were sticking to the turkey. Then, he absolutely refused to take a single bite of the turkey. I told him to brush off the crumbs. His response? “No, dad, and I probably wouldn’t have liked the turkey anyway.”

So, Cam had a milkshake and chips for dinner. Remember all that stuff I told you about healthy eating? It all flies out the window when taking kids to a restaurant. As a parent, if you want to have any peace at all while you eat, the kids need to eat something they enjoy, just so they will leave you alone. The sad thing is that he really does like turkey (and the turkey was good), just not when accompanied by a few bread crumbs apparently.

When I say he had a milkshake, actually he only had about 1/4 of one. That’s because he decided that he needed to take the lid off his cup and stir it up because it “wasn’t warm enough.” Apparently, this meant that the ice cream was too thick to effectively suck through the straw. I didn’t catch him doing this until too late, when I felt something cold running down my legs. He had managed to dump almost the entire shake all over his and my pants. Admittedly, he took the worst of it, but he felt no remorse. He defended his decision to take off the lid to stir it up. I think everyone in the restaurant heard the palm of my hand smack my forehead. Then I had to try and wipe a full milkshake off Cam’s pants with napkins.

Not to be outdone, Grayson decided this would the perfect opportunity to roll around on the floor. He had finished eating, was bored, and thought it would be awesome to roll around on all the food scraps and the floor mat inside the door. This is when I began corresponding with the wife through Facebook and started sending the kids out to the van one at a time. Parenting at its finest.

Normally, I do not get embarrassed from my kids’ behavior in public. They are kids, after all. But, this night was a special kind of Hell. Every person in the place was looking right at us. My cheeks turned bright red. Remember how I said the wife got the better end of the deal by eating in the van? She did.

Just when I thought we were finally going to be able to escape, the kids starting coming back into the restaurant. I asked Alexis (almost nine) why. She told me that Cam had decided that he had to go to the bathroom. Of course he did and, of course, it wasn’t the easy kind. It never is with him.

So, I had to go hover by the bathroom door while I had Alexis go tell the employees about the spilled milkshake under the table. She gave me a “dad – for real?” look, but was a good sport about it, even though they didn’t believe her when she told them that her brother did it.

When we finally left, I swear I could hear the applause erupt after stepping outside the restaurant doors.

Now, it’s your turn. Any epic restaurant stories to tell about your kids? The more embarrassing, the better.

April 13 2014 058

Until next time – Chris

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One thought on “Taking the Kids out to Eat (aka Why do I Continue to do this to Myself?)

  1. Not epic embarrassing, but memorable. At a family dinner in a restaurant, my 1-year-old sitting in the high chair (he was notoriously bad at sitting in high chairs) started fussing, so I put some shredded cheddar cheese on his tray (he was infinitely fascinated by little bits of things he might pick up with his bitty fingers)…

    He turned quiet, I turned away to have a rare adult conversation, in which someone answered with a phrase that didn’t sound like baby talk.

    When I looked back he was sound asleep, face down in the cheese. When I picked him up, he had cheese squiggles stuck all over his face.

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