Monday, August 25, 2014

Diner's Club Disclaimer

After two months of living on only our first floor, our basement is nearly finished.  The boys are back in their rooms, Adler's nursery is almost complete, and my sense of claustrophobia seems to be receding.  The boys are enjoying the toys they'd been missing, and I've enjoyed the return of my personal space, or at least as much as a mother of three young kids can hope to have.

Thankfully, we weren't at each others' throats as much as I would have expected, but I credit that to my restlessness that lead us to venture into town nearly every day for errands, a grocery run or just a meal out.  But as I sat at a restaurant last night and plugged my ears as a nearby child screamed every few seconds for over an hour, I thought about how dining out isn't always the luxury it is intended to be.

How do your kids behave in a restaurant?  We eat out a lot, so we have worked very hard to perfect our boys' dining etiquette.  First we choose a restaurant in the car after 10-15 minutes of "I don't care, you pick" while Cael screams "McDonalds!" in the background and Graham makes his plea for Granite City, Olive Garden, or any other option where he can get a meal that will cost more than I have in my checking account.  Once we've decided, we spend the remaining part of the drive promising Cael that we will surely, definitely go to McDonalds sometime soon despite the fact that I upchucked mcnuggets when I was twelve and have no intention of returning in this lifetime. 

At the restaurant, Graham will wait until we have been seated and begun looking at the menu to announce that he has to pee so badly that he will, without a doubt, wet himself if he can't go to the bathroom immediately.  I take him, because he's too little to go alone and sending him with Cael into a public restroom is like letting two orangutans loose in an antique store.

Once we have ordered, Cael will discover that whatever place we have chosen either: has no kid's menu to color on, or has one that he has deemed insufficient.  I don't know whether his judgment is based on the colors of crayon he's been given or a complicated algorithm he's developed to rate the difficulty of the hot air balloon-shaped maze on the paper.  Either way, there had better be some free bread on the table, or he'll be begging for someone's cell phone in a matter of minutes.

Mercifully, food does eventually come.  Cael inhales his meal like he's not eaten in a week while Graham critiques his, arranges it on the plate, probably drops some onto the floor where some unidentifiable sauce has been spilled and chooses that piece to eat quickly before I can tell him not to, and then goes back to the rest of his food at a snail's pace.  Eventually he will either get too full to finish thanks to the free bread, or we will have to cut him of before he can eat his fruit side.  Crying ensues.

Cael, having been done at least ten minutes before everyone else, starts in about dessert and goes as far as to order something from the server, so I have to make sure I am not focusing on my meal at any point so that I can be mentally present to cancel the turtle cheesecake Cael has requested.

No, Cael, there are not real turtles in that.

The server drops off the bill for our meal and walks away before Joel can hand them our payment, seemingly disappearing from the premises altogether.  Maybe he's out back having a smoke, or she escaped to her car crying after one of my kids incorrectly commented about the baby in her tummy.

Either way they will vanish for a substantial period of time during which Adler will wake up, start crying loudly enough to receive angry stares from older women, (why is it always the women?) and when I take him from his car seat, will have soaked the back of his clothing with pee, poop and/or spit up. 

I'll begin to take him out to change him, but Graham will immediately discover that he has to use the restroom again, even more urgently than the first time, so I will be halfway to the bathroom with both boys before Cael shows up at my side announcing that he, too, has to go.  Now.

By the time we reach the bathroom one or both of them will declare it a false alarm.

When I return to the table and the server has still not returned, we encourage the older boys to revisit their kids menus.  Because the provided puzzles and coloring spaces are old news, we practice writing and reading or numbers, which inevitable backfires when Cael gets tired of all of our names and tries to write "nipples".  Nipples turn into boogers, and before long all decorum is out the window.  I try to ignore the fact that Joel started it all by writing "poop".

Nipls = nipples.
Where is that server?!?

When we have finally paid and headed back to the car, Cael will realize that he left behind either a Pokemon card, a dinosaur figure or a balled up piece of paper napkin that he grew emotionally attached to, and based on how tired we are we may or may not go retrieve it.  Every time we claim that we will never, ever back for abandoned toys in a restaurant again, but we all know that getting the toy is so much easier than listening to an angry rant from a very vocal six year old.

"Look, Mom, a tadpole!"

Graham falls asleep on the way home and Cael does everything in his power to wake him up, including (but not limited to) making fart noises and throwing pointy objects.  When Graham does wake up, it will be with some sort of minor scratch that he will interpret as a broken bone and expect me to respond accordingly.  I scold Cael and he lists off a ridiculous but inventive list of offenses that Graham committed that make his look minor in comparison, and after listening to the two of them argue for nearly 15 minutes, I inform them that they have used their allotted words for the day and must now be completely silent.

Joel and I will use that time to discuss where to eat out next time.

Oh, and Graham has to pee again.

1 comment:

  1. Exactly why we avoid taking our kids out to eat with us at all costs--except for Subway of course which is the ONLY place on the planet Lily will agree to eat at anyway. It's just not worth it--I'd rather go hungry! Shirley


Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.