Sunday, March 2, 2008
Eating Out With Kids = Oil and Vinegar
-Somehow it just never mixes. The very concept of eating out implies some sort of leisure and relaxation. "Why? Why?!?!" I ask myself, "Do I continue to forget the perils of bringing children to a restaurant?". I know how. . . It all begins so innocently when a friend might casually mention lunch plans and ask if I might be interested. "Heck, ya!" I think to myself picturing my semi- carefree life BC (before children). It isn't until everyone is seated (for all of 10 seconds) and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the menus that I begin to recognize the error of my ways. "When is the waitress going to get here with the menus?? We need to order already! It's not like I've got all day! The natives are getting restless!!" I think to myself as I note trickles of snot dripping onto not one, but both of my children's upper lips. Little Jimmy (4) then somehow loses his balance and proceeds to fall off his seat landing wholly (and I mean face to toes) on the floor - all this from a seated position mind you! Simultaneously, Kyla (10 mo.) drops her paci on the ground and begins the process of suckling the highchair with the intent of extracting every possible germ or communicable disease known to mankind in the quest to build up a massive quantity of immunity. The meal continues with Jimmy continually harrassing our friends' child - to the point that they actually quietly move their child to the other side of the table. All the while, Kyla continues sucking on things (tables, napkins, knives) and dropping her paci while intermittently letting out howls of annoyance.
Meanwhile, Jim keeps up a lively banter with some of our friends. After 25 minutes or so, he laughingly looks my direction and asks "Ha! Did you hear that, Danielle?". There is "a moment of silence" accompanied by a look of disconnect from me. Maybe it was my visible shaking, or the fact that snot was smeared all over the shoulder of my black shirt, or that it took me several seconds to even comprehend what he spoke to me - whatever it was, Jim got the hint. "Do you want to switch seats with me and I'll sit between the kids so you can enjoy some adult conversation?" he asked. "Sure. Sounds great." I answered as I stumbled out of my chair a bit too eagerly. Although I relished the thought of watching Jim have to handle the conundrum of our children as I had been doing up to this point, it still took me several moments to actually re-embody myself to the place that I could even enjoy it. I really felt badly for the woman who was now sitting next to me; I think she made several attempts at conversation for which I was only able to half-heartedly answer with very simple thoughts and short sentences. After several moments, I was able to reconnect. I smiled somewhat smugly at Jim. He caught my eye and smiled back at me in between attempting to catch Kyla's paci and holding little Jimmy in his seat as he "fell" from his chair again while laughing maniacally. Wondering what I was smiling about, he lipped the word "What?" to me as he continued to try to keep a handle on the chaos surrounding him. "THIS" I said, "Is why we don't eat out with children. EVER!". He smiled back and nodded - both of us knowing that the next time we eat out, it'll be just the two of us.