I am writing this post with an Ikea pencil on an old, yellowed Halmark bag I found in Chase’s glovebox. Sprout and I are hanging out in the car after a particularly embarrassing dinner at a Chinese restaurant, while the rest of our friends and family finish their meals inside. I knew taking the kids to a buffet was a bad idea the minute the girls (4 of them – all aged 4 and under) spilled into the restaurant like wild monkeys, talking loudly and getting in the way of every waiter and customer in their path (most of whom carried plates of hot food), but I had no idea I’d be running full tilt from one end of the restaurant to the other 45 minutes later, full of shame and humiliation.
Truth be told, all of the kids were good once we got seated and the initial “behave, or we’ll leave” speeches were complete; all of the kids, that is, except Sprout, my 2 year-old, who laid down in her seat, slipped under the table, rolled around on the floor, smeared her food on the table, and had to be held in my lap for the duration of the meal. I have to tell you, having my dinner interrupted is one of my least favourite things about being a mom. Just once (ONCE!), I’d like to sit and eat my meal from start to finish without having to take someone to the bathroom, correct someone’s behaviour, haul someone back to their seat, fetch some random condiment, hold someone in my lap, etc. etc. It drives me BONKERS. So, as you can imagine, I was a stressed, grumpy, sweaty, (did I mention grumpy?) mess throughout our meal.
In an attempt interrupt Sprout’s table gymnastics, I thought it would be a good idea to take my girls to the dessert bar. I figured it would burn some of their pent up energy, and then the sugar would keep them in their seats for at least a minute or two longer. Yeah, no. That was a MISTAKE. Instead of holding my hand and walking calmly to the buffet like her sister, Sprout took this small window of opportunity and ran with it – literally. She sprinted across the restaurant to the buffet, me hot on her heels, while some staff member yelled at me over and over again to “be careful!” like I was just letting my kid run wild instead of doing my best to get her out of harm’s way as quickly as possible. When I finally caught up to her and made a move to pick her up, she flung herself to the ground in a full blown tantrum and I had to carry her screaming, flailing ass through a crowd of disapproving on-lookers. I wanted to DIE.
I didn’t even go back to the table. I barked “we’re going outside” to Chase, and walked straight out the door. And that’s where I’m at now – sitting in a car with a crying child while everyone else eats dessert. And you know what? It’s worth it. For one, I don’t have to face anyone in the restaurant ever again (I am literally never coming back to this place). AND, Sprout is learning that she can’t act like an animal when we are out. Maybe next time, she will think twice about misbehaving, and if she doesn’t I’ll just haul her tiny tush home again until she gets it.