Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dragon Manners

I took the kids out to eat today.  For some reason, I always think it's going to be a fun outing.  Just a mom and her two boys, out for a meal! What could go wrong?  I have one polite, well-mannered child who selects a meal with minimal prompting, says "please" and "thank you" to the waitress, and plays quietly with a toy until the food comes.  Eating out with Knight is a pleasure, and has been since he was born.  My other child?  Well, let's just say that his manners could use a little... polishing.

I do everything I can to keep Dragon entertained.  We only go to family-friendly restaurants.  Sports bars are also a good bet, as the background level of noise is loud enough to drown out most of Dragon's roaring!   Both my purse and the diaper bag have a never-ending supply of dinosaurs, his favorite toy. I pack pre-meal snacks, as they work wonders in staving off a tantrum between ordering and being served.  And when all else fails, my iPhone is good for a few minutes of entertainment.

Today, I had to use every single one of my tricks to get us through lunch.  Family friendly restaurant? Check! (To protect the innocent, let's just say we went to the Multinational Home of Hotcakes).  I let him unwrap all 15 billion straws that the waitress brought.

And this was the monstrous result. My poor sweet tea. 

After that, I had the entire Cretaceous Period parade across the table.  And when that failed, a T-Rex app on my phone bought me a little time, but ultimately, nothing was working.  And on those days, you just eat your food and get out, as quickly and painlessly as possible.  He did settle down once the food appeared (I think that kid will do anything for bacon!) and I had a few minutes to eat my waffle in peace.  It was not the calm and peaceful lunch I imagined, but it got us fed.

Taking kids out to eat is hard.  In some long-forgotten part of your brain, you remember when going out to eat was fun.  Relaxing, even.  You remember the scintillating conversation, the leisurely pace of eating, the enjoyment of the evening.  And when you got home, no dishes!  Now, it's a different story.   There's always some drama, and when you get home, always some dishes.  But don't worry!  Just enjoy the time you have with your little ones, and before you know it, you'll be able to trust them enough to take them to a nice restaurant.  I have a goal set for a tantrum-free dinner at Olive Garden by Dragon's fifth birthday!  And in the meantime, drown your sorrows with a little extra maple syrup on your waffle.  I know I did.

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