1. It’s amazing to me how I can be such a level-headed, analytical woman at times, but still have moments where I absolutely loose my mind. That has to be the only explanation for why I would knowingly submit myself to torture. I’m sure I was hit by a moment of weakness. It was, after all, almost four in the afternoon, and my subsistence for the day had consisted of the leftover egg white from the baby’s yolk breakfast, and later a handful of pretzels. It was a moment of caloric weakness. I was sitting at the red light waiting to make a left hand turn. I glanced over to my left and was confronted with the most beautiful of edible sights. Mexican food. Oh Lord help me! Thoughts of salsa, cheese dip, and fajita goodness danced in my head, similarly to the way the little children dreamt of sugarplums on Christmas Eve. Our destination was currently pointed towards the sno-cone place. While I enjoy a sugary, frozen treat as much as the next gal, at the time, I could not imagine how flavored ice could compete with sizzling meat. I called back to my partner in pre-dinner consumption crime, the two year old. (I knew she was excited for some icee yumyums, so I had to be stealth). “Hey Chloe.” I called sweetly. “How’s about we go sit down in a restaurant instead of getting a sno-cone?” My goal was to make it sound adventurously exciting, and therefore easily defeat the aforementioned flavored ice in favor of a taco in my belly. Being the optimistic, overachieving child I adore, Chloe responded, “I got an idea Mom. Let’s go to the restaurant and then go get a sno-cone.” I love that brilliant darling!
2. By the time we decided we would sidetrack for a food fiesta, I had already been forced into my left turn taking me to a cold, frozen, minimally nutrient rich, cousin of a popsicle. I would not be denied my quest for spicy splendor that easily! In true stunt driver fashion (no, not really), I performed a possibly illegal u-turn (pretty sure it was illegal). While keeping my wits enough to insure the safety of my tiny charges, I whipped through the traffic with Mexican manic thoughts abounding. I can only blame my desire for a bountiful burrito to drive me to make such an erroneous decision. You see, I don’t usually eat out with just the girls. I usually have the husband along if we go out to eat in a restaurant. As a side note, McDonald’s does not count as eating out at a restaurant. The staff there undergoes special training in dealing with people under the age of seven. I even suspect that they add mild sedatives to the chicken nuggets to keep the children from running amuck and strewing napkins and Happy Meal toys in their wake. Anyway, when I do occasionally visit an adult establishment for food consumption beyond that of a burger, I typically go with another adult. I’ve naively thought all this time that I went with another responsible adult for the sheer joy of conversation beyond the topics of “peepee and poop”. I now realize I’ve been using my company as an unpaid nanny service. It somehow seems to go so much smoother when another set of hands is available to carry bags, be it diaper or doggie, corral spastic runners before they bolt into traffic, or back into the kitchen if you don’t pay attention, catch toppling drinks, and so much more!
3. Upon entering the restaurant, Chloe immediately became excited over the plethora of candy machine choices featured in the lobby. Her tone rose and her speed of speech intensified. It was like by some strange form of osmosis, the sugar from each candy she viewed was assaulting her bloodstream all at once. Only my regrettable promise of candy after dinner was able to separate her from the line-up of quarter treats. I ushered us to a booth, and scanned the wall for a high chair. Finding one complete with a functioning strap is the key. Sometimes you luck upon one complete with a seatbelt, but once at your table, discover the buckle has been effectively chewed off by the wild animal it held before yours, or the connection is so caked with masticated food that it no longer can be secured. God was trying to throw me a bone, and I was able to indeed find a seat that I didn’t fear would be a physical danger or communicable disease threat to my baby. The two year old started right away playing her favorite game of musical seating. I’m gonna sit by myself. No, wait. I’m gonna sit by you. No, wait. I’m gonna sit here. This particular food spot offered a strangely wide window ledge by our table. To Chloe, this simply meant another place to try and sit. She ended up, to my absolute joy (insert sarcasm here), finding the leftover meal pieces of the little person that came before her. She handed them to me for inspection, because I never grow tired of handling other people’s chewed food. (Do I have to tell you to insert sarcasm here?) The meal consisted of many joyful experiences to include: trying to stop Chloe from killing the rainforest with all the destroyed paper product she amassed pulling napkin after napkin out of the dispenser, attempting to keep up with the supply and demand of fruit puffs I fed into the baby’s open, bird mouth while still trying to fit in my own bites of entree, managing to restrain curious baby fingers from grabbing steaming plates or exploring in my refried beans, and explaining repeatedly to Chloe that she had to eat more than two bites of her $5 kid’s meal if she wanted any of the much anticipated candy. The waiter politely smiled sweetly at my motley crew and would pat the baby’s head each time he came by to ask if I needed anything (His eyes seemed to betray him. They silently screamed, “Please go woman, and take your offspring before any more food falls upon my floor!”) In between instructing Chloe to stop playing with her cup of water (I mean, really, why do they serve kids a styrofoam cup? They gotta know that straw is like a sword just waiting to slice through its environmentally unfriendly enemy), I made the server’s day by requesting the check and a to-go box (for the 80% of Chloe’s remaining meal). When I turned back to Chloe, she was pulling out more napkins. This time, though, it was to mop up the river of ice water that had fallen victim to the straw of doom, and poured out of its wounded styrofoam side directly into our awaiting seat that was conveniently able to hold water with its concave structure, and effectively soak our pants. After I slaughtered another forest to catch the spill, I turned up to catch my darling baby in action. She had puked up all those puffs, mixed with water, onto the table. She was painting the mixture across the surface with her hands and forearms, and seemed very proud of the masterpiece she had achieved thus far. I gathered my brood, heading for the cashier. As Chloe asked about the candy, I broke the news to her that I did not have any quarters. I’m certain the waiter’s family back in Mexico could hear Chloe’s anguished cries over a sweet treat envisioned, but never brought to reality. It seems those brilliant Hispanics foresaw such a dilemma. They packed their register with multiple canisters full of enticing candies, all available for purchase with your debit card! This last chance of sugar was an effective salve for Chloe’s pain. (Yes, I am a sucker, but I also promised, and try to keep my word). As we packed up in the van, and I realized it was baby nap time with a Walmart trip still to be completed, I wondered if my little tryst had been worth it. It almost seemed like more of a hassle than an enjoyment. I vowed to rethink such an endeavor in the future. I know, though, that when the hunger pains and temptation of enchanting enchiladas again strike, I will once again charge blindly into the land of eating out with kids.
That is all