Eating out. You know, when you go somewhere outside of the home and some other poor sod stands and makes your dinner for you for a change. The only difference is they get paid to stand and cook you dinner and I most definitely don’t. I get too many complains anyway (“no! I’m not eating that! It’s disgusting and tastes of poo poo!” that kind of response).
It’s a real novelty ‘eating out’ these days, thanks to the Tasmanian toddler who can’t sit still and a 6 year old who gets about as much pleasure from eating food as I do from changing a sh!&ty nappy.
Anyhow, a momentous occasion happened this week – my parents finally became mortgage free, enormous hurrah for them (cue me then calculating how long we have left on our mortgage and wanting to silently sob into my Calamari) – so we went out for a family dinner to celebrate.
I experience a few emotions at the thought of this. These are:
Excitement – a night out!
Dread – there’s no way our kids arent going to destroy the restaurant or is be asked to leave because the toddler is beating other customers up.
Fear – what if the toddler screams for the whole dinner. I’ll just have to go and stand outside in the rain with him and watch everyone eat through the window.
Delusion – “It’ll be ok” I tell myself, “the toddler might just sit down nicely and play with the iPad…” (I know, bad mummy but please don’t judge, we all have our own way and if it means he is quiet and not stabbing people with a fork, I’ll go for that)
Anger – “who’s bloody idea was dinner out?! I know it’s a special occasion but we want it to be a happy event and instead, it could end a disaster and I could end up being beaten up by my toddler as usual, but this time in a public place!”
…safe to say I was a little apprehensive.
We get to the ‘family friendly’ restaurant and we are sat near the door – first saving grace, we are near the escape route should sh%t go down.
Luckily, the toddler hasn’t napped and it’s 5:30 so he looked quite sedate and was over the moon to see Nanny, Grandad and his Uncle. Phew. That’s occupied him for at least 20 minutes….
Then the toddler spots some balloons on sticks – hurrah! That buys us another 15 minutes as he is quite happy bashing his Grandad, and any passing customers and staff, on the head with it. We are now 35 minutes in and all is fine. It’s a miracle.
Starters arrive and luckily the toddler and my 6 year old like the look of some of it (though my 6 year old decides the carrot and cucumber sticks are merely decoration and are definitely not meant to be eaten…) so they happily tuck in. Another 15 minutes of peace and harmony – I can’t believe this!
As soon as the starters are finished and taken away, our mains arrive.
All my kids have chosen margarita pizza – adventurous bunch aren’t they (makes you wonder why you spent so many hours peeling, boiling, whizzing and splattering purées up for them as babies when, as soon as they have a mind of their own and learn to say ‘no!’, you might as well have given them a cat food bowl full of crisps and sweets and left it on the floor for the day to pick at as that’s all they decide they can eat for the foreseeable future…)
The older 2 tuck into their pizzas and are happy, the little one however, looks at his pizza with utter contempt and attempts to frisbee it off his plate. “He doesn’t want that then….” I conclude.
The toddlers noise level increases as his contempt for the pizza placed before him grows. “Here we go…” I think to myself.
I shovel my pasta down and gesture to my husband for the noisy, pizza hating toddler to be passed down to me in hopes of calmin him down. After 5 minutes of whining and fidgeting like a ferret in a pair of trousers, to my amazement, this happens….
It sleeps!!! (I know I’ll have a rubbish evening getting him to bed, but he’s quiet and not disturbing the restaurant anymore! Hurrah!!!)
And with that, I order a pudding and eat it whilst being able to chat to my family (thanks to Uncle holding the sleeping ninja) and not worry about the Tasmanian Toddler going crazy. Happy days.
So, for future reference, we can now eat out as long as the toddler hasn’t had a nap and is utterly exhausted, then everyone is a winner. My arms felt like they were going to drop off by the end of the dinner through holding him and I was a sweaty mess because it was boiling hot and the little one acted like a hot water bottle, but all was peaceful. And that’s a miracle.