Saturday, December 19, 2009

Eating out

Tonight we attempted to eat out at a restaurant. It was no different than many other nights; we've eaten out as a family before, so it isn't as if this were the first attempt with three kids. But tonight it was just not going to happen.

My husband has a gift card to a group of restaurants, one being a pasta and pizza place near our house. We've never been, and I was feeling a bit of cabin fever, so we decided to try it out. I had a strange feeling that it wasn't going to be a fun, family dinner out and I clearly should have listened to my instincts. As soon as we walked in the door of the place, our 2 1/2 year old son G was in rare form. I think a day of being couped up in the house on a rainy day with tired parents who weren't too interested in making the day fun had worn on him. He immediately started testing out the acoustics of the place and was thrilled to discover a slight echo coming off the tile floors and walls. Loud shrieks ensued. He also felt the need to run around in circles near the first group of tables, then throw himself to the floor and roll around a bit. Having tested the tactile sensation of the floor and the cleaning habits of the staff, he went back to shrieking.

Judging by the lack of customers (there were a couple of tables with people, but most of the place was empty - probably a good thing), it took far too long for someone to come seat us. When we did finally get a table, it became clear very quickly that G was not going to calm down and sit for dinner. He immediately started trying to either climb up onto the table or to get down off his chair. And trust me, this isn't a child who upon realizing freedom from the restraints of a restaurant chair will hang out nearby. He has no fear and insatiable curiosity, and consequently, if left to his own devices, would probably have ended up either in the kitchen climbing into one of the ovens or out in the parking lot happily splashing in a puddle.

We tried to peruse the menu, but were interrupted approximately every 4.6 seconds to tell G to sit down, or get off the table, or stop trying to grab anything and everything he could get his hands on and throw it onto the floor. After about six, "But I don't want to sit down!" from him, I could see my husbands blood pressure rising. I had this brief image of him turning into a cartoon thermometer, the big red line rising quickly and bursting the bulb at the top, accompanied by the sound of a train whistle. I told him we could just leave - we hadn't ordered anything yet. In fact, we'd been sitting there for some time and no one had been to our table at all. If this was the kind of service we could expect, this was going to be a vey long meal.

Finally, we decided to bail. We wound up going through the drive-though at McDonald's and bringing it home. Not exactly the meal I was looking forward to, but a much more peaceful one nonetheless.

Sometimes I think G is God's way of telling us to eat out less.

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