Muscular Rule #2 – Restaurants and children don’t mix.
When you’ve got a baby and a preschooler, going out to eat is like preparing for a military campaign through eastern Europe.
Of course you need to pack the basics – diapers, wet wipes, and various unmentionables Mommy keeps in the diaper bag, which has gradually grown in size and been replaced by a jumbo blue back pack that weighs more than both kids combined. Then you need toys, and we’re not talking just a favorite teddy or chewable key set. We’re talking enough toys to transform our Dodge Charger into a mobile consignment shop. There’s the toy remote control (yeah, we’re starting them early), the toy car, the bigger toy car, the mummy doll, the multi-textured peacock, a teether or two, and finally this gaudy contraption with a sunflower, a spinning fan and adjustable claws to attach it to a carrier, stroller or highchair. You also need to bring your own food (formula, fish crackers, baby cookies), which seems like a contradiction, or at the very least brings into question the whole purpose of relocating from your kitchen to a restaurant.
I could go on about the burden of transporting two children from our apartment to a dining establishment just three minutes away. But the real story is what happened after our arrival.
Our first mistake was forgetting to duct tape Widget1’s mouth. Our second mistake was agreeing the be seated within proximity of several elderly women. There are two kinds of elderly – those who hate children and those who love them. These were the latter. Without asking for our consent, the women began swooning over the cuteness of Widget2, who milked the situation for everything he could get. That smile! That laugh! That waving little hand! He knows exactly what he’s doing. “Your son is so adorable!” says one of them.
That’s when the jealousy factor kicked in, and Widget1 realized Widget2 was hogging the spotlight.
So he did what any self-respecting 5-year-old would do.
He raised his hand and announced, “Excuse me, I’m a kid over here too!”
“Oh, you’re adorable too!” said the old lady, realizing her mistake. And then, just to be sure all her bases were covered, she tells me I’m adorable too.
Which of course I am.
But that wasn’t the embarrassing part.
No the embarrassing part happened when the waiter took our order, and as he walked away from our table, Widget1 sat up on his knees and called after him, for no apparent reason, loud enough for everyone around us to hear, “I want to give you a big hug! I want to hug you, and I want to give you a kiss!” And then the finale…”I LOVE YOU!”