Playground Uprising


Dining Out …
March 1, 2007, 5:30 pm
Filed under: Children, Family, headaches, Life, parenting

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“I will be there in five minutes and will pick you guys up in front of the house by the curb,” Greg says right before hanging up his cell phone, now about 10 blocks from the house.

And the rumpus begins.

“Mac, button up your shirt and put on your socks while I change Charlie’s diapers.”

“I hate this shirt” (since when do four year olds get a fashion vote?).

“That is fine, get a job, make some money, help pay the mortgage, and buy yourself a new shirt.”

Mac looks at me quizzically, not sure where I am going with this, but figures it is not worth picking up a shift at Ukrops and starts to button.

I plop Charlie on the floor. With the second one I have given up the use of a changing table and today have also opted out of a changing pad (who has time for such formalities?).

“Crap,” Charlie has just peed on me as I attempt to fasten one of the environmentally friendly diapers my sister has handed down to me with strict instructions for follow up purchases, which I would be happy to oblige if they were not the size of a small elephant and cost as much as Senator’s Edwards 29,000 square foot North Carolina estate.

We all opt out of coats, it is only 40 degrees outside and cold builds character, and there we are, three ragamuffins, standing solemnly by the curb awaiting the apocalypse.

As we enter Angela’s, the black birds begin to swarm overhead and we receive the familiar, “Oh please Lord do not let those people sit near us,” stares from elderly patrons.

“Hi, how are you? We are so glad to be here. Thank you for inviting us to dinner.” I have found it extremely important to offer all available niceties up front, hoping they will soften the crime scene that is about to unfold.

“Where is my dump truck? (can you imagine going to dinner without your dump truck?) Can I do my maze book? (so I can sprawl it over the table and knock over your water) Do they have chicken tenders here? (don’t all fine establishments have unknown bird parts loaded with healthful trans-fats …. apparently not this one) Can I have another piece of bread? (of course, so far you have only consumed three loaves) I think it would be better if I sat with daddy. (has musical chairs replaced the forgotten tradition of a free salad with your meal?)

Greg and I look across the table at one another, stares of desperation have now replaced the stealing smiles of courtship, as we consider whether to tell my mother that Charlie has just spit-up down the sleeve of her silk shirt, but quickly forget the ethical dilemma as gaseous fumes start to radiate from big brother and I fear the soldiers have opened fired.

“Would you like some dessert?”

You might find yourself asking as this point: Have you already eaten? And the answer to that question would be NO, but the waitress did bring our food; and I did cut a few uneaten bites; and I have moved my overpriced pasta around on my plate as I attempted to draw police cars, stick stickers, and catch flying objects. But it is OK, because I have resolved myself to the painful truth that eating at nice restaurant with small vagrants is akin to civil war, the goal is survival and consumption comes later, and at home, once the soldiers have retreated and the firing has ceased.

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