My kids are well behaved in restaurants. I’m not delusional or being sarcastic or just straight up lying. They really are! I know what it’s like to go out and to want to have a nice peaceful meal when suddenly it’s infiltrated by crotchgoblins loudly playing hide and seek and, LUCK YOU, your chair is their hiding spot.
And they aren’t your kids.
And their parents don’t give a flying fuck.
My kids are not those kids. That’s not to say they are always perfectly well behaved whenever I take them somewhere to eat that doesn’t have a drive-thru. C’mon, no one would ever believe that! What it means is that whenever they start to act FUCKING INSANE, either Thomas or I takes their ass outside until they can calm themselves down and act like a relatively civilized human being. I’m not a fun killer or a snuffer of childhood joy, but I’d prefer them to have this fun at a lower decibel level. Especially when we are in a restaurant and people are just trying to have a nice relaxing meal.
Due to that, when a friend of mine came into town (whom I haven’t seen since Holden’s 1st birthday) and we made plans to go to lunch, I didn’t think anything of it. I was even more thrilled when they pulled up to the restaurant and I saw that it wasn’t just my friend and his boyfriend arriving, but his mom (whom I LOVE) and his sister as well. Being that this lunch-ish type get together was at 3:30 on a Thursday afternoon, the restaurant was a mix of retirees and older folks, and a few 20/30-somethings in the bar area. No other children.
It didn’t take long for things to go wrong. Very wrong. I had warned my friend that the boys are “spirited,” much like I describe on my Facebook page and in this blog, but I’m not sure he really believed just how true that was until we were seated at a table together. When I said spirited, what I really meant was incredibly loud lunatics that will at times, make you question ever procreating.
Sure, we go out to eat all the time, but I guess I underestimated the effect BOTH parents being at dinner have on two rambunctious kids. We’re like a tag team. I was outnumbered. I’ve been out to eat with the kids alone. I’ve been out to eat with the kids and my family without Thomas, but I’d never been out to eat with a large-ish group where my kids are the only kids and the people they’ve never met and have no reason to fear.
Loud was only the beginning.
They started talking about bacon and pigs stomachs, which quickly turned into them announcing that people eat “pig peckers!” Thank you, Thomas, for telling the children that every part of the pig gets used from your time working for Smithfield. Genius.
From pig peckers, they started talking about pig bellybuttons, which turned into them flashing their bellybuttons, which turned into them talking about nipples. Of course by talking, I mean yelling.
From loud talking to yelling to Holden spraying spit with every word that came from his mouth, all while Parker cackled as loudly as humanly possible. Seriously. I’ve never heard another human laugh that loud. Have you never heard him laugh? Allow me:
Parker asked my friend’s mom if she was pregnant. She is not. Her stomach couldn’t even be seen from where he was sitting. He pointed to her chest. It is large. He was asking if her boobs were pregnant. He thinks *MY* boobs are big. I don’t have boobs. So now I guess big boobs must be carrying children? She laughed. I slightly wanted to die. The laughter only encouraged the insanity.
Before I knew it, both kids were climbing on my friend like he was a fucking jungle gym. Parker decided he was patient zero and even started mouthing friend’s arm. Why? I HAVE NO IDEA! He doesn’t do this kind of shit at home! What the hell is in the air at this place??
With every passing minute, I could feel myself sinking farther and farther into my chair. I tried to keep them controlled, but it’s like they were on another plane than me. I was powerless. They were showing off, with my friend’s family being their audience, and nothing I did or said to try to get them to bring it down a level worked. Maybe I would have opted to drag them outside, but everyone was laughing so hard (to the point of tears) I knew it wouldn’t have made a difference.
With every passing minute, I was bracing myself for another diner to approach our table and make a salacious comment about the behavior of my children. To tell me to shut them up. To tell me to control them better. For a waiter to approach us and ask us to leave due to complaints from fellow patrons. This isn’t an unusual thing to fear, being that you heard in the news all the damn time now how kids are being banned from restaurants for simply being kids. I hear stories my friends tell of how strangers approach them and chastise their parenting skills. I’ve read comments from people saying that they truly believe children should be left at home instead of brought to places like GROCERY STORES.
The reaction to children by the general public lately seems more negative than positive, and it’s not only infuriating, it’s frightening. No one wants a stranger to approach and call their children names. No one wants to be criticized by a stranger for a brief moment where you aren’t able to completely control tiny humans with their own minds and their own feelings (most of which they don’t even understand yet.) I know the saying is “it takes a village”- but OBVIOUSLY it was implied that the village not be full of irrational, judgmental, child-hating shitbricks.
I was informed by my friend’s pregnant boobed mom that people were staring. I sank farther into my seat until she told me these staring people did not have grimaces, but they were laughing. A few minutes later, a group of 3 old ladies walked up to our table.
Here it comes, I thought- bring on the scolding!
“We just wanted to say we’ve had so much fun watching your table while we ate! I just had surgery on my hand and you made me feel better. Especially the one with the great laugh!”
Loud-ass lunatic Parker? Really?
As we got up to leave a few minutes later, the table of older folks that had been sitting right behind Parker and I stopped us.
Okay- this MUST be it. This HAS to be the part where I get an old fashioned finger-wagging for not harnessing my out of control children.
They thanked us, too! What in the hell is going on here? We didn’t ruin anyone’s meal? No one? They ENJOYED watching and listening to these turds slowly drive me insane? I thought the world was an ugly, hateful, place with very little leniency, too high expectations of little kids, and an affinity for looking down noses at people? I was honestly mind-blown. You get so used to people making stupid comments and giving you dirty looks when your kids aren’t perfect little robots that when people compliment them at their wildest, it’s shocking. That’s kind of sad, don’t you think? That we so EXPECT people to be total assholes to us that it’s surprising when they are kind and understanding?
It was a pleasant surprise, and especially coming from little old ladies, it restored my wavering faith in humanity from the last verbal assault. Of course, I still gave the kids a stern talking-to about their psychotic behavior knowing that not everyone is going to be so accepting and lighthearted about their meal filling them more from crazy kid noises than food. Even though my head was pounding from their antics, in the depths of my mind stays locked the fact that they actually WERE pretty damn funny. Parents have to keep their poker face and do Lady GaGa proud.