You know that feeling when you are so tired and can’t even imagine cooking or preparing any food, so you decide to go out to eat? It’s so nice and relaxing. Maybe you are with your husband/significant other/friend/etc. and you have a drink, choose whatever you want to eat from a vast array of things that someone else is going to cook for you. Maybe you even linger for a while after dinner and have dessert. Doesn’t this sound so nice? Some of you might even just be getting home from a similar situation right now. After all, it is a Saturday night. Well this isn’t what our family trip to IHOP was like on Christmas Eve. And – bad news – for those of you that don’t have kids yet, I’m gonna just let you know right now: Eating out with little kids is not relaxing. Not at all.
Now it’s not even that this particular restaurant experience was a bad one or more drama-filled than normal. It was just the typical try-to-get-the-kids-to-eat-this-food-that-you-spent-a-lot-of-money-on-while-keeping-them-sitting-at-the-table-and-not-running-wild-through-the-restaurant-tearing-stuff-apart type of meal that you have when your kids are two and three. Our table was not sitting in a pool of water like it had been the time we were out to dinner and Little Boo had developed a sudden fondness for ice, I got sick of shooing her little hand out of my glass and asked the waitress to bring over a cup of ice which I gave to LB who popped each cube into her mouth one by one and then dropped onto the floor where they all melted into one big puddle that screamed, “Hey, maybe you guys shouldn’t be out in public?!” We hadn’t even been mortified by LB screaming, “POOP!” and then trying to launch out of her highchair while everyone around us tried to pretend not to stare. The girls had each eaten a few bites of their meals which is good because they love to pick out what they claim to want to eat and then eat none of it at all. Does anyone else wonder if it would be frowned upon to go to restaurants and just let the kids eat whatever free bread or oyster crackers that the restaurant has to offer? Because my kids would be thrilled by that. Plus ice. They would want ice too.
Anyhow like I said, it was Christmas Eve and everyone in the restaurant was extremely nice; waitresses that weren’t even ours were stopping by the table to say hi to the girls and wish them a Merry Christmas. Our waitress had dropped the check and we were getting ready to head out, so I took the girls to the bathroom to get cleaned up and ready for the ride home. Naturally, LB who wants nothing to do with the potty when at home, is all about it when we are out in public. Balancing a tiny two-year-old on a giant public toilet seat is fun. It gives us extra time for Princess Rapunzel to narrate what is going on in the bathroom, as just about all three-year-olds do.
Mommy, why is there someone else in here?
Mommy, why are her shoes brown?
Mommy, do you see her?
Mommy, I hear someone peeing!
Mommy, did you hear that? Was that a toot? Is someone pooping?
Mommy, why is she pooping?
Mommy, I’m gonna crawl under and see what’s going on in there.
Sooooooo awesome… Once everyone was finally done sitting on the toilet, trying to touch each and every germ-covered surface in the bathroom and single-handedly embarrass me to death, we washed our hands (twice because they like to immediately wipe them off on the floor or the wall once I wash them the first time) and headed back to the table. We bundled the girls up, checked the table to make sure we had everything and headed out. One of the waitresses who had taken a particular interest in the girls gave them each a coin to put into the big bank that they love because the coins spin around and around before falling down to the bottom. We thanked her and headed to the door when I heard our waitress say something to us. I thought maybe we had left a bib or binky or something. We hadn’t left a kid because after a quick look, I confirmed that we had both. “Ummm, your check?” Oh. My. God. She’d dropped the check before I took the girls to the bathroom. I’d assumed that the Original Boo had paid while we were in there, but he had been waiting for us to come back because at crazy IHOP you have to go to the counter to pay and he didn’t want to leave all of our stuff at the table alone. By the time we’d gotten back from the lengthy bathroom excursion, the check had been totally forgotten. OB quickly got his wallet out and tried to make it up to her with a bigger than usual tip, but it was too late. They all assumed that we had been trying to walk out on the check. And that is how we almost ruined Christmas at IHOP. Oops!
Someone please tell me that having parent-brain has caused them to do or almost do something awful! We can’t be alone in this accidental almost act of scum-baggery.