Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Let's Celebrate By Regretting We Took Everyone Out To Eat

Everyone's face when I walk in with all my kids.

Afternoon Readers,

For those of you who just started following this little, old blog, today's announcement probably won't mean much.

But.

If you've been with me from the beginning, I'm here to tell you that you're old. I'm also old. We're all elderly. You guys, the twins turned six.

How did that happen? A few years ago, I was complaining about four hundred diapers a day and trying to balance two babies on my hips without dropping one of them. (And let's face it, there were more than a few close calls there.) Now? We're finishing kindergarten and Sundance just declared she's decided to go to art school before heading off on the career path of marine biologist.

I'm still not sure if she plans to study them or design clothes for dolphins. Time will tell.

This year, the birthday celebration took us to the petting zoo and then Red Robin. I'm not sure how many of you have a Red Robin in your neck of the woods, but if you're into interesting hamburgers and balloon animals, it's probably right up your alley. Kellerman children enjoy all of these things, so away we went. There was just one problem. We never take the kids out to eat anywhere because:

a.) It's terrifying
b.) It's expensive
c.) It's terrifying and expensive

When the twins were little, eating out used to be a somewhat manageable experience. But, after our numbers doubled, Husband and I had to forgo the activity altogether, in favor of simply letting the kids hit us with baseball bats instead. It's pretty much the same thing. If you don't believe me or haven't taken four, small children out to eat lately, allow me to give a quick run through of what to expect...

Seating:

The nice thing about walking your entire pack of offspring into a public establishment is the tendency of most hosts to make sure you're seated somewhere discreet. Like the middle of the restaurant.

"Is this desperate cluster of tables fine?"

Me nodding. "Of course. If we were sitting somewhere in the back, this entire flock of patrons wouldn't be able to see the show we've scheduled for everyone. Please bring waters and anything free you have so we can get warmed up."

"Would you like drinks lids on the children's drinks?"

"As long as they're lose and fall off when the time's right."

"Re-fillable fries?"

I consider. "Can your fries be thrown with a good amount of accuracy?"

"Absolutely."

"We'll take three baskets."

 Ordering:

This is, by far, my favorite part of the dining out experience. Nothing screams fun like needing to order food for everyone at the table, when you haven't had time to look at the menu. My children like to enhance this process by yelling their order over any type of communication I'm signaling to the waitress.

"I'll start with you, mam. What will you have?"

Taking solace in the children busily coloring, I start. "We'll have three orders of your-"

"Meat!"

"I want spaghetti!"

"Mom, he's being dumb again. Will you tell him there's no spaghetti here? I'll have sunflower seeds."

*The baby hits me in the head with her bottle*

I start again. "Please excuse the children. We've been living in an underground bunker for five years."

Eating:

I love when the food is finally delivered, mostly because I'm shocked the waiter or waitress heard any of the order I threw across the table. By this point, the children have eaten their weight in fries and have absolutely no intention of devouring any of the food that's been ordered. They also develop a specific kind of amnesia which demands they don't recall anything they asked for in the first place.

A child waves her fork indignantly in the air. "Mom, what is this?"

"I believe the menu called them, "Meatball Lolly Pops," I respond. "Not the most enticing of descriptions, but you three all insisted on having them."

"But, I didn't." I wanted the grilled cheese. Why would I ask for Meatball Lolly Pops?"

I stare longingly at the cheeseburger I can't reach because the baby is jumping up and down in my lap and trying to insert a straw into my ear. "Sweet heart, I have no idea. I suggested grilled cheese, and you said, "I haaaaave to have Meatball Lolly Pops."

"Mom?"

"What?"

"Doc just wandered off. He said he was done eating and was going to go live with the people in the bathroom."

Silently, I pray to Baby Jesus to help me not have a nervous breakdown, before I motion to the waitress to box up my uneaten burger. "Ok, twins, stay here. I'm going to get your brother."

"But!"

"Just impale those meatballs with tiny bread sticks and hush."

Paying and Exiting:

By this point, three cups of water have been spilled on the floor, two dance numbers have been performed dangerously close to the kitchen, and servers have stopped by to sing Happy Birthday to the birthday kids. Years ago, public singing would've mortified me, but, as it makes all four of my children stop talking and stare in horror, I join in, singing maniacally, and ask for an encore.

A swipe of the credit card.

The circus is packed up.

The car is sooo close but..... balloon animals.

Since having kids, I have yet to not stop once a balloon artist has been spotted. My children have the uncanny ability to track down these masters of latex manipulation from five miles out. If a child can see a balloon artist who's making tigers for free and you say, "No, not today," you dance on dangerous ground.

"Why don't you love us?"

"If you don't like us so much, why don't you just 'dopt us to someone else?"

..."I'll take two snakes and a Ninja Turtle with Sharpie eyes, please."

The balloon artist looks at my haggard face. "You sure, lady?"

"Yeah. We haven't ever taken a family vacation, so this might soften the blow of childhood deprivation. Can you give my fish a fairly life-like fin?"

Balloons in hand, we made it back to the van and started the trek home. All Kellerman children stated they had an amazing time but adamantly agreed that none of them actually requested Meatball Lolly Pops. I have no comment on that. All I know is my kids are growing up and I have absolutely no idea what a hot burger tastes like anymore.

But I do know who ended up eating all the cold Meatball Lolly Pops.

Until Next Time, Readers!



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