We did something tonight that we haven’t done in a really long time. We went out to dinner with all the kids. To some, that may not seem like a big deal, but for us it was really odd and here’s why.
#1 Since Finn has been on a gluten free, casein free, soy free diet for about 6 months, we haven’t eaten out at all. Lately, we have been introducing those foods back into Finn’s diet, so we decided to go out for pizza like a normal family.
#2 The kids were incredibly well behaved!
And then came the really unbelievable part.
We walked into an uncrowded dining room at one of our favorite pizza places. The waitress seated us right next to three old ladies who were kibitzing over their early bird specials. Now, like I said, we hadn’t been out to eat in a really long time, but I was pretty sure how this was going to go. Finn was going to get up and down from his chair a thousand times, play the spoons on his glass, kick the table incessantly and spill his water all before the waitress took our order. Then I was pretty certain that Tallulah would shimmy her way out of the high chair and refuse to get back in, while Henry created a diversion by throwing his goldfish at any suspicious onlookers. Charlie would stay seated and giggle innocently at his siblings’ antics and continue to narrate about the world around him just as he does every minute of the day. But we hadn’t been out in a while, so I wasn’t quite sure.
The waitress got us our two high chairs for the twins and the boys took their seats. We ordered our food, it came, we ate.
Did you hear what I said?
We ordered our food, it came, we ate. No up and down from the chair. No spoons on the water glass. No goldfish shower. No monologue from Charlie. It was almost too good to be true and then, and then! One of the old ladies turns around and says, “Your children are so well behaved!”
Was she talking to us? Of course she was, there was no one else there, but how? I didn’t even know how to respond. I mean, yea, I guess the kids were behaving, but this house of cards could crumble at any time. And besides, did she know who she was talking to? I am the Mom who got told by a woman on a Powerscooter in Shop Rite that I “had absolutely no control over my kids” (and then she “scooted” away before I could respond). I am the Mom who got into a verbal dispute with a whole table of old people in Charlie Brown’s because I refused to pretend not to hear their snickers and assaults on my parenting. I am the Mom who SEES her kids “misbehaving,” but knows how much worse it can be and chooses not to punish them just for the approval of her elderly audience.
I thanked the woman profusely and explained that this was an anomaly, they were probably just really hungry and too preoccupied to act up. She insisted, “No! They are really good!” (They were being especially darling. Henry kept smiling and cooing at everyone who looked at him). And then she started talking to Charlie about what a good Mommy I was. I was literally breaking out into a cold sweat for fear that Charlie would admit to my occasional transgression or, even worse, if Finn came back from the bathroom and decided to call the lady “old” or something. I preferred for this woman to live in her illusion that we were this perfect family of six dining at our local eatery just like we do all the time. Little did she know, we just crawled out from under a rock and this was our big debut in the sun!
But a “win” is a “win,” and I will take it! It was an amazing feeling. In fact, as we were leaving, another bunch of elderly people were coming in and they were beaming at us longingly, too. It was so bizarre. Normally, our antics leave people either thanking their lucky stars we are gone or asking a manager to comp some portion of their meal because the ambiance was so awful. It was nice to be on the other side for a while.
Even if it was only for a night.