Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Old Lady And The Restaurant

I used to like restaurants until I had kids. Aside from the usual crap shoot of whether or not they'll actually behave themselves, I now have to deal with strangers striking up conversations. I can handle comments, I'm particularly picking on those people who practically move over to your table.

The reason I find this annoying has nothing to do with the fact that I think that most people are inconsiderate assholes (which I totally do). It's because I'm on baby patrol the whole time I'm there. For those who don't have kids, this is what my typical restaurant meal is like:

  1. Hold on to kids while host/ess pulls head out of ass to finally mosey over with a booster and a high chair.
  2. Baby needs to immediately be distracted with food. Don't leave home without some snacks.
  3. Preschooler needs to immediately be distracted with coloring and/or food.
  4. Order drinks.
  5. Keep preschooler interested in a color page that she's already completely covered in crayon.
  6. Give baby more snacks or a toy.
  7. Get drinks and juggle around the 50,000 things the restaurant lays out on the tiny table (none of which you actually need) so that the drinks are completely out of reach of the baby.
  8. Order food. Something that can be shared with the baby. In other words, something mushy and bland.
  9. Clean up preschooler's drink.
  10. Baby is ready to go now. Distract with toys, more food, or a bottle.
  11. Get food. Start handing server unnecessary condiments and food/drink advertisements. Either that, or stack them on the partitions between the booths. You're everyone's friend when you do this.
  12. Shoot server nuclear-grade glares when they warn you not to touch the plates because they're hot, then put 'em down right in front of the grabby baby.
  13. Juggle plates around so that they're out of the baby's reach.
  14. Try to coax preschooler into eating the kid's meal you've gotta pay $5.95 for whether she eats it or not.
  15. Sharing food with a baby involves continuously shovelling food into their mouth until they refuse to take a bite. I know when he's full because he'll start to climb out of the highchair.
  16. Now both kids are ready to go. We're furiously trying to send out signals for the server (who has usually retired to Antarctica) to come over with the check and choke down as much food as possible.
  17. Pay the check and start gathering all the kids' stuff. Diaper bag, toys, food, bottles, crayons...

This is what happens when it goes well. Now if one or both of the kids start melting down/puking/choking/spilling food everywhere then there are more steps.

I didn't put "Chat up the friendly old lady" in as one of the steps because I've already got enough to concentrate on.

Yes, the baby's completely frickin' adorable. He's even cuter when he's diving into someone else's cleavage to try to eat their necklace in a crowded restaurant.

Yes, I've already assumed that, if you had kids, they've been long-grown. You're like 80, lady. Your kids are quite possibly older than my mom.

Yes, it's a horrible tragedy that Bobby will never get married. Bobby's probably fugly or weird and maybe he shouldn't procreate. (You can tell that this is the point where I started to get a little uncharitable in my thoughts toward this woman.)

Yes, I'm sure that my kid looks like at least 100 other kids that you know. All babies look alike. If you don't mind, he's got snot leaking down into his mouth and my daughter is coloring the table.


CatLadyLarew said...

I have a friend who has the perfect way to deal with that lady... when her twins were two, they pulled the fire alarm next to their booth. That stopped the comments about cute kids really fast! (What were the idiots thinking when they designed that family restaurant?)

P.S. I think the twins were banned for life from that restaurant chain!

Awesomeness said...

I'm writing that one down. :D