“Why didn’t we do this years ago?” I savored my pasta Alfredo. My husband clasped my hand across the restaurant table.
We knew the answer.
Dining out now: priceless. Dining out as a family decades ago: panic.
Like many young parents, we cruised drive-throughs. The pizza delivery guy was our patron saint. Cabin fever drove us to kid-friendly establishments. Or maybe we wanted to watch our small children trash somebody else’s property.
Venturing out without Hubby, I wished I could sprout an extra arm. My children shot through restaurant parking lots like pinballs. After chasing them down and gathering survival gear, we headed inside.
If fast-food restaurants were in tune with young mothers, they’d provide parking lot pack mules to carry kids, diaper bags, baby seats, and the Strawberry Shortcake potty my discriminating two-year-old favored. Instead, the pack mule answered to the name “Mommy.”
Normal people ordered their favorite cholesterol. Me? I led my caravan to restrooms while others ate juicy burgers and hot, crusty fries.
My stomach growled. I hadn’t tasted anything warm since the ’70s — except melted ice cream.
Potty Party trumped Pity Party. I unbuttoned, unzipped, toilet-paper-ripped, then reequipped. I sang the Strawberry Shortcake song 19 times. I passed out compliments and balloons for jobs well done. Only two hours later, we emerged triumphant.
Finally approaching the counter, we received gold cardboard crowns. Baby ate his.
Can you say “free toy”? Sisterly relations disintegrated when the restaurant had only one Princess Penelope Piddle doll. Discontinued.
Grudgingly accepting Princess Penelope Piddle Sings Punk cassettes instead, my offspring talked me into a playground picnic.
Are fast-food restaurants really responsible for children’s obesity? Of 11,451 hamburgers ordered, only 5.37 made it inside my kids.
Also, with chasing them, why do parents gain weight?
Oh. I ate the 11,445.63 leftovers.
When our family attempted meals at restaurants where diners didn’t ride horsies, toddlers left their smiles at the door. Ours loved fast-food forks. In “nice” surroundings, we hid metal ones and handed him spoons. He sent them flying, yelling, “FORK! FORK!” for a solid hour.
He couldn’t pronounce Rs.
You figure it out.
The following week, we donned cardboard crowns.
No more. Now, Hubby and I dine out weekly. We remain seated throughout the hot meal and converse.
I don’t even hide my fork.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your should-have-stayed-home restaurant story?