Have you ever tried to take a 2 year old to a restaurant? Have you felt like you looked like the most inept parent in the world? No? Well I have. I'm think we are going to stop eating out so we can just live in a happy place where The Baby eats his dinner while simultaneously running a muck and smearing said dinner on every available surface. It's just easier that way.
The other night Lineman and I went to dinner with The Baby while the Things attended a class. We had time to kill and were starving. Most of the time dinners out are happy times. This night I was reduced to a hysterical mess and all I could do was laugh at the fact that I suck at parenting.
We go into the restaurant and are seated at a booth. This is great because The Baby likes booth seats. We were provided a booster at The Baby's insistence. Here is the thing, he won't sit in it but when the blond hair, blue eyed boy wants something he gets it. The booster is set on the booth seat next to me and he promptly gets pissed. Did he ask for this? YES. Does he want it now? HELL to the NO. That just gets in the way of all the jumping and movement he needs to do. Like, right now. I try to calmly ask Lineman to take the booster to his side. This signals to him that The Baby is the boss and we are just going to have to deal with whatever the monster wants.
Then, since we are sitting at a table in an establishment that serves food, The Baby requests his dinner. He doesn't want to wait 15 minutes for it to be prepared, he wants it NOW. Ok, we got this, appetizer. Also, after watching his antics the waitress offers teddy grahams from the back. I must have been too poor for sit down restaurants when Thing 1 was young because having teddy grahams offered is new to me. We politely decline because The Baby will just throw them because they are not a french fry (pronounced fwench fwy). I get a milkshake and offer the baby a taste. First he is leery of this offering because this is not his normal drink of water, but he goes for broke.
Oh, wait, what is this mom? Where have you been hiding this treat all my life? Now it is mine. No, mom, you may not have any of your milkshake, it now belongs to me. Oh you want a taste? No, or I will scream and make you look like an asshole.
Copy that, no more milkshake for me. But there is no screaming and it's looking like we might just get to eat our meal without a breakdown. Oh wait, nope, spoke too soon. The food is not getting to our table fast enough so now he needs to run around freely. Oh, we don't want to let him do that? He will scream and make it look like we have zero rules. Toddlers are just so much fun. We let him run, within reason, for about 1 minute. Then he runs to the other side of the restaurant and stands near a wall creepily watching a lone patron eat their meal. Lineman wrangles him back to the booth. After a very stern talking to about staying in the seat he seems to be fooled.
Food arrives. Thank god, this will keep him still. It worked for about 5 minutes while he ate only fries. After he has finished all the fries and nothing else, he starts trying to get down. No, I know I let you get down a few minutes ago, but now you need to stay put. He seems to give in to reason. But that was just a trick. He then proceeds to "drop" a crayon on the floor. Now he must retrieve the crayon or everything in the world he knows will be wrong. Got it, get the crayon if you promise not to scream.
Mom, you must see this under the table place. It is wonderful for playing. I am happy and will not be a jerk. Just kidding, I now want to run around.
In his defense we let him under the table knowing what his plan was. He is no dummy. He had a plan and we knew this but we were desperately trying to scarf down our dinner so we could get the hell out of there with only minimal shots to our parenting egos. So Lineman and I use our legs to create a barrier so he cannot crawl out from under the table. This was a futile attempt because he spends 5 minutes working through our legs and finally ending up out where freedom exists. I was laughing so hard I thought I might pee myself. We get him back in the seat to repeat the process until we are done eating. We ate in record time and asked for a check. It was about then that I smelled it, Oh great, poop to complete the dinner from hell. I ran the baby out to the car for a diaper change and left Lineman to deal with the aftermath and the check.
We made it out alive, if not unscathed. Our egos are recovering but we will luckily have plenty of opportunities to repeat this process on vacation. At least no one will see us again so when our child acts like a heathen we can still muster up some dignity in public.