Have Kids, Will Eat
Dining Out with Kids
Last Thursday my husband was forced to enjoy cocktails and a swishy dinner in NYC with fellow workfolk. Again. Normally he declines the dinner invitation so he can have a late dinner with his wife. Which would be so sweet if it weren’t for the fact that his wife has to make and clean up after said late dinner. So… yeah. Fun.
But this night he accepted the dinner invitation, creating a free evening for me and my three angelic offspring.
As luck would have it, all three were wearing outfits that neither embarrassed nor confused me. So I dolled myself up a bit in preparation of a nice meal at a kid-friendly restaurant like Rizutto’s or Bertucci’s.
Now, if you don’t currently have kids I should explain: dirty and snot-smeared is the new black, and taking children to dinner is the new nightclubbing. When you have kids, your old life doesn’t “change” so much as it ceases to exist. Kids become your life, and you learn to appreciate small things such as sitting on a dry toilet seat or having someone else wash your dishes.
Anyhoo, back to dinner with the kids. We settled into a booth and placed our order without incident. We all had reasonably tasteful outfits, adequate table manners, and the kids weren’t screaming fart jokes. And–-I swear I’m not lying—my oldest son shared something about his day at school!
The older couple next to us complimented me on my well-behaved children, which made me smug and generously sympathetic of parents with less tame charges.
Then out of nowhere my oldest starts complaining, my youngest starts accusing the middle one of having fecal matter on her forehead, forcing the middle one to hit the younger one, setting off shrieks that may or may not have caused the accident on the Sherwood Island Connector.
It’s this kind of behavior that ruins the fantasy other people have of my perfect life.
The tab magically appeared, which I promptly paid, and I begin shoving my pack of snarling, snapping wolverines toward the exit.
Humbled, I mumbled an apology to the couple next to us. “We have children of our own,” the wife kindly responded, “We understand.”
And for the understanding of these and many other parents in Westport, which is extended to me more times than I care to fathom, I am eternally grateful.