My sons have made comments over the years that I wanted to share with you. Like most embarrassing events the following quotes made in public, almost all of which were said very loudly in restaurants. These establishments were usually full of people, who unfortunately for them; were eating. I’ve never found a parenting book that prepares you for, or provides you with the appropriate response to the following – but read on and you’ll be prepared; maybe…
“I just went Number Two and it was this long!” My youngest held his hands approximately 18 inches apart and had a huge smile on his face. We were unable to verify his claim due to a lack of tape measure and the efficiency of the plumbing system at the facility. However, most of the other people in the restaurant appeared to take his word for it since no one argued with him over their meals.
“He just had a booger, now he doesn’t! And he’s ‘itching’ the inside of his mouth again…” Professional magician? No, professional nose miner.
“No! Dads have a 'peenie' like we do – Moms don’t.” I’m not really sure what brought this up at the Outback Steakhouse, but we left shortly thereafter. Loud comments like this in public places make every car in your rear view window look surprisingly like a Child Welfare surveillance vehicle. How would a four-year old know this? It must be that progressive education system I keep hearing about.
My 2 year-old was in his car seat in the back of the car while I was driving one afternoon and he made a noise that I couldn’t identify. He stretched his hand up to me between the gap in the front seats; his face was twisted in a grimace. I asked him what was up and I passed my open hand back to comfort him. He put his hand in mine and said “Nasty!”. He then dragged his index finger back across my open palm. When he was done, I found a booger the size of a Chevrolet Chevette on my palm. He was right, it was nasty.
“You want flies with that?” Apparently fruit flies are attracted to the corn syrup that accumulates on soda fountain nozzles at fast-food places during warm summer months. We discovered this at a fine dining establishment a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, we didn’t know this until the fruit fly was discovered by my nine-year old at the BOTTOM of his Sprite (that he just drank – yes, all the way to the bottom). We did, however, discover that McDonald’s employees respond quickly to the sound of vomiting in the dining area. The above “You want flies with that?” quote was uttered by my middle son just prior to our test of restaurant’s EVRT (Emergency Vomit Removal Team – pronounced, ‘Eeeeevvrrrrttt!’). In case you’re wondering, they’re pretty good.
In the event that you need to spend time with your children in public there are basic rules that must be followed (write these down):
- If you dine in a fine restaurant (you should NEVER, EVER do this), select seats as far away from other diners as possible – most of the finest restaurants offer curbside, or drive-through dining. Utilize these options whenever possible.
- Huddle your family around you so you do not lose, or inadvertently add to, your family’s headcount. If you find you have one more person than you came with, return immediately to wherever you were and tell the child (preferably the one that doesn’t look like you) to, “Stay here and wait for someone that looks vaguely familiar to walk by and follow them…”
- Have your children order from the ‘kids menu’ at ANY restaurant you visit until they’ve grown more facial hair than Jeff Bridges as featured in that Iron Man movie. Sure, the folks who own the place won’t be happy with you, but the people at the counter will usually just smile because they do the same thing at the competitor’s place down the street
- Avoid restaurants that offer table-service. I’ve heard ‘rumors’ that ‘servers’ expect something called ‘tips’ in exchange for delivering the food to your table. Instead, choose a restaurant that allows your entire family into the kitchen and lets you bring your food to the table yourself. It’s much ‘funnier’, ‘cheaper’ and greatly narrows down your dining options. Also, it's better than tossing someone not related to you 12 - 15% of the value of your meal for about 3 minute’s work. If you have to utilize table-service remember to have your kids spill at least one drink each to justify the tip (don’t worry, the kids will do this for you anyway).
Oh, and one last thought… The next time you hit the self-serve drink dispenser, make sure you give it a quick tap in advance of filling YOUR cup to discharge any gnatty little ‘hangers-on’ that may be waiting there just for you.