I'll Have What He's Having

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As I previously mentioned, my cooking skills leave a lot to be desired. Thus, we end up eating out in restaurants quite often. My darlings have become quite the little connoisseurs of restaurant cuisine.

You would think they would act like midget food critics with table manners of an 87 year old church lady going out to eat so often.

Instead, they act like it is their first time out of the insane asylum in the backwoods of Tennessee. I don’t even know why we continue to take them out. Oh yeah, I think because it’s illegal to starve your children. A crying shame too because missing a meal or two might cure them of this entitlement complex they seemed to have developed over the past few years.

Every time we get in the car around dinner or lunch time they ask, “where are we going to eat?”.

It’s our fault, I’m sure. We’ve indulged them a little too much. They’ve had seafood and steak before most children even graduate from Gerber Stage 4.

Ever since he was about 6 or 7, my oldest has declined the kids’ menu with a look of disdain from the usually overzealous hostess offering him a paper menu and crayons. In fact, today, we went to Rainforest Cafe and I thought my son was going to stab the hostess in the eye with the paper crown she was trying to place on his head. As he dodged it like a prize boxer in a fight, I remarked pointedly to her, “If you want to keep all your limbs I suggest you give that up and give him the adult menu.”

He is highly insulted when wait staff offer him children’s menus or bring him the child’s size of chocolate milk (but in all honesty, how many adults actually order chocolate milk?) It’s because he’s a bit on the short side (my fault entirely…his father is 6 foot) and he has a baby face. It’s like he’s trying to prove something by waltzing into Red Lobster, ordering the Ultimate Feast and finishing the whole thing. Why yes ma’am, I am a big boy.

But anyway, I digress…as I often do. We sat down to a late lunch and it began.

“I don’t wanna be here…” The older one whined, arms across his chest. He dislikes the Rainforest because of the big gorilla that comes to life. And that makes him want to poop his pants.

When we told him where we were going to eat he literally kicked and screamed in the car that he was calling the authorities to report us for child abuse. My husband offered to pull the car over and dial for him.

“Go ahead,” he dared. “Let them know your horrible parents are taking you out to a restaurant after a day of shopping for clothes for you. Oh, and please put it on speaker. I want to hear when they laugh at you.”

The little one (girl of no fear), laughed maniacally at her brother. “Look! There’s a jungle spider coming down from the ceiling,” she taunted.

“Ah!!! Where, where?” The Boy frantically grabbed at his hair. “Get it off me! Get it off me!”

“There is no spider,” I told him. “She’s just teasing you.” I turned to the Girl. “Don’t tease your brother.”

She shrugged and went back to coloring her menu. The older one grunted with annoyance and opened his menu to begin studying it. My husband flagged over the waitress to bring him a drink menu.

After about thirty seconds (in which time I was not even able to read past the appetizers), my son folded his menu closed and announced, “I’m having the steak and lobster combo. It’s $26.99 and you’re not going to stop me.”

“Like hell I’m not,” my husband retorted. “This is lunch, not your wedding.”

“This is so unfair,” the Boy declared. “You drag me to a place I hate the least you can do is let me get what I want.”

“Get a burger,” my husband hissed. “We are here for burgers.”

“I don’t want a burger!”

At this time, the waitress cheerfully reappeared, assuming a normal family would have made up their mind by now.

“Are you all set to order?” she asked in a sing song voice.

“No,” we answered in angry unison. She slunk away.

“Mommy, play tic tac toe with me,” the little one urged as she poked me with a crayon.

“What are you getting?” I asked her. She must know what she’s getting if she’s playing games already.

“I dunno.” She shrugged her shoulders.

“Well, can you please look?”

“I have to go to the bathroom,” she told me. Of course you do.

I take her to the bathroom where she tries every stall before deciding on the dirtiest one and can hear the boys are still arguing when we return.

“She gets everything she wants,” the older one accuses, pointing his finger in his sister’s direction as she climbs back into her seat.

“Yeah I want the kid pizza. It’s $5.99, not the price of a Build a Bear,” she tells her brother, sticking her tongue out at him. Ah, I see where this is going. She’s sucking up to go to Build a Bear.

“You see that?” The older one throws his hands up in the air and huffs.

“Knock it off,” I tell the older one before turning to the older one. “Grow a pair. Her sticking her tongue out is not going to hurt you.”

“She’s such a baby,” he whines.

Suddenly a blue crayon goes flying past and hit him square in the forehead.

“Ouch! She threw a crayon at me!”

“I saw. Don’t throw crayons,” I remarked dryly.

“That’s it? You’re not going to punish her for throwing crayons?”

I ignore him because the waitress has returned and I haven’t even looked at the menu. “Are we all set to order?”

“Start with them,” I tell her.

She turns to my son who says, “They won’t let me get what I want so I guess I’ll have the disgusting burger.” The waitress stares at me, appalled.

“I think he means this one,” I point to my menu. “He’ll have it medium.”

She nods and then turns to my daughter. “I’ll have the Mac and Cheese.”

“I thought you were getting the kid pizza?”

“I changed my mind. Can’t I change my mind?”

I quickly scramble to read over the menu as my husband orders.

I feel hot breath in my ear as I try to decide between barbecue pork and some cheesy chicken sandwich. “Mommy, I have to go to the bathroom.”

“That’s impossible. We were just in there.”

“I really have to go!” She grabs herself and hops up and down.

“Ok, wait one minute. I have to order.”

“No I have to go NOW. I’m gonna pee myself if I wait one minute!” She pounded the table with her fists, causing the next table of elderly ladies to recoil in horror. Oh please ladies, if you wanted a quiet dining experience what the hell are you doing at the Rainforest Cafe?

“Let me just tell the waitress…”

“I feel the pee coming NOW!!!”

I leap to my feet, shouting at my husband, “Order me the chicken!” praying that there is only one chicken on the menu.

After yet another bathroom visit in which I have to shush my child at least ten times when she asks why the “man” (a really manly looking woman) is using the girls’ room, we return to the table and the sullen looking males of our family. They both have their arms crossed.

I don’t even want to know what they’re arguing about so I ask, “What store are we going to next?” Stupid question.

“I don’t want to go to a store. I want to go home and play my game,” my son announces.

“You spend too much time in front of the TV playing video games,” the king of the couch potatoes replies.

“You suck! You treat me like a baby,” the older one shouts as he blows bubbles in his chocolate milk.

“You need Midol,” my husband says crankily.

“No, you need Midol,” the older one retorts.

I ignore them and turn to my daughter, asking her where she wants to go. She’s the only one at the table I don’t want to strangle at this very moment.

“I want to go to Build A Bear,” my daughter announces happily as she clamors under the table to retrieve her crayon. She resurfaces, crying and clutching her arm.

“He kicked me in the arm!”

As usual, I am mortified as I shoot the older one a dirty look.

“Why did you kick her?”

“Because she’s stupid and she shouldn’t be under the table.” He has a look of smug satisfaction on his face.

The meal arrives just then. Everyone takes a bite of their meal and within seconds it falls apart. My son turns his nose up at the very scrumptious looking burger (which I know for a fact he would eat in a heartbeat if it had been served at Ruby Tuesdays) and makes retching noises while my daughter is holding her stomach and moaning, “I’m full…” To make matters worse, this is not the chicken I wanted.

I turn to my husband who is on his second glass of Sangria, ignoring the scene unraveling in front of him, happily chewing his burger and scrolling down Facebook on his phone. The waitress passes just then and I grab her arm.

Pointing to the hurricane glass in front of my husband, I tell her, “Miss, I’ll have what he’s having.”

And that, ladies and gentleman, is why Mommy needs a drink when we go out to eat.

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