I would have posted this sooner, but my computer access was limited on vacation. Also, I’ve been recovering from several consecutive dinners at restaurants with my two adorable but occasionally horribly behaved children.
When you’re engaged, all you see are brides. When you’re pregnant, all you see are pregnant women (and babies and strollers and car seats and diaper bags…). Ironically, when you have two kids who are despicably behaved in restaurants (i.e. they’re loud and whiny, irritate nearby diners, refuse to eat anything, won’t sit down in their chairs and won’t let you sit down in your chair for one freakin’ minute to take a bite of food or a precious gulp of wine), all you see are well-behaved children sitting nicely, talking quietly and eating chicken.
You resign yourself to the fact that you’ve somehow spoiled your children and failed miserably as a parent (or at least in the how-to-behave-in-a-restaurant department), and you won’t ever be able to take them out to eat unless they’re sedated or 30-something years old (perhaps with their own naughty little children!).
The day after a particularly disastrous outing, you climb the stairs of the poolside eatery to go to the bathroom and pass a table where a family with young children like yours is eating lunch. (You have fed your kids poolside on this day to keep your head from exploding…again.)
You can’t help but overhear the mother say, “Enough! There are other people here trying to eat,” and then, “Sit down!” and then, “Cut it out or we’re leaving.” You smile briefly at the mother. She probably feels embarrassed or thinks you feel bad for her, but actually, you want to wrap your arms around her in a big bear hug and say thank you.
As you continue toward the bathroom, the tension between your shoulders releases a little bit and a smile spreads across your face when you realize – at least for a fleeting moment – that you are one of many mothers with small children who turn into baboons when they cross the threshold of any restaurant, bistro or café. You also remember you have a babysitter coming that evening to watch the kids so you can have a peaceful dinner surrounded by adults. Most likely, all you will notice at the restaurant that evening are ill-behaved children and mothers (and maybe some fathers) with exploding heads.