Restaurant Possible: The Secret To Dining With Kids
~By Kim Strickland, novelist and blogger at A City Mom
Dear Rookie Mom Kim,
You’ve been carrying it around for years now, and the time has come. Fess up to the Great Ice Cream Sundae Incident.
It happened during vacation. Your family had rented a condo in Florida, but instead of arriving in the early afternoon as planned (with plenty of time to buy groceries), a delayed flight forced you and your husband to take your then 2-year-old twin sons out to dinner. Unfortunately for you, the closest open restaurant was on the fancy side. The very fancy side. Even with the time change, it was more than an hour past bedtime. And it was late for the kids too.
Knowing the only thing worse than over-tired kids was hungry and over-tired kids, you decided to risk it. It was to be a targeted mission. Get in. Order. Eat. Get out. No appetizers. No dessert and coffee. You knew the stakes were high.
The restaurant could not have been more wonderful and kid friendly: a kids’ menu with crayons! An efficient and sweet waitress! What could go wrong? (Note to self: stop asking that.) The waitress brought out the boys’ dinners first. How wonderful. They dove in and ate while you and your husband waited for your entrees. And waited. It wasn’t an inordinately long wait, but when you’re up against the body-clocks of two active 2-year-olds, ten minutes can feel like ten hours. The boys were nearing the completion of their meal, and your food still hadn’t arrived. Should you get your meal to go? Should you run away screaming?
And then it happened. You got an idea. Your wonderful, awful idea: order the boys dessert. You mentioned it out loud. Your husband was in. He then flagged down the waitress and ordered two ice cream sundaes from the kids’ menu, which arrived shortly after your entrees did. But these were not your ordinary kids’ menu ice cream sundaes. Oh no. They were served in tall parfait glasses, with hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry on top, and brought out on high, on a tray that passed through the entire restaurant.
Your wonderful plan was working. You ate your dinner. Your sons ate their desserts. Everyone was happy. Everyone except all the other children in the restaurant. That tray with the sundaes? It had crossed the field of vision of every single kid in the place. It started with a whine off to your left. Then another behind you. Then tears at the table to your right. A mom across from you gave you the stink eye.
But, Kim, you must forgive yourself. You were able to finish your meal. Your kids fell asleep right after crashing from their sugar high. It truly was an inspired and wonderful idea, albeit on the unpopular side with the other parents. Note to self: If you had to do it all over again, don’t try it in a place where you’ll be staying for an entire week.
Very truly yours,
Kim, the mom I am now
About Kim Strickland
Kim is the author or two novels, Down at the Golden Coin and Wish Club. When not writing, speaking, or attending literary events, Kim Strickland is flying as a First Officer on a Boeing 767 and jetting off to Europe or South America. You can read more of Kim’s wonderful work at ChicagoNow.
[Photo Credit: Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net]