If you are looking to spend a lot of money without much satisfaction and lots of stress, take some young kids out to dinner.
I have optimistically been going out to dinner with children since 2004 and despite significant evidence that this is not a good use of time or money, I boldly keep doing it.
I’ve been at restaurants where I pretended not to notice that one of my children was eating packets of butter and just imagined that he was eating it on invisible bread.
I’ve had a child dump his head into a lovely restaurant fountain. Three times.
I’ve had a child remove her shoes and socks and then put her feet on the table which might not be 100% sanitary.
I’ve written a letter of apology to a restaurant after a particularly disastrous outing. (I still need to send that by the way. I wrote it in 2008.)
On the way to a restaurant, I’ve listened to one of my children plead… “I AM SO HUNGRY. I AM SO HUNGRY. I AM REALLY STARVING. I NEED TO EAT NOW. ARE WE AT THE RESTAURANT YET? I AM STARVING TO DEATH.”
And yet, when we got there, she hardly ate anything. But you know how filling restaurant air can be.
And yet, I keep going.
Last week was not an exception.
I took my 5 kids to dinner along with a friend and her children. Despite the fact, that 2 year old Cash colored on the table, and then drew on the menu and then spilled his apple juice all over the place – everything seemed to be going pretty okay.
Until he started coughing at one point (probably due to shoving a combination of fries, fish taco, mac and cheese and mashed potatoes in his mouth), and this coughing made him throw up. All over himself. The high chair. And the floor.
Luckily this was a very busy, loud sports bar so no one really noticed.
Except for absolutely everyone sitting around us.
So here is me, having just scrubbed a sports bar rug (which can not be all that clean anyway) and my friend took a photo…
I look strangely euphoric over the whole incident but I think that’s because I’m trying not to cry. And I was also happy Cash didn’t throw up in my wine.
And by the way, my son Cash also left the restaurant with no pants. But whatever.
Of course, it won’t be long before I take them all out to dinner again. Because while some people might give up on their dreams. I will not. And someday I’m sure I will have a calm, relaxing dinner with my children.
And even if not – no matter what happens in any restaurant – there is nothing like the feeling of arriving home to a clean kitchen and no dishes.