Last Friday, Will promoted to yellow belt in karate. At his studio, they have a “Little Dragons” class for 4-6-year-olds, in which they wear white belts with stripes. Even though he’s only five, his instructors thought he was ready to jump up to the kids’ class based on the fact that Will is a) super intense and focused, and b) a self-proclaimed ninja.
Each time that he promotes to a new belt, I let him choose where we eat dinner. Choices in the past have included hibachi, steakhouses, and McDonald’s (blech). Last Friday, Will chose a Chinese buffet. A Chinese buffet. Don’t get me wrong--I love all things Asian when it comes to food, and I am SO appreciative that my children will eat just about anything I put in front of them, but eating at buffets is just plain scary and gross to me.
There’s a Chinese restaurant a couple of miles from our house that we get take-out from on a pretty regular basis. The food is actually really good, and most importantly, there’s a wide view of the kitchen, so I don’t have to worry about what’s lurking around the dishes being prepared. (After having a dad who worked in the food industry for fifteen years, you learn a few things.) In good mom fashion, I took the boys in and loaded their plates with chicken and rice and most importantly, red jello (because that’s really why Will wanted Chinese food).
Nestled in a booth between two families who could have singlehandedly sunk the Titanic, we ate our warmish food and talked about what a great job Will did in his belt ceremony. Ben ate a ridiculous amount of rice, and Will ate a ridiculous amount of smoked chicken (including the portion that I couldn’t finish of my own), and we finished off the night with some froyo from the machine.
All in all, the dining experience was relatively uneventful--which is always a good thing when you’re dining with a 5yo and 2yo by yourself. I have to say that eating out with children is not always pleasant, but we’re finally getting to the point where it’s not an ordeal. My kids are relatively well-behaved and about the business of eating when we’re in restaurants, and I’m really thankful to be past the point in my life when I had to eat everything with my fingers while nursing a baby.
You know what my biggest nightmare is when it comes to eating out with children, though? Kids eat free nights. Like I said, my kids are generally well-behaved. Why on God’s green earth would I want to purposely go to a mediocre restaurant packed with demonic spawn just to save $8 on free kids meals? This is nuts to me.
Of the handful of times I’ve ventured into a restaurant to meet friends for a KEF event, I spent the entire time screaming to be heard over the sound of caterwauling banshees. And God bless the poor souls with no children who just happen to have a hankering for Moe’s on a Tuesday night. You see them huddled in the corner, shielding their burritos from slobbery binkies flung by snotty toddlers, holding on to their chips and salsa with that “Why, God!?!” look on their face. I don’t blame them, but one word to them--forgive these parents, for they know not what they do. Sleep-deprivation does weird things to people--like make them think it’s a good idea to drag four sticky, wild-haired, unmatching, boogerpots into an eating establishment to ruin a roomful of strangers’ dinner.
Anyway, I digress. So, we had a pleasant meal together at the Chinese buffet, and when it came time to pay, I had Will open our fortune cookies and read them to us. Here’s what we got:
|This was Ben's. Although he's a man of few words at age two, this totally makes sense.|
|This was Will's. Anyone who has met Will can testify that he is a classic extrovert and would like nothing more than to be surrounded at all times by friends.|
|This was mine. WTF? No, seriously! WTF? This is the worst fortune I've ever received from a cookie. I'm what's left? I don't even know what that means, and if I did, I'm pretty sure I would totally be pissed!|