My cousin, Jocelyn, and I went out last night to dinner with the kids (her 2 and my 1). We didn't do anything fancy. Our kids were messy from playing outside in the dirt and from picking raspberries in the yard before heading off to supper. We went to the best place we know, Ocean Pizza in Old Orchard Beach, where her mom owns a pizza and Italian restaurant.
Knowing the cook has its benefits when you have three kids under age 6 running around. We walked right in, didn't even place an order, but instead my cousin made our two pizzas herself. One of the pizzas was the best kids' pizza ever including slices with an assortment of broccoli, ham, pineapple, green pepper, tomatoes and black olives, and of course a few cheese pieces for whichever kid decided to be picky tonight.
Within 10 minutes of getting there we had drinks, napkins, two high chairs and a big kid-friendly pizza on the table for those three hungry boys. All was going great. We even had a few moments while the workers entertained the boys for my cousin and I to catch up ("How is Tyler's new school going?" and "Are you still nursing Brady or is he totally weaned now?" and "Wow, Owen's gotten so big. How much does he weigh these days? He must be the 90th percentile in height!" Yes, this is what we moms talk about now... and honestly I love it and have never had more in common than I do now with some people!)
(Look at her youngest and my only... only a year ago... so innocent!)
So moving on toward dinner... we rush to cut up and cool the piping hot pizza for our kids, sneaking bites ourselves because we're both realizing we haven't eaten in hours.
And then it starts.
The crying because the food is taking too long to cool down and be edible for babies to eat.
The whining that he didn't want that kind of pizza, he wanted another kind.
The throwing of the food that yesterday he would have eaten but now is deciding not to touch.
The ugly stares from tourists at the table next to us, just trying to go out on a dinner date.
The incessant questions from the very kind but probably secretly annoyed waitress asking if there is anything more she can get us.
So finally we give in. Our kids have eaten... well, something, we think, surely some of this mess got into their mouths right?!
We let them down, out of the contained high chairs, just as our pizza arrives, the first piping hot meal we've seen in probably weeks, as is per usual to feed the kids first and eat last when it's cold.
Within seconds one child is throwing an airplane across people dining in the restaurant, as another child chases him, almost tripping 14 times, causing us to gasp and almost choke on our own food. Food, that we are shoveling into our mouths, somewhat out of sheer hunger having had no time to feed ourselves all day, but mostly because we know any second now the kids will have a melt down, want to get to bed or trip and fall or...
And spoke too soon. Just then, after we've eaten maybe one piece of pizza, my cousin's youngest trips and falls, cutting his lip. Insert screaming crying here from her hurt child and from my sensitive-to-other-babies-crying child... and we have our anticipated melt down.
A few moments later my cousin has a huge red spot of blood on the shoulder of her shirt where her child was crying and bleeding. She decides perhaps it's time to go. Back in the kitchen of the restaurant I agree it's time to leave, after we've barely had five minutes to talk to each other, and we're both laughing... hysterically, like, "Yup, this is our lives... crazy right?!" I flash back at that moment to when we were kids, sleeping over her house, riding her horse, and just being silly little girls, without a care in the world, and endless hours to just talk.
It's at that moment, after having giggled and felt like a kid for one second, escaping from the responsibilities of parenthood... that my son decides to grab a huge knife from the kitchen counter, while he's in my arms no less, and wave it in front of him as if he's about to lick it for some reason. I scream, out loud, and toss it onto the counter. Every worker and customer in the place turns to look at this horrible version of a mom who has somehow managed to allow her child to grab a knife while she was holding him.
And for the second time in 10 minutes I say again, "OK, I think that's enough fun for one night. We're leaving!" My cousin says she's right behind me and starts to say something like "we'll have to do this again soon" but I cut her off and tell her next time we'll put all three kids to bed at her house while I run out for take out pizza... and margaritas!
Yes, it's real. None of this is made up. It's just a night out with the kids. I shared this with you for a couple of reasons. One, to let you know the truth of how crazy it can be sometimes. Two, to show you that you really should stop yourself when you think, "You know what, I want to go OUT!" and instead stay inside, for the love of God, just stay in! Three, I share this with you to remind you that it's SO fun having girl friends who are moms, who know just what it's like. Keep those gals close to you. You'll need them when you decide that yes, you deserve a night out, too.
Finally, to those naysayers out there who are just trying to eat quietly, CHILL OUT. We moms (and dads) deserve to go out sometimes, too. Believe me, however annoying, frustrating, stressful or terribly ruined your night is because we are sitting at the table next to you with our loud children... trust me, it's doubly worse for we, the parents who were just honestly trying to have some small piece of normal back in our crazy parenthood lives. Please excuse us. You probably won't see us again anyway. We're ordering take-out next time.