The other night I received a text from a good friend of mine:
S: You wanna get some Chinese dinner for tomorrow night?
Me: You and me or the whole family?
S: Whole fam... or I guess we could leave them all together with a take and bake pizza and me and you could eat a meal in peace!
Me: Ha! (gulp) yeah, we're game
S: Awesome. Ask K if she wants to come too
Now let me explain this: I have three children. S has two children. K has three children. We were contemplating bringing our entire families out for dinner IN PUBLIC!
I was nervous the whole day preceding this experiment of ours. It's one thing to bring your rambunctious kids out to eat. I do have respect for other diners and it's only been a month since J and I have relaxed our no eating in public only drive thru stance due to Soren finally behaving when we attempt to go out. I actually agree with a lot of folks that young kids who can't sit in a booth for 30 minutes really shouldn't be eating out unless it is a REALLY family friendly restaurant. And I respect that the adults who go out to dinner may actually be trying to get a break from their own crazy kids and may not want my two year old staring at them from over the booth, licking his lips as they *try* to enjoy their own feast.
So take my family, multiply by 2.97 and that's what we were going to attempt. It would make any mom cringe in fear of all that could easily go wrong.
We joined my friends at the local Chinese buffet restaurant and mentally apologized to the waitress as we asked for a table for (gulp) fourteen. Six adults and eight kids ranging from age 1-9. I already started calculating the ginormous tip we would offer to placate our waitress.
BUT, miracle of miracles, every child behaved perfectly. The older kids got their own table beside us adults. The younger two hung out on our laps. there was NO fighting! there was NO squabbling! The kids actually stayed in line nicely to choose their foods at the buffet line and ATE what they chose!!!
We parents tried to have a normal conversation, but you could feel the air crackling with anticipated tension, all of us waiting for the moment we would have to jump up and try to save the other diners from impending doom and tantrums. It's like waiting for the other shoe to drop, only you have eight shoes that could be thrown at any time. And yet.... the shoes stayed on.
Maybe we got lucky. Maybe we don't give our kids enough credit. HAHAHAHA Ok, even I couldn't write that last sentence with a straight face. But whatever the cause, however the stars and planets aligned, six parents somehow pulled off the major coup of bringing eight young children out for dinner together, without a hitch. It was an amazing feeling and all of us parental units breathed a huge sigh of relief when we stepped out and realized that we tempted fate and won.
You do realize we're stupid enough to have discussed the possibility of making this a monthly habit.