We never know, when taking our little darlings into public, what the end result will be. There’s no rhyme or reason to when they will behave and when they will terrorize everyone and everything around them. As a parent it’s embarrassing and we all hate it when our child chooses the latter.
Recently my wife and I took our child to the Old Spaghetti Factory in Nashville, Tn (you can read the review here). As with all things in public there is never any way to know how our child will behave, especially at a restaurant. Will he scream? Throw food? Climb into and out of the chair? Will he decide to play an impromptu game of chase through the other tables in the restaurant? Probably.
We like to think of our children as tiny humans, but really they’re not. Children are a species all their own. Their behavior is course and imposing. They often don’t speak our language, or if they do it’s only broken English. And quite frankly they don’t abide by our rituals whether in public or private. They have not assimilated yet. And that’s okay to a point, there are times it’s not, but then there are times when it is hilarious to watch them completely ignore public decorum and etiquette.
On this particular day my wife and I were feeling adventurous and hopeful. Spaghetti is known for being messy, but it’s a risk we were willing to take. We had an extra change of clothes for the child and wipes to clean up the aftereffects of the meal.
So we walked, smiling and happy, into a fairly nice establishment and were seated in short order. We ordered our food and even though there were other things he could have eaten the child asked for the spaghetti (of course). My wife, ever positive, went along with the choice and I grinned to myself. I knew what was coming.
Our food was served and the attentive mother in my wife came out. She showed the child for the hundredth time how to wind the spaghetti around the tines of the fork and fed him a few bites. At this point all was well in the world. Then she turned over the fork to the child. My grin grew a little, but to my amazement he tried to mimic what she had been doing.
He loosely wrapped the noodles around his fork as best he could, touching up his work here and there with his off-hand and the to my astonishment wiped that hand on a napkin my wife had tucked into the collar of his shirt. This went on for some minutes with him trying valiantly to use the proper utensils for eating and slurping up what he couldn’t get in his mouth with only a minor mess around his lips. By the end of those few minutes my mouth was hanging open.
It was like watching evolution take place in front of my eyes. Then reality crashed back home with the soft “click” of a fork being laid down. With a simple “Nom nom nom.” from my child he announced that he would take no more part that day in our ways and that his inner heathen was to be let out.
My wife’s face turned to a look of horror when she realized what was about to happen and she pleaded with our two year old child to use his fork, but to no avail. His hands reached toward his bowl and he burried them up to his wrists in a pile of spaghetti. The cuffs on his long-sleeved shirt skimmed across the top of the marinara sauce and he plowed two handfuls of noodles into his face exclaiming how good they were with a simple “Mmm”.
I laughed quietly about the child’s viking like ravenous eating and my wife gave in, accepting her fate as well. We all laughed at his antics and said that he would at least eat well enough for lunch. And, in reality, this is all that really matters. Clothes can wash and so can babies.
By the end of the ordeal he had eaten nearly all of his spaghetti and even the waiter got a laugh out of it, noting his zombie-like appearance. Admittedly, with his face, hands and shirt covered in marinara he did look like a future extra for The Walking Dead. We cleaned him up enough that he would not look like the heathen he is in public, and left; all still smiling and now full.
There are times when you will be at your wits end when it comes to your children. They will misbehave and embarrass you. It’s what they do best. Laugh about it every moment you can and enjoy every moment you have.
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