Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dining with Children.

Being a parent, you know that there are certain experiences that are more challenging to handle with children. Shopping. Errands. Peeing. Breathing...

But by far, the most horrible of the horrible experiences has to be going out to dinner with them.

You spent a ton of money and cross your fingers, praying not to have to fork out money to assuage the disgust of anyone having a table within earshot of screeching/reach of flying spaghetti/radius of diaper smell.

As the mom, you give away most of your food and then eat your cold meal in under 6 seconds. Usually between trips to the restroom, blocking the hand-offs of scalding objects and spoon feeding so many people that you feel like a clumsy version of that Indian Goddess chick with all the arms.

Going to a restaurant leaves you fraught with panic, completely mortified and promising yourself (and sometimes the manager) that you will never eat out again.

But last night was different. My children were well behaved. Angelic even.

We were seated next to this little old woman, who was by herself reading a book. Holden, our three year old and Cora, our four year old, sat on either side of me and Phoenix, who is six, sat next to daddy. They colored their menus quietly, as Jude and I glanced awkwardly at each other.

I actually remember saying, "They are being so good that I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing now..."

He shrugged.

What did I do at dinner before children? Should we be talking about something? Oh my God, I don't even know where I'm supposed to put my hands. On the table? In my lap? They're usually moving quickly and filled with children's items.

So, we started talking, ordered drinks calmly, no tantrums or anything. I even got to read the menu. Holden decided he wanted to snuggle with me and he put his head on my arm. I tussled his hair. Cora nuzzled in too. I was in the middle of a snuggle sandwich and I was eating it up. Phoenix ran over to give me a hug and a kiss and then went right back to her seat. They were the perfect children!

OMG! Have we finally gotten to a point where we can go to a restaurant and eat now?!?

I glanced up and I caught the old woman watching us out of the corner of my eye. She was smiling. And I got that swelling of pride, you know, that feeling when you're really killing it parenting-wise and someone actually catches you doing a good job for change. I was a good mom. This woman thought I was a good mom. And my kids are good kids. We've raised good kids. I felt unstoppable.

And Holden looked over at me. And I looked into his big, baby blues.

And I saw that look. That puckered-lip-half-burp look.

And I knew that all that cute shit was over.

I grabbed a napkin and prayed that it was gonna just be a little bit.


I caught the first wave of chunky food with the napkin.

Ok, that wasn't so bad. Maybe nobody noti.....


It shot out like he was mid demon possession. Panicked, I put my hands under the stream, attempting to catch the vomit as it dripped through my fingers and onto my pants and boots. Apparently, you cannot catch vomit in your hands. Cue that "The More You Know" thingy.


I had run out of napkins and was just watching him, defeated, as he vomited straight onto the table top, which then ran off onto the floor. The Denny's dining room grew silent as people watched in horror, choking back their own vomit and trying to prevent this from becoming a vomit waterfall.

The waiter ran over, probably wishing he had spit in our entrees, an insufficient number of napkins in tow. I tried, unsuccessfully to clean up the gallons of puke.

I swear, two bites = two gallons of puke somehow.

I looked up and the old woman averted her gaze.


He had managed to pull off the long con. He ruined, not only the enjoyment of the adjoining tables' meals, but the collective appetite of the entire Denny's establishment. And then we took the parade route to the bathroom, him covered in vomit, and myself attempting to ignore the stares of disgust and whispers of disgruntled Denny's patrons.

Welp, back to "bad mom". And I smell like puke. And we can never go to Denny's again. Cross that one off the list.

Maybe we'll try again in ten years. Hopefully by then they'll remember that it's rude to puke at the dinner table. And if they do puke, I'll remember not to try to catch it.


  1. Uh, ok. Well. There went that. I was about to share with you one of my worst restaurant parenting moments...but...this one is hands down the worst I've ever heard so what's the point. Damn. I'm speechless. So, good for you at the beginning are my hero for the end. I know it's only a matter of time before the same happens to me. xo

  2. Please share, Carol! I would love to hear your worst restaurant parenting moments! We could have an embarrassing moment show down. I'm sure I have more haha. And unfortunately, I think it's a rite of passage for all moms to be thrown up on in public.

  3. I admire your bravery for even attempting to eat out. I think once #2 came along we just gave up on that. I'm guessing that particular Denny's has now been crossed off the list though?

  4. Oh, that particular Denny's is definitely off the list. My husband burned that bridge when he tipped the waiter $10. To clean puke.

    Which he swore was sufficient because our bill was only like $20 (dude, Denny's is cheap!), but if you asked me if I wanted to clean toddler vomit for $6, I would tell you to go fuck yourself.

    So yeah. That Denny's probably has our pictures on the wall now.