Prior to having children, nothing would get under my skin more than going out to eat at a restaurant where wild and untamed children were present. If parents just sat there, completely oblivious, while their child(ren) wreaked havoc on the establishment, I secretly plotted evil ways to punish them (the parents). Sneeze on their food? Throw a plastic roach on their plate? Make vomit sounds and pour out a can of Cream of Mushroom soup near their feet?
Of course, being the scaredy cat that I am, I did none of those things. I just sat there, quietly wishing I was somewhere else - like a beach or even at my gynecologist's office - just any place where those children weren't.
Then I became a mom.
And once you become a mom, you see things more clearly. You empathize with the mother-of-three who has puffs in her greasy hair, old sweatpants with holes in the knees, a bottle in one hand and a sippy cup in the other. You understand that sometimes it's not easy, nay impossible, to control an ill-tempered toddler on a mission. A mission to destroy your meal. A mission to destroy the meals of everyone within a 2 mile radius.
At lunch the other day, I, my friends, was the greasy haired puff mom. Except my hair wasn't greasy, and there weren't any puffs in it, but I was completely and utterly controlled by my demon spawn child. A meal that should've been perfectly lovely, turned into my own personal hell on earth. A hell so scary that Linda Blair herself would be too scared to witness.
So, it started out innocently enough. Anna was looking cute in her matching tights and shirt. The restaurant was bright and active and loud - three key factors when dining with a toddler. It was the first time we'd been to this place, so we were excited to try the cuisine and enjoy the atmosphere. We sat at our table and patiently waited for the high chair. First mistake.
Anna has issues with high chairs. Many of you know this since I talk about this incessantly. She got a dose of freedom while waiting for the waitress to bring the high chair, so that was all she wrote.
When we tried to put her into the high chair...Fit #1.
Ok, ok, you win, little spawn. At this point, we were still under the radar. The mini-meltdown was under control, no one was looking our way, phew.
Since Anna refused to sit in her high chair, my mother assumed the duty of being the baby holder. Anna rather enjoyed sitting in her Mimi's lap, I rather enjoyed having her sit in Mimi's lap, too. Anna's newest obession is jumping up and down on you like she's riding a horse. It's always a lot of fun when you've just eaten or are in the process of eating. So, I figured I'd be a good daughter and let my mother be the horse for the day.
This worked out fine until Anna got a hold of her plate and fork and decided she'd be the Little Drummer Boy and play her very own version of that Parumpapumpum song. The fork clanged against the plate and echoed in our little booth area. Her repeated attempts at getting every single customer in the place to look our way were finally starting to work. Clang, clang, clang. Stares, gnashing of teeth.
I grabbed the fork from her...fit #2.
Fit #2 was progressively worse than fit #1. Anna's head was starting to rotate all the way around at this point. Until I gave the fork back to her, my child transformed into a scary little creature. Once she had the fork, she began her drum solo again. This time on my hand. I have the scars to prove it.
The waitress, noticing that we were in distress, was kind enough to bring a plate of fries to Anna. This kept her entertained long enough for us to order our meals. By now, I could see a meltdown more colossal than the Chernobyl disaster brewing up in my child. I did what I could to keep it at bay - I threw packs of sugar at her, tried to get her to eat more fries - anything to distract her from her attempt at a takedown. My attempts were all in vain.
At this point Anna had decided that she wanted to talk to the people in the booth behind us. The problem is she can't talk. I mean, how many times can the word, "HEYYY" be cute to a couple of young people? They smiled and acknowledged her which was the absolute worst thing they could've done. Now that she had their attention, she wanted to chat with them. She doesn't understand the concept of inside voice (even though I make sure to let her watch that Yo Gabba Gabba episode every time it's on).
So, she shouted "HEY" at the top of her lungs until we made her turn around...fit #3.
Fit #3 was progressively worse than fits #1 and 2. Anna projectile vomited pea soup and shouted expletives that would make any sailor blush. Tubular Bells began playing in the background. I went to grab the cross in my purse.
(Ok, I really hope that you guys have watched the Exorcist otherwise my attempt at humor is totally lost at this point.)
By this point, people were staring. And talking. Staring and talking - a bad combination. I could see the malice in their eyes. I could sense the hate and the frustration. These people were me before I had kids. I was now the puff-haired mom trying to fight back the urge to run out of the restaurant screaming, "You don't know my life! Don't judge me, yo!"
By now there was really no hope - my child had hit thermonuclear meltdown status/bad demon possession status. There's no reasoning with a toddler. There's nothing you can do.
We hurriedly ate our meals and scampered out of there as quickly as we could. I swear they clapped when we left. I made a vow to Jesus to not bring Anna to another restaurant until she's at least 18. I will spare the innocent by-standers from what I now know as the face of evil.
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