Marsha Delaney: Posted on Thursday, January 03, 2013 6:06 PM
|This past weekend, I couldn’t help but be excited when my husband suggested that we all go out to lunch. You see, although the mere thought of taking my children out to eat anywhere causes the possible beginnings of little ulcers in my stomach, my husband is almost never willing to venture out to eat because of the cost of something “not necessary.”
My inner voice repeated, “Mistaaaaaaeeeeekkkkkke,” but my love of eating out ignored it. Once again, it was a bad mommy moment. I let temptation get the best of me. My husband had a craving for Chinese. PF Chang’s again. I couldn’t believe I’d agreed to go there (particularly after my previous scathing review of their gluten-free menu/establishment). I reasoned with myself by stating that at least their food didn’t make my daughter sick; it just gave her the atrocious behavioral part of her condition (which meant that she’d had cross-contamination instead of outright gluten). I thought that if perhaps I spoke with the manager upon our arrival and asked that every precaution be taken to avoid the aforementioned cross-contamination issues, that we could leave there unscathed.
I did speak with the manager upon our arrival. He was impressive. He said he would speak with our waiter and the kitchen staff to ensure that there was no cross-contamination. I breathed a sigh of relief and sat down.
Truth be told, I was embarrassed to be there. I hoped nobody recognized me. It just didn’t seem right to eat in a place I’d berated. I tried to lay low.
Our kids were pretty good… for a while. They sat, they colored and they waited. There wasn’t much drama except for my own clumsiness when I knocked over my son’s apple juice, spilling it over the entire table. When their food came, they ate. After a bit, my youngest got antsy. She tried to climb the wall separating her seat from the booth next to ours. A little more into the meal, my son got antsy. He couldn’t sit still. Our oldest daughter turned angry. She wanted to leave. We were still eating.
The two youngest couldn’t take it anymore. My three-year-old ducked under the table, made a break for it, and sprinted through the dining room. My son followed her. We quietly yelled at them, telling them to “get back here!” They ignored us. I dashed after them. We were the people everyone looked at. I know they were wondering why we couldn’t control our kids. I was wondering the same thing. This continued like a stupid little dance through the restaurant. I got them back to the table where, they again, took off and sprinted through the dining room like it was a flippin’ racetrack.
Back at the table, my husband and I deeply regretted taking our little monsters out to eat. It just wasn’t worth it. We weren’t entirely sure if it was the food they ate or if we ate out so infrequently that they had no idea how to behave in public.
We had to push forward and finish eating. We tried, but the kids were too distracting. There was no way they were going to be able to wait until we paid the check. I had to give up and take them outside to stretch their legs. This would have been okay, but after a while, when my husband came back outside, my littlest one took off back inside. She cut off an elderly woman who was about to go into the turnstile door. I got to the door, apologized to the poor lady, and slipped into the revolving door one door behind my daughter. I wasn’t fast enough. She sprinted past the reception desk, past the dining room, and directly into the kitchen where she slipped on water and nearly took a cook and a waiter down in the process. She was like a little, hyperactive bowling ball out of control. Horribly embarrassed, I scooped her up, apologized profusely and got the hell out of there.
I can’t say for certain that it was the food, but it probably was. They were fine before they had anything to eat. Or perhaps we’re just horrible parents whose children have no idea how to behave in public. Either way, we’re not taking our chances there again. If they see us coming, they’ll probably throw us out, anyway.
Sorry, PF Chang’s.