It's not that I don't like to eat - I do.
It's not that I love cooking - I don't.
It's that with little children, a sit down dinner at a restaurant is only just below the joy of having a crocodile nibble each of your toes slowly as an appetizer rather than just gobbling you up in one bite.
If you're one of those people who believe children should be seen and not heard, then you would not want to dine with our family. They are nice kids and oh so delightful. But even the most pleasant of children cannot sit still for 70 minutes. (I saw one try once, but his insides kept jiggling so much he finally imploded. I could barely finish my ice cream after seeing that. )
At an Irish pub the other night, I was burning quickly through my usual bag of tricks. They colored, emptied my purse contents, and made a condiment tower. The girls even explored the restaurant's antiques, pondered how to access the apps on an old wooden phone, and tried to squish each other with a clothes wringer.
|It looked kind of like this but |
with a pointier hat and a big, warty nose.
(by Dan Perry via flickr)
Finally the food came, but neither child wanted to eat ("too bready" chicken fingers and "too cheesy" mac & cheese.) I wasn't eating my "too hot" fish and chips either, causing the children-at-dinner clock to tick even louder. Then, I noticed my fish had a huge gnarly nose sticking out from under a large pointy hat.
The Fish Witch quickly mounted my fork, and an impromptu play commenced. The clumsy Fish Witch had an accident on her French-fried broom stick, dropped it in the French Fry Forest, and couldn't find it. (Side note - if you've ever wanted to get your children to throw French fries all over the table, this is a really good starting point.) The quality of the story left much to be desired, but the children were rapt.
Now if you are one of those people who believe one should not play with one's food, you would not want to dine with me. But if you have no such standards, remember you always have a story in you, and a good (or bad) story can tame even the wildest children. Especially if it's acted out with food.