Yesterday I had to run some errands with the kids. Specifically I had to go to a store for my wireless carrier and try to figure out what we could do about the fact that the touch screen has begun to die on my cell phone.
And thus I got to spend my morning dealing with fussy infants who didn’t understand how technology works, or how a store works, and generally didn’t see why I was insisting on getting my phone working when there were other ways that they wanted to spend the day.
Also I had my kids with me, which didn’t help matters.
After establishing that I didn’t want to buy a new phone, the helpful employees referred me to their insurance branch. Who had a system set up to strongly discourage folks from ever filling a claim. Every step of the way involved listening to a long message as part of a phone menu, usually punctuated with dire warnings about severe legal consequences if I gave them any information other than the purest of unadulterated truth.
Eventually I noticed that I had spent the entire morning dealing with this, and it was approaching lunchtime. Specifically I noticed that my kids were beginning to freak out, and sign that it was time to eat. After briefly pondering the car trip home with a car full of screaming infants, I decided to stop at the first cheap restaurant I could find, and thus my children were introduced to the Great Wall Chinese Buffet.
Maneuvering both of them into high chairs was no picnic, but with a little help from the wait staff, I managed to get them both secured for feeding.
At first they were quite pleased with my meal selection. They liked the melon, egg rolls, and sweet and sour chicken without sauce. Essentially a Chinese Chicken McNugget…although that sounds kind of sounds racist to me. My kids stuffed their faces, and acted adorable, thus ensuring a never ending procession of cute Asian waitresses showing up at my table to fuss over them. (Note for single guys: Borrow you’re married friends kids….they’re better than having a puppy when it comes to meeting women.)
As we concluded our meal I decided to give the kids a treat, and got a selection of Jello cubes from the salad bar….because for some reason Jello is a form of salad. Which probably makes vegan and vegetarians really upset since it is made from horses. Although since no one has any reason to eat those parts of the horses it really strikes me that Jello is practically recycling, and most vegetarians I know like recycling so I see no reason to complain. Plus: Jiggly.
My daughter quickly decided that Jello was the best thing ever, and began hoovering it up with an enthusiasm that was frankly a bit disturbing. This makes sense I suppose, because little girls are usually fond of horsies. My son, on the other hand, just poked it dubiously.
Poke, jiggle. Poke, Jiggle. He was pulling his hand back really fast, as if he suspected that the Jello was going to do something bad. He was staring with a look of intense concentration as he tried to work out just what this new substance was.
I’ve learned that it can help to demonstrate with any new food. If he sees me eat it, he usually wants to try. So I picked up a cube and ate it rather theatrically for his benefit.
“MMmmmmMMM” Yummy horse hoof and connective tissue….”*
He began to whine. He didn’t know what it was, he didn’t trust it, and he didn’t want me to eat it either.
Figuring he would probably like it if he tried it, I resorted to the Airplane Method. He has, to this point, never turned down any food that was given to him via the Airplane Method.
“Neeeeeeeeerrrrrruuuuuuummmmm!** Here it comes! Open Wide!”
And he did open wide. And began to scream in horror.
Evidently to my son, Jello was basically the toxic flesh of Satan. Sort of like communion gone horribly awry.
And he kept screaming. He was a seriously unhappy baby. People were beginning to stare, and so I decided to leave. I refuse to be “that guy” when it comes to parenting. You know, the one who sits in a restaurant while his kids are ruining everyone else’s meal.
I got their stroller ready, loaded the screaming kid up, and paid my bill. The waitress, trying to be helpful began to clear the table.
Remember the other kid? The one that liked Jello?
Well she just saw a plate of Jello go away. Which pretty much ruined everything forever and ever as far as she was concerned.
And now I had everybody’s full and total attention, as they no doubt wondered what kind of horrible parent I was. I slunk out sort of mildly embarrassed, and convinced that this is exactly the sort of thing that more experienced parents should have warned me about.
*To be fair, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know what most of those words mean.
**Look, you try writing an airplane noise….