Today was a debacle. I even used the word friggin’. But I get ahead of myself.
It starts at a 3-year-old’s birthday party. A terrific party actually. But my wife and I forget to make sure our two boys eat a proper lunch during the festivities. So when we got home, we set the boys at the kitchen table for a big snack. By now, though, they are beyond hungry and bursting with agitation and emotion. Powder kegs.
Gwen checks our voice mail and our babysitter has cancelled. Gwen and I were supposed to have a date tonight. Gwen is devastated.
We let the boys know that our babysitter, whom they adore, is not coming.
Explosion. First Noah is screaming. This is too much for little Benji and so like a domino he too is beside himself.
Gwen scoops up Benji. I sit with Noah. Between sobs he eats his tuna and settles down. So does Benji.
After lunch they play happily for twenty minutes. We watch each of them put on a puppet show. Then Gwen and I steal away to hatch a plan. We’ll head to a park and then out to dinner.
The park is a lot of fun.
Then dinner. Our biggest mistake of the day. We decide to go to our date restaurant. It’ll be fun. They have amazing French fries (and duck gravy for dipping).
We park. We get seated. We order. Noah’s Mac n’ Cheese arrives. So does Benji’s shrimp. (If you don’t have kids this sounds like the unwanted details of a bad facebook post.) Benji sees Noah’s noodles and wants them. Noah does not want to give them up. But he is six and does not say, “Excuse me, I’m sorry, but I don’t think I’d like to share that.” Instead, he says, “Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!”
And of course this knocks over little Benji, who takes on this same chorus with absolute gusto. We are in a fancy restaurant. Noah and Benji are the only children and they are screaming at the tip top of their lungs. People are drinking $9 glasses of Shiraz and micro-brewed beers. I look across the table and Gwen is hiding under her napkin. Literally. Like it’s a large sombrero. By the way, I forgot to mention that Gwen had left her sweater in the car, so as a shawl, draped casually over her shoulders, she is wearing a pair of Noah’s sweatpants from the diaper bag. She looks quite elegant in her sweatpants shawl and cloth napkin hat.
So Benji wants the Mac n’ Cheese. Noah screams and won’t share. I tell him to give Benji some noodles and I’ll order more. He acquiesces. I order more. Benji and Noah devour both portions. With a whirl of my arm, like a sailor in a bar, I order another round. “Keep em’ coming!”
Finally, the boys are done. We get the check. Including the tip, it’s the most expensive meal Gwen and I have ever eaten out. And we’re nauseated from the stress.
The moral of the story? Don’t skip lunch. I’m serious. I firmly believe the world would be two steps closer to peace if everyone, especially children, could eat a proper lunch every single day.
NOTE: In my next column, I will explain how 93% of all divorces can be avoided simply by engaging the services of a biweekly housecleaner.
photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About Brian Leaf
Brian Leaf is the author of Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi. He lives in Western Massachusetts where he is an avid meditator, yogi, dad, and husband. You can follow his parenting adventures and misadventures on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Misadventures.of.a.Yogi.