cupcakes and zombies

because cupcakes are yummy and people aren't. unless you're a zombie.

Dining out with a cranky toddler…

NO. Just NO. Don’t do it.

Ok. So assuming you ignore my advice, just as I ignored my own advice this evening, here is what might happen.

Let’s start at the beginning of the evening, just to explain how this all came about. After an absolutely, insanely hectic day at work where I barely had chance to chow down a sandwich at my desk all day, much less actually sit there and do work, I was looking forward to spending some one on one time with my little guy, since his Daddy is away for a couple of days.

I picked him up at daycare and was greeted with a crazy sweaty, red faced, wild child with curls and sand plastered to his face. I was puzzled at the ladies offhand comment about “oh, he’s not so bad” and quickly ushered him out the door. Naturally he wanted me to pick him up and carry him to the car. I thought 2 seconds about my nice silk shirt and new skirt and jacket and scooped his sweaty, gritty self up and didn’t flinch when he squished his icky face against mine.

I told him we were going to the store to look at “Momma shoes” something my husband assured me he likes to do at Marshall’s, although I suspected he may have been exaggerating how much he enjoyed it. But, I always see fun pictures of Jax and Daddy when they go out to eat so thought it would be super fun. My husband warned me that if I took him home first to clean him he wouldn’t want to leave, so instead I drove home and left him in the car with the dvd player on while I ran in and grabbed the wipes and diapers. I was moving so fast the cats ran in horror when I burst into the house and frantically made a beeline for the diaper changey to-go case thingy. Well, I’ll worry about that later.

I got back to the car and Jax was still watching Nemo and seemed not to have noticed I was even gone at all. Until I turned the car on and began backing out of the driveway. Instant tears “NO I WANT TO GO HOME”. Whimper whimper whimper. “But Jax, we’re going to go look at Momma shoes and then we’re going to go to the restaurant.”  “Sniffle sniff-ok”.

Silence and back to Nemo.

We get to the store and after giving him a quick swipe with some wipes to make him look a little more presentable for the general public, he willingly held my hand and walked in and I got him loaded into the little mini cart at Marshalls. I supplied him with goldfish and water and all was right in his little toddler world. We looked at shoes, and indeed, he seemed to enjoy it and was quite opinionated on which ones I should try on. “Jax, do you like these?” “NO”. Um. Ok, I didn’t think he’s actually have an opinion on it, but he had a point, they were kinda bright. He confidently pointed to the crazy rainbow pair with 5 inch heels and sparkly things all over the straps. “THESE”. Oh, dear son, no. Not a chance those are going on my feet. A couple of nice, conservative-compared-to-my-son’s-taste shoes in the cart, on to trying to find a shirt to match a skirt I purchased over the weekend.

It was going fine until Jax lost interest in the goldfish and decided that pulling as many shirts off of the hangers as possible was super awesome fun. When the rows of clothes were very long and so close together this resulted in a waterfall of sleeveless shirts on the ground and a very frazzled Momma trying to keep up with the mayhem by getting them all relatively back on the hangers. I swear I heard some snickers from the next row over.

Toddler positioned in the “circle of emptiness” as I call the one zone in the store nearby where his surprisingly long reach couldn’t reach anything, I managed to get the racks back in order.

I realized then that I did not have anything to occupy him while he waited for his food. OH THE HORROR. So I let him pick out a book, “The Little Engine that Could” which he seemed to love since he hugged it to his little face. We got in line where he was super cute and let me know, as well as everyone else in line “We’re waiting our turn Momma!” He handed over the book to the lady at the register when she asked, and then on the way out said with a wave “Thank you Lady” and made her smile.

Ok, this is going well, right?

We get to the restaurant and I walk in with my small son and already he is saying “Grilled cheese, grilled cheese”. So I wisely asked for a highchair rather than a booster to keep him contained. Anytime a waiter got close to our table he tried to get their attention by saying “Gimme grilled cheese in 5 minutes??” I tried to explain we had to wait for someone to greet us, which unfortunately failed to resonate.

Our waiter came over prepared with a kiddie cup of water, with a straw and I quickly ordered grilled cheese for my suddenly silent little guy. I ordered my meal and a beer. That’s right a beer. No glass please.

By this time Jax was “All done” with his book. Ok. Um. HOORAY for the Iphone. He amused himself with my game of Pocket Frogs, until I realized he was randomly trying to text people the current status of my game and started laughing maniacally loud for a semi-reserved restaurant at 6:45 in the evening. So, apologies to anyone who may have received a text noting I obtained a certain rare type of frog. But hey, the food’s here!

My little guy, who ONLY eats grilled cheese when we go out took one lick of his sandwich and declared “ALL DONE”. Um. Hmmm. Ok, distract with french fries, which I normally don’t care for him to eat at all. Lick. “ALL DONE, I want somfing else Momma.” Ok, well, “I don’t have anything else Jax.” “SOMFING ELSE”. Scrunchy face quickly followed, which means crying is imminent. “Oh wait!!  Jax, Momma found a bark” (his word for Nutrigrain snack bars, for some unknown reason). Smiles. Until…GASP…it broke in half.  Instant meltdown. “Its bwoken, bwoken, noooooooooooo” And cue the stares from the tables next to us. Where’s the waiter. Or the hole that I want to open in the floor and swallow me up. Ok, waiter, calmly walking over asking if there is anything we need. Um, yes. “So, he’s not so into dinner (as my son is trying to squish his “bark” back together through his tears begging me to help) can we just get the check and a to-go box?” The nice waiter offered to box the food up for me, probably figuring it would help speed our exit since it may have been impossible for me to do this and manage the meltdown. Wait….where’s the meltdown. Oh, his mouth is full of his broken “bark” so he can’t cry. Ok, maybe we can escape further embarrassment. Somehow I managed to gather him up, my purse “MY APPLE JUICE”, his apple juice, and our food and managed to chug a few sips of beer before I ran as fast as I could out the door.

By the way. I’m darn hungry at this point. So we finally get home and I convince my little guy to eat a PB&J since he’s on a grilled cheese fast to prove some political point or other (assumption, I can’t think of any other logical reason why he decided all of a sudden he just doesn’t like grilled cheese). And I finally get to eat some of my cold, yet tasty spinach dip.

After dinner, bath, vitamins, teeth brushing, medicine and bed, we snuggled up and read his new book. Which heavily revolves around a clown. I am not fond of clowns. At all. Like, not one little bit. But that’s a story for another night. I shuddered through it in my best I’m so happy to be reading this voice.

He started to cry when I stopped reading and picked him up to put him into bed. We have a special little thing where I ask if he’s my big boy, or my baby, and I cradle him in my arms and swing him back and forth as we walk from the chair to the bed. Sometimes he’s a baby, and sometimes, he’s my big boy, depending on his mood. Tonight he said, with a smile and giggle, “I’m your big boy”.

I know that the special times I get to spend with my little guy will be over far too soon, so I’ll take my cranky toddler out to dinner anytime, knowing that it may not involve eating dinner at all, but at least I tried, and maybe when he’s older, he’ll remember that. Although-perhaps I’ll wait until the grilled cheese strike has ended.



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