Before becoming parents, my husband and I used to go out to dinner a lot. We would usually sit at the bar and spend several hours drinking wine and eating appetizers for meals. We rarely sat at a table and would just enjoy the experience of sampling food, drinking and chatting with ourselves, the bartenders and neighboring bar patrons. We were “regulars” at some places where they knew our names and favorite drinks.
Flash forward to us having a child. Now no more bar for us- we need a table that can fit a highchair. And I should probably apologize in advance about the mess we are going to leave because only about 20% of the food actually goes in the child’s mouth. The rest will be squished in his tiny fist and smeared on things or dropped on the floor. Also, you probably want to stick us somewhere in the back where we won’t be a nuisance. But not too far back because one of the kids may open the emergency door and set off the very loud alarm. (and that’s exactly what happened last night)
So last night, as I sat on the toilet at the restaurant, listening to the screeching alarm going off, I totally knew that it was our table causing the commotion. We were out to dinner with friends that had two boys, 4 and 6. So I did not burst out of the bathroom worried there was some sort of actual emergency. I may have actually lingered a moment or two longer than usual, slowly washing my hands and hoping the alarm would be off by the time I stepped out.
I thought about how back in the “before baby” days, we would probably be sitting at the bar, rolling our eyes and laughing at the hapless parents trying to enjoy a meal while wrangling their unruly children. We’d most likely be thinking what a bunch of brats they were and how if we had kids they would be sitting quietly like little angels.
Yeah right. Once you have children, you learn a good hard lesson about how you were a judgmental jerk before and didn’t even know it. Because no matter what you do, kids will be kids, and they certainly don’t act like angels most of the time.
Sometimes now, when we got out to eat, I gaze wistfully at the bar and remember back to a time when I was perched up high, sipping fancy cocktails, chatting without interruption and sampling the latest specials.
And then I think, Oh how the mighty have fallen…right off their barstools.