You made it! Here it is... the blog where you get to sit back and laugh at - or be completely horrified by - life with 5 kids, 2 parents, some frogs, a cat & a rabbit (and those are just the creatures we know about).


The Restaurant Paradox

My children have been raised in restaurants. Patrick went out to dinner for Greek food at The Aegean when he was just four days old. This exposure to restaurants has made the kids understand that there is a certain level of behavior expected when dining out. That is not to say that they are always perfect, but, for the most part, they know what is expected of them.

However, we all know that children, by their very nature, can be unpredictable. Which is why we take steps to try to assure that our restaurant experiences will be positive. We try not to go out too late. We bring items that will entertain them so they will be able to sit quietly. We go to restaurants that are considered family-friendly. All of these steps are taken to attempt an enjoyable meal. Unfortunately, there is a strange phenomenon that has occurred during our last few trips out to eat.

Last week, we decided it would be easier to go out and grab a bite to eat instead of cooking dinner. We'd all had long days at work and school, but we figured a quick trip to the local UNO's would be a fun, easy treat that the kids could handle. We were wrong. The kids were antsy.  Multiple drinks were spilled. Charlotte shouted for the sheer fun of it. Sean bumped his head as he was crawling under the table. In all, it was chaos. The only saving grace was that we had the children trapped seated in a booth waaaaaay in the back of the restaurant, so the only annoyed patrons were PJ and myself.

Then, a few nights later, the whole family was invited out to a sunset cruise in Boston Harbor and dinner in the North End as part of a birthday celebration (all of this after a day of apple picking). I was a little leery of how the kids might be, but I thought it would be fun. Our dinner reservations were for 8:15.  A little late for my kids these days, but still manageable. When we arrived at Dolce Vita, the place was completely packed and they informed us that it might be another 15 minutes until they could seat us. We stayed on the sidewalk and watched people bustling about while we patiently waited. Unfortunately, fifteen minutes stretched into an hour (where I was no longer patiently waiting). PJ and I each had a sleeping little one and the three older children were sitting on the sidewalk entertaining themselves with games on our iPhones. By this point, I was convinced we had a disaster on our hands. After all, my kids could barely handle UNO's, where they actually have a children's menu.

Who in their right mind would take five kids under age eight into a crowded Italian restaurant on a Saturday night over an hour after their bedtime? Then again, whoever said I was in my right mind?

Dinner was fantastic! Our table had a long, padded bench where the little ones slept. The older kids were excellent while they split a steak for dinner and then the girls fell asleep, too. PJ and I got to enjoy a long, delicious dinner, adult conversation, and even stayed for drinks and dessert. (We did find it a little tricky trying to get 4 sleeping children out of the restaurant!)

Sean slept through all of dinner.
The girls lasted until the steak was gone.

Who knows what you'll get from kids? Mine have been raised in restaurants, but they still have their bad nights. They couldn't handle UNO's with crayons and a children's menu, but they had no problem waiting an hour to sit in Dolce Vita and enjoy the sirloin. I suppose they just like to keep me on my toes.


I've been told that I missed a big part of this story. In addition to having a lovely meal in the North End, our dining experience was enhanced by a visit from my drunken sister. Apparently, the old lady doesn't get out much these days. We were fortunate enough to have her big night out coincide with ours in both time and location. She came over from across the street to join us briefly.  She also sat on one of my sleeping children, drank my water, and ate my bread (in the hopes of soaking up some of her alcohol). We even took a picture to commemorate this lovely visit:

Scary how much we look alike!
Consider yourself added, NurseNoodle! ;)


NurseNoodle said...

I found this story mildly entertaining until the addendum which was. FABULOUS. how lucky you and your children are to have such a lively AND lovely sister/auntie to grace you with her slightly intoxicated presence. Almost as excitIng as having Hillary Duff seated behind you in the restaurant.

Lissie said...

Brilliant! As usual!