We love going out to dinner, but it has become quite the endeavor. We have to time it perfectly between Kinley’s afternoon nap and Declan’s strictly scheduled bedtime. And at some point both my children get hangry, which they definitely inherited from me. (Sorry, guys!) To make matters worse, Declan not only loves his food; he also loves things just so. Don’t even think about taking a bite of pizza from the wrong end of the slice, or a slug of his LaCroix unasked.
So, keeping my very particular child in mind, we chat about the upcoming dinner outing and provide possible coping mechanisms IN CASE all goes wrong. Declan “uh huh” and “yes ma’am”s me while visions of pizza pies dance in his head. Mellow Mushroom, here we come.
We order Declan and his friend Ella a medium cheese. Declan inhales several pieces and all is well, until he notices that there are only two pieces left. With panic in his eyes, he tries to put both remaining pieces on his own plate.
He has an actual meltdown when I remove him from the table because he’s worried there will be no pizza left at all. He begs to order more, tries going limp, claws his way past me, begins to cry… He literally flags the waiter down by waving hysterically, using a clearly rehearsed, “Scuse me sir, I need A NEW PIZZA!”
What’s going through my head is this: HOW IS THIS HAPPENING? WE LITERALLY PREPARED FOR THIS EXACT SITUATION BEFORE WE GOT HERE.
I am absolutely mortified.
I want to crawl under the table and DIE.
I want to remove my children from Mellow Mushroom and not go out to eat again for at least ten years.
I want to get him a new pizza and laugh it off like it’s all good.
But here’s what I realized:
It has happened to us all. And the understanding looks from those around me say, ‘We’ve been there, done that, and still go out to eat.’
Winning that one battle isn’t our goal, but rather an experience where we not only equip our children to deal with something frustrating, but perhaps equally as important, learn as a parent that IT’S OKAY.
It’s easy to say that afterwards, but still hard to deal with the mom emotions in the moment. I left Mellow discouraged, but, in her wisdom, Ella’s mom reminded me that at the end of the day, the child’s parent is the only one who replays the scene and really feels the pain or embarrassment. I have held on to this truth on many occasion!
It doesn’t mean that our kiddos aren’t going to struggle or act out, but DON’T GIVE UP! I’m going to keep taking my kids out to dinner, keep preparing them for potentially frustrating moments, and not give up when things don’t go as we’ve planned. And return to Mellow Mushroom, because I do agree with Declan: their pizza is on point.