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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Even my baby is sarcastic. No idea where he got that.

Ahhh...summer. We spent yesterday afternoon at the pool with friends until the kids were all cracked out from sugary snacks and had rumbly tummies from drinking chlorinated water. Then we debated whether or not we needed pants to go to Casa Linda, decided shirts and shoes were enough and headed straight there. Although Casa Linda is our favorite, I'm fully aware of the fact that we are probably not theirs. But they're nice to us anyway. We sat at a nice big table; I could sense the dread in everyone around us. Frankly, if I was enjoying a meal out and found myself suddenly confronted with a table of eight adults and far too many kids, all in bathing suits, I would probably ask for a to-go box. But I digress.

I was very happy and proud to give our waiter my entire family's order at once, which makes it easier to keep the bill separate. Dinner out with children isn't like a civilized dinner with like-minded adults who can just split the bill down the middle at the end. There are too many variables to do that: number of children (we had the most), age of children (the older ones eat more), behavior of children (the naughty kids' parents drink more), level of bribery to children (some of them get dessert for good behavior).

Without thinking, I ordered a quesadilla for Baby J. What's not to like? It's cheese. It's a tortilla. It's fried. And this is where one of my obnoxious parenting thoughts comes back to bite me in the a**. I've been known to wonder (sometimes aloud to my husband and a select few others) why kids can't order Mexican in a Mexican place, Mediterranean in a Mediterranean place, Japanese in a Japanese place...you get the picture. Every culture seems to have some sort of plain dish involving beans, rice and/or chicken. Must we always feed them chicken nuggets? Must we? Insert superior sigh and mild eye rolling here.

Across the table from Baby J, his friend N. had been granted chicken nuggets. Although Baby J has eaten and enjoyed the dang quesadillah in the past, he loves him some chicken nuggets. And (yeah, I know I'm getting defensive here), it's not like he eats them all the time! His big brothers are vegetarians, so he doesn't see them eating chicken nuggets. But it was love at first bite for Baby J. All we have to do is say "chicken" and his little face lights up as he chants,

"Chi-CHIN! Chi-CHIN! Chi-CHIN!"

One look at N's plate of nuggety goodness and Baby J is all,

"MY CHICHEN! MY CHICHEN!"

Who am I to argue? Lucky for me, N's parents understand the occasional necessity of appeasing a toddler, at any cost, in public. Their son also happens to be an agreeable sort of kid and happily shared his bounty with Baby J. Maybe N. just sympathized with the overwhelming desire for chicken nuggets. Anyhow, my baby proceeded to eat most of his lucky friend's food. As these things go, N. didn't seem particularly enamored of his own food anyway, so it wasn't a huge drama. Thank goodness.

When he was almost finished, Baby J calmly picked up his previously untouched quesadilla, balled it up in his fist and dropped it onto my plate, raising his little eyebrows with disdain.

"Thanks, Mom."

It was subtle, but I could hear the dripping sarcasm. He's not even two yet. How wrong is it that I felt kind of proud?

Namasté, y'all!

4 comments:

Baan Sawan said...

Wow. You know, even though I don't want children it does sort of sadden me that I won't have stories like this someday.
And 'hear, hear' on the children ordering from the menu. We have a six year old come in who's in love with our calamari (and has been for two years) and an eleven year old who has gradually worked his way up to a four-star level of spice on his soup, though he maintains at a 3 on his green curry.
These are the kinds of kids who won't embarrass you when you order sweetbreads and oysters for the table.

Susanna said...

Yum, Casa Linda! We used to eat lunch every Sunday at the one on Forest Dr. I'm trying to remember what we got D-Mac to eat... I think we just gave him little bits of chicken off of our plates. The toddlers do love their chicken, eh?

We've found a place in Aiken called Salsa's that we like a lot. D-Mac (who is now almost 2.5) likes to eat their bean dip with a fork.

SEB said...

For the record, N.'s lunch today consisted of Chinese steamed dumplings with a ginger, soy, garlic sauce...

Annie said...

So glad to hear N eats more than chicken nuggets (and so glad he wasn't that into them last night, because they saved our night! Ha!)