Tonight was one of those beautiful summer nights that I wanted to cling to and never let go of. These small moments in my children’s lives that I hope they’ll remember for always and talk about long after I am gone.
I mowed the grass today while they napped. I convinced myself that if I got the job done, I could soak in the kiddie pool in the backyard until they got up. I was so nasty and sweaty, ya’ll. Disgusting. Gross. I was even compelled to put on deodorant, an event that happens about once every two years. Not because I’m just that crunchy, but because I don’t stink on a regular basis.
I basked in the warm breeze and floated beached my round self in 4 inches of water. I could have been at the beach for all I cared. It was that great.
The kids were purely delighted when they came out and saw the pool all set up and immediately set to splashing around. It was sometime around this point that I found out that Brent wasn’t coming home until long past bed time, for the second day this week. And we were out of food. I had my emergency-if-we-get-really-desperate-we-can-eat-this stash, but had totally been rejected at lunchtime already.
I made an executive decision that we were eating out tonight. All four and a half of us. Somewhere in the back of my mind the thought lingered that I was totally insane, but I’m pregnant and very hungry and I was also very exhausted.
We cleaned up, got pretty and headed out the door for Olive Garden, which was called everything from “Olive Leaf” to “Botanical Gardens” on the way there. Charis asked me if I was sure I wanted to go to a garden when I was so hungry. “Shouldn’t we go somewhere with food?” she asked. Bless her heart. Arwen is having trouble grasping the concept of Italian food. She wanted to know if Italians were going to be there, if they spoke English, and how they got the food from Italy to the restaurant.
Arwen chatted up the hostess who sat us once we got there. She carried on conversation with her as if she were in her thirties herself. I’m sure when the waitress saw she’d just been sat with a mom and three very small children, she was less than pleased. However, when she brought out the salad plates, each of them politely said “Thank you” and she just about jumped out of her skin. It’s okay. She didn’t know I had a big plastic spoon in my purse.
Everyone ate their food really well. (Accidental Parenting tip: Starve your kids all day long before going to a restaurant and they’ll eat really well. But you should still eat as quickly as possible. Forget that people may be looking. Shove the food into your mouth while there is still time.)
I did have to bring out the spoon to keep Ezra from slinging spaghetti noodles over the bar at the table next to us, but I don’t think anyone else was aware of it. All anyone else knew was that there were really sweet really cute children politely eating their dinner. And I thought I must have died and gone to heaven because this rarely happens. (And if you are totally concerned about it, you should know that all that is required is a light tapping on his pants leg and a “No No, Mommy said sit down.” And then he sits down. Go figure.)
Everyone ate with their silverware and drank without spilling anything. People broke out into applause and shouted “Bravo!” as we stood to leave the restaurant and I stopped to curtsy actually complimented the children on our way out.
If I could have done anything differently, I would have politely asked for the check when they brought the food and explained that it would be better for us all if we could just quickly leave after everyone was done eating. They did get a little restless while we were waiting for that part.
We stopped and got some ice cream (Breyer’s Neopolitan) and cones (fudge dipped) and took it home to scoop it up ourselves. ($6 got us all ice cream cones, and leftovers for two more treats. That’s right. Not only can I handle all three kids in a restaurant all by myself, but I’m thrifty too. Look out, Kate I’m not sure who else’s name to use now?) Arwen carried the grocery bag to the van all by herself even though she really struggled with the weight of it. (She wanted a job.)
They played out on the front lawn while the sun went down. Charis ate her ice cream cone from the bottom because….well, because she’s Charis. She was really confused when the ice cream started leaking out.
And I shut their door to the chorus of “Good night, Night Night, I love you, Sweet Dreams, Have Fun”, which they each have to chant to me every night until I’m out of sight.