Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm done taking Finn to restaurants.

Well, I'm pleased to announce that our new un-pet (as my Mom informs me) has survived long enough to merit a name. He/she (it's hard to tell . . .) shall henceforth be known as "Little Daddy." I don't know the etymology of the name--just that Regan picked it and confidently informed me of it when I asked if she had named the crayfish yet. So, "Little Daddy" it is.

In other news, I am closing the joint major credit cards Jeff and I shared in favor of one singular credit card in my name. I haven't applied for a credit card on my own since 1992. It is surprisingly difficult to transfer a joint card to a surviving spouse--it actually has to go through an "Estate Department" and all kinds of ridiculous bureaucracy. It's a lot easier to just close the account and open a new one. I don't know why it didn't occur to me before now to take care of this. I've already transferred all of our other financial accounts into my name. Oh well. I'm sure I'll discover more unfinished business, but in the meantime, our joint credit cards will be the next memento of Jeff to disappear forever.

Oh--I almost forgot: Finn got a rockin' mohawk today. Jack has traditionally had a mohawk in the summer, but opted out this year. Although, when I saw it (our nanny, Jenny, did the styling) I was surprised by how much Finn looks like Jeff did when he was going through whole brain radiation and he lost all of his hair except for a strip along the top that looked like a subtle mohawk. It was uncanny and I was a little taken aback. And it's hard to tell in pictures, but Terri--in person Finn looks A LOT like Jake (his first-cousin).

Right now Finn is in bed and shaking the crib rail so hard that it has fallen down and I've had to rig it so it will stay up despite his unbridled aggression. He has been completely bi-polar tonight--alternately sweet and naughty. Tonight was a rarity because I didn't have band practice, all the kids were home, and none of them had any games or play dates, so we decided to go out to dinner. Aubrey chose the Chancery in the village of Wauwatosa as our destination du jour. Once there, we were seated only one table over from the table where almost three years earlier we had sat with the kids during a special dinner to announce that I was pregnant with Finn. The kids' memories were sharp as they all recalled where each of them sat and who said what to whom. Jeff had said to the kids, "Mom and I have an announcement to make. What is the best thing that could ever happen to our family?" Regan said, "we get more popcorn?!" (the restaurant provides complementary popcorn). Jeff said, "No." And one of the kids said, "We're moving to a mansion?" at which point, Jeff decided to fill them in and said "No--we're going to have a baby!" They all squealed with excitement and Regan recalled that she tried to talk about the news in a loud but nonchalant way so that the waitress and other people around us would overhear her and think "Wow, they are going to get a new baby!"

I then noted that we never would have guessed at that time that Dad had almost exactly two years to live. (Way to ruin the mood, Mom!) So, it was a poignant dinner and the kids were very well-behaved with the exception of Finn. He started out so well. Normally, he resists sitting in a high chair in favor of wandering around the tables and crawling on and off my lap. But, tonight, he sat right down in his highchair and started coloring on the Kids' Menu. I should note, as an aside, that I was almost embarrassed to be seen in public with him. He had been swimming in the baby pool all day, so he smelled like a swamp. His new mohawk was askew from being crumpled under his sun hat all day. His clothes didn't match (red shirt, bright blue pants, green socks) and he insisted on wearing a pair of oversized women's sunglasses (ala Jackie O') throughout the meal. He looked absolutely ridiculous. As the hostess showed us to our table, we were seated near a table of eight older women who were clearly having some kind of meeting or regularly scheduled gathering. I thought they would call social services for sure, but they laughed at Finn and said how cute he was.

He sat like an angel until the food arrived. Then, on cue, he climbed out of the high chair and started assaulting me--climbing on and off me; laying in my lap; giving me kisses; slapping my face; kicking Aubrey. He was completely obnoxious to the point that I couldn't even eat (it took both hands and what little strength I had to keep him within a 3 square-feet radius of me). There were several times I felt like crying I was so exhausted and hungry and frustrated. Finally, Aubrey finished her food and took him out to the car to wait for the rest of us. Meanwhile, Regan and Jack entertained themselves by taking indulgent trips to the bathroom and I ate alone in the wake of the disaster the kids left (Aubrey accidentally spilled an entire glass of water--it went partially into my food and partially everywhere else) and we ate with the aftermath strewn across the table.

So, next time I see a single mother at a restaurant with her kids--I will not shoot her an evil stare. I will not avoid her gaze for fear I'll be swallowed by the plea for help and understanding in her eyes. I will just anonymously and without fanfare call the waitress over and discreetly offer to pay her bill. Because I know firsthand that she probably doesn't want to be there in the first place (it is much easier and cheaper to say home), but she thought it would be something nice and out of the ordinary to do with her kids. Besides, it's the closest thing she'll ever have to a "date" and she got home too late from work to entertain any reasonable likelihood of feeding her kids before 7:30 p.m., so she convinced herself (despite past experiences full of contraindications) that it won't be that bad and the kids will be good this time. She also thought it would be a good way to have a captive audience and a meaningful opportunity to talk to her kids about all the things she misses out on everyday like baseball camp and swimming in the baby pool and sleep-overs and the new Transformers movie. But, instead she didn't get to talk about any of those things because her baby freaked out and big kids lost interest. And then the baby dropped part of her food on the floor and her two middle kids begged for various bites and portions of her food (because it looked way more exotic and expensive than their grilled cheese sandwiches), and before she realized the bargain she had made (under duress of the baby acting like a complete nut and the uncomfortable pangs of hunger and lightheadedness) she had allowed her children to sample most of her food, so she simply packed up the rest and brought it home and someone (not her) will get to eat it tomorrow. And it only adds insult to injury that she then has to pay $40.00 (plus a $10 tip as a tacit apology to the waitress, because she was once a waitress too and knows just how much they hate waiting on families with a bunch of kids, and especially ones with babies that drop a bunch of food on the floor and kids that spill drinks . . .)--and, anyway, she shouldn't have to then pay $50.00 for the whole experience. Oh, and before I pay her bill for her, I will send her a Pina Colada.

So, how was your day?

Love, Kelly


mka said...

You know, my day was fine. I also have plenty of good tips for you on how to get your unruly mohawk kid to act nice in a restaurant. Since I have been in the business so long, maybe that's one of the books I should write when I ever sell Champions. By the way if any of your friends, non-friends, or just people reading this ever wants to buy a nice bar and grill call me, because I want to retire.
Love, Mom

Terri said...

I can see how Finn looks like Jake with his new do, I see the resemblance. Jake in fact is going to get his mohawk trimmed today. Finn looks very cute.

Monica said...

when I have days like that I always think, I need a stiff drink and a vacation, and well I'm still waiting for both :)
Talk to you soon! hope you have a better tomorrow and a great weekend!!

mka said...

Have you ever watched "John and Kate Plus Eight"? Her sextuplets just turned 5 and she still puts BIBS on them when they eat. Even when they go to a restaurant!!! That lady is a fanatic! I just had to voice my opinion. Love, Mom

Gretchen said...

So, a crayfish is not a pet. I would have explained this earlier except that I was on vacation--yes, I know, it's not fair. But it's a really good reason for not posting earlier that a crayfish is what a kitten would eat for dinner . . . .

SandyS said...

Your day was the winner. I only had 2 and was trying to raise them alone, and yes sometimes eating out was NOT a good thing and a pity tip was a good idea. That's when I came up with the 6 months rule. It was if someone didn't behave in a restaurant we were not allowed to eat there for 6 months. Didn't matter if it was 5 star or fast food, and it didn't matter if it was my child or one of their friends, or (as it once happened) me. (please don't ask, but I'm sure Monica or Bryan will be more than ready to tell you) You have to be careful though because for awhile I was begining to be afraid we weren't going to be allowed to eat anywhere in or near where we lived. Happy 4th. Your mean aunt