This morning, in a fit of bravery (read: delusion), we decided to take the kids to brunch. It had been a while. Which was intentional. It went surprisingly well, at least the first half.
For the first half of breakfast, Jacob sat patiently and, with much concentration, practiced his letters with the free crayons and kid-friendly coloring menu. He showed us that he spell almost any letter. He can also write his name. I love that his "J"s curl the wrong direction, in perfect child fashion. Ryan was given his very own coloring crayons and, copying his big brother, began to color his very first picture. He held his crayons upside down as he tried to drag them across the paper, one in each fist. It was adorable.
As we waited for our food to arrive, our storybook outing ended abruptly. Ryan lost interest in coloring and threw all his crayons on the floor and onto the table next to us. When my husband and I finished corralling all the crayons, we noticed that, in our distraction, Jacob had eaten five packets of jelly. As much as he tried to deny it, the proof was on his face and in the empty jelly packets on the table. Then I turned my attention back to the table and saw two soggy packets of Splenda floating nonchalantly in my water. The jury is still out on that one.
Our food finally arrived. When Jacob saw that his plate only had three pancakes and not four (he is four, four is the only number that matters), he wigged out. "I'm soooo hungry! I need FOUR pancakes! Mommy, I'm going to starve!" I held back the urge to tell him about the poor starving children in Africa. I'm saving that for when he is six. "Eat what you have first and then we will see!" I snapped.
Ryan, who had been sitting so patiently and calmly for the first fifteen minutes of breakfast, immediately became antsy. He writhed back and forth dramatically in his highchair, pointing to the ceiling for no reason at all. Maybe this kid will be an actor? I put a pile of pancakes, hash brown pieces, and toast in front of him. This kept him busy for...two whole minutes.
As my husband was cutting Jacob's (three!) pancakes, I turned my attention to my own food (over-medium eggs with toast). As I went in for my first bite, I used my other hand to redirect a blue crayon out of my water glass. On the other end of the blue crayon was Ryan's chubby, white-knuckled fist. As I moved my water onto the other side of my plate, I caught Ryan's face and saw that he had somehow gotten blue crayon markings all over his forehead. I laughed. He laughed. When his lips parted into their devious smile, I saw that his teeth were also covered in blue crayon pieces. My smile instantly drooped downward.
I took the crayon from Ryan's hand, dug a cracker out of the diaper bag, and placed it on the table in front of him. SOMEHOW, I got about two more bites of breakfast in my mouth before Ryan started javelining food across the table. Before we knew it, we were in a rainstorm of hash browns and sticky pancakes. I removed a sticky pancake from my arm. Jacob laughs hysterically. My husband and I instantly roll into "Operation Baby Storm" mode and remove any and all objects from within Ryan's reach. That's when I noticed a pile of pancakes on the floor, indicating that Ryan hadn't actually eaten a single thing.
Jacob, who had complained about not getting four pancakes, finished the first one and proclaimed that he was "SO FULL!" He ducked under the table in an attempt to escape. This is when we resorted to bribery. "If you sit in your seat until we are done eating, you can have a balloon" Sadly, this doesn't work. Ryan almost wriggled out of his highchair and Jacob proceeded to crawl under the table. I let Ryan out of baby jail and tried to walk him around the restaurant. He slipped out of my arm and scooted his way to a pancake that he had thrown on the floor earlier. Which he eats. Of course he head refused to eat them when they were on his plate, but now that they are on the floor...
The old ladies next to us were smitten with Ryan and his one-legged scoot and laughed as he ate his breakfast off the floor. I let my husband take over Ryan duty and sat back down to my breakfast. When I took a sip of water, I nearly choked on the soggy cracker that Ryan had slipped into my glass. I must have put the glass back within the dangerous Ryan Zone after taking a sip.
Finally, it was time to pay and leave. We rounded up our children, tipped generously to make up for the mess we left behind ,and headed to the door. Each child was given a balloon and Ryan immediately ripped his balloon off the string. How?! How?! We procured the balloon from the ceiling and tied it back onto the string. Then, the learned parents that we are, we tied the balloons to our kids' beltloops having learned long ago that balloons slip easily off a child's hand the second you go outside no matter how fancy you ties the knot, which will result in at least 60 minutes of tears.
We buckled the kids into the car and drove away.
"Your car is like a trash can on wheels."
"Hey mommy, I'm going to call you a princess in Japanese."
"That doesn't mean 'princess.'"
"Daddy taught me that. He said you are a slave driver. But I didn't know that word and so daddy told me it means "princess" in Japanese"
Gee. Thanks daddy! Caught red-handed!