Today the five-year-old zoologist had a dentist appointment to fix a cavity. This is a fairly traumatic event for a occasionally dramatic little boy so we decided to give him something to look forward to and promised to go out to eat, and then to the toy store so that each of the kids could spend money they were given by their Pops and Nindee for Valentine’s Day. This is a diary of that experience that I hope will serve as a warning to me the next time I think about taking my kids out in public.
5:05 Arrive at the restaurant as close to 5 p.m. as possible because the restaurant is busy and waiting in line with small children is one of the circles of hell in Dante’s Inferno. Look it up.
5:07 The one-year-old demolitions expert begins to melt down because she is hangry. Thankfully the people next to us have a child of about the same age and the demolitions expert is eventually distracted by her close proximity to one of her people.
5:12 The zoologist makes me proud by asking for the sirloin steak off of the kid’s menu.
5:13 The three-year-old ballerina orders broccoli for her side. Yep, she’s definitely my kid.
5:17 The appetizer arrives and the demolitions expert is momentarily appeased. Now I am concerned that in her glee she is going to launch her fork across the restaurant probably impaling an elderly woman. The girl has upper body strength I will give her that.
5:17 Our little zoologist is the only kid in the world to be personally offended by suggesting that he try an appetizer of stuffed tater tots.
5:23 The food arrives and the zoologist immediately declares that he does not like the steak because it does not taste like daddy’s. Six bucks down the drain, but if you are going to boycott your supper that is one of the few valid excuses I will accept.
5:27 After intense negotiations that would have left Henry Kissenger curled up in a ball crying in a corner the ballerina agrees to trade a chicken strip for some pieces of steak.
5:30 The beautiful woman, pregnant with baby #4, that I am related to by marriage begins to twitch.
5:40 The one chicken strip didn’t fill up the growing zoologist. Thank God for the bread.
5:49 The ballerina has to go to the bathroom. As we enter the bathroom she immediately puts her hands to her ears because they have the really intense hand dryers that sound like jet engines and she hates loud noises. She does her business, we wash our hands, and I attempt to get her to dry her hands. She stands about three feet away from the hand-dryer and extends her hands, which are only about 24 inches short of the dryer. I put my hand on her back and try to gently push her forward, and she responds by trying to step back. I deal with this for around .4 seconds before deciding that wet hands aren’t the worst thing in the world. As we were walking out of the bathroom she says, “That machine didn’t work very well.” I tell her, “That’s because you weren’t anywhere near it.”
5:55 The demolitions expert is through eating, no longer entertained by the other child, and threatening to go full poltergeist. Time to start wrapping this thing up.
5:58 The children’s meals come with cookies. This has momentarily averted the brewing crisis with the demo expert.
6:06 All things considered we didn’t leave the area as big a mess as I was expecting. I didn’t even feel like I should apologize to the restaurant for having chosen their location.
6:18 On the way to the toy store the ballerina declares her intention to buy a microphone. That is awesome, it should go well with the zoologist’s newfound harmonica skills. I google “earplug value packs” at a red light.
6:25 We arrive at the toy store and I resist the urge to run ahead of everyone and attempt to hide anything resembling a microphone in the store.
6:32 The zoologist heads for the Paw Patrol section because he wants the new pup. This is funny because three months ago we sold all of his Paw Patrol toys with his full knowledge and consent. Now he wants to start all over? Suddenly the microphone seems like a good idea.
6:33 The ballerina finds a microphone. O good.
6:39 Mercifully we can’t find the new Paw Patrol pup. Next our attention shifts to Octonauts, but he can’t find anything he wants in his price range.
6:41 The Sheriff Callie section finds two toys for the demolitions expert.
6:49 The zoologist has traversed the entire store 12 times.
6:52 Finally we end up back in the Sheriff Callie section and the zoologist latches onto a stuffed Deputy Peck. Let’s get out of here before somebody changes their mind.
6:53 From the moment she gets the microphone out of the package the ballerina is singing made up songs. It is cute. Maybe the microphone won’t be such a bad idea after all.
7:05 After hearing the ballerina’s singing my wife and I decide it is our turn. My lovely bride cues up the Four Tops and we belt out Sugar Pie Honey Bunch at the top of our lungs. The kids are not nearly as impressed as they should be.
7:12 A brief stop to get something to drink and we are headed back in the direction of home. We decide to continue the Honda Odyssey karaoke we have going on, and thanks to YouTube and cellular data our next selection is the Little Einsteins theme song. The ballerina had let the zoologist borrow her microphone, but now she ripped it out of his hands and began singing as loud as she could. Sadly, her parents also know the words so we sang along as well.
7:20 We give the zoologist a couple of karaoke turns and play the themes to the Octonauts and Wild Kratts. There isn’t a lot of singing on the Octonauts, but he really got into the Wild Kratts theme.
7:26 So the demolitions expert won’t feel left out we play the Sheriff Callie theme and for the first time pretty much the whole family is singing.
7:29 The ballerina announces, “I have to potty.” The moment is over. Unfortunately, we happened to be in an area with a lot of construction and few bathroom options. The next 15 minutes were full of U-turns, cutting people off, and swerving, but we made it in time. Crisis averted.
7:52 We stop by the pharmacy, the last stop before home, to pick up two more prescriptions. I’ve been to the pharmacy so much this week when they see me it is like Norm entering the bar on Cheers.
8:04 As we turn into our neighborhood I hand out assignments. The zoologist is going to the potty, the ballerina is putting her pajamas on, the pregnant lady is going to the potty, and I’m changing the demolitions expert’s diaper. When you have three kids 5 and under you have to plan ahead and keep people moving or putting people to bed takes until breakfast.
8:25 Teeth are brushed, goodnight kisses are dispensed and the lights are off. Two tired adults head to bed.
8:33 While I am in the utility room taking down two flies the size of F-18s the zoologist escapes his bedroom and appears in ours asking his mother to cut the tags off of his new toy.
8:47 Zoologist appears in our room saying he needs to change into a warmer pair of pajama pants. I respond with, “So change pants.”
8:52 Zoologist reappears saying none of his pajama pants are warmer. He is then instructed to stay under the blanket, or turn off the fan.
10:01 The kids are probably asleep, but we don’t speak of this lest we jinx it.