Restaurants With Toddlers

As a parent, going out to eat is fraught with difficulties, especially when you want to avoid placing a food order into the mouth of a clown. Dining in a restaurant is a luxury that requires a good sitter, a few days of preparation, and the ability to ignore the concern that the sitter has been tied up and locked in the basement as your children have decided to engage in a ritualistic sacrifice of some sort, especially when Pop-Pop Green Truck is involved, he is up for any game no matter how ridiculous the kids are being on any given day. (Boy do they love him though, and he is gullible to a fault with those boys.)

An even more difficult task is bringing the children to the restaurant with you, especially when the voracious monsters who will eat anything, up to and including the rear out of a dead rhinoceros at home, suddenly decide the only food worth eating is French Fries. No matter what restaurant we are at Jaxson demands French Fries with Banana cheese, think Cheese Wiz for dipping. We could be at the local Chinese Restaurant, and the boy demands French Fries. This is an improvement, believe it or not, since Jaxson’s previous desire was to pinch the female server on the butt (presumably so I would be blamed.)

Fries were the rage until an odd request reared its head, and I do mean head, as in the boy wants to eat a head of broccoli at a time. Once he tried broccoli Jaxson was hooked. He loved it, and I’m not complaining of course, but it produced one of the oddest exchanges ever heard in a Red Robin. Becky ordered Jaxson a flatbread pizza with unlimited refills of a side of broccoli. Little did our server know when she suppressed the laughter I would have had in a similar situation that the boy was serious. Once his meal came to the table he devoured the broccoli in a manner reminiscent of the cookie monster with a crate of Chips Ahoy. He then asked, “May I have more broccoli, please?”

Of course, at this point, the conversation took such a turn that the server and nearby tables took heed. What child asks for more broccoli? No one had heard such a statement before, and it registered around the room as if blasphemy had been uttered in a church. In this pause Becky replied instinctively to buy time, “You can have more broccoli once you eat some pizza.”

The words hung in the air as though unnatural, and the silence was unnerving for a moment. It was as if we dared to say something that causes a shift in the space-time continuum. At that moment I asked, “Did I seriously just hear that? That sounds like the password to an underground speakeasy or something elicit, because that’s a phrase that cannot be said by accident.” Jaxson looked at me with hope, but I told him to listen to his mother. He took the smallest, most pitiful bite of pizza possible and was promptly giving more broccoli that he ate with gusto. Meanwhile, ever the bottomless pit, Wyatt eyed up his pizza like a starving man staring at a Christmas ham. Moreover, Kay was staring a Jaxson, mouth agape, in shock of what just happened. She was not the only one as I stared at him eating the broccoli as well. Once we finished eating Jaxson mentioned more broccoli for later, as though he wanted an order of it to go.

Goodbye french fries with banana cheese, and hello broccoli.

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