Monday, 30 July 2012

Toddlers in public - the frightening truth

Cast - Me(Mum), Husband, 18y.o Daughter and 21mth old son
Don't be fooled!!!!

We went to have a look at the markets on Sunday morning, 14y.o declining the invite for the opportunity to stay in bed!  Well, there wasn't much to see, but 21mth had a go on the bouncy castle and then attempted to catch a rabbit!

Husband then decided that we should go for coffee and breakfast in Launceston.  I didn't think that this was a good idea with 21mth old, and Daughter agreed.  Temper tantrums have been fast and furious over the past few weeks, and 21mths having a meltdown in a cafe was not an appealing thought!  Husband however thought we should give it a try, and armed with an 'up and go' (21mths favourite treat at the moment), we headed out to the cafe strip in West Launceston.

We choose to sit outside at a relatively deserted cafe, and I secretly prayed that we would have fast service.  21mths was installed in a high chair, and we spent a few moments pointing out dogs sat beautifully at near-by tables with their owners whilst quickly scanning the menu and placing our order.  21mths had the (most coveted) car keys, and played well with them for a minute and a half.  Then he wanted the sugar sachet, which I had tried to hide behind my elbow and distract him by pointing at a passing car but 21mths wasn't going for that.  He pointed and yabbered so Husband gave him the sugar which he immediately tore in half and flung across his high chair and the table.

After an interesting minute playing with sugar grains, 21mths started squirming in his chair and trying to stand.  I grabbed the 'up and go', shoved the straw in it and placed it in front of him.  This placated him for another minute before he again tried to squirm out of the chair but this time accompanied with increasingly louder whines.  Daughter had the master-stroke of introducing her phone, but this is a catch 22, as 21mths wants to hold it and could at any time hurl it to the floor.  Placated for a further two minutes, 21mths then starts the all-out assault on everyone's ears (and patience).

While this is all unfolding and I can feel the sweat in my armpits and that sinking feeling in my stomach, I notice that even the dogs sitting nicely next to the tables are better behaved than a toddler!  I also note that we have been seated for about seven minutes (and it seems like over an hour)!  I am about to get up when Husband says he will take 21mths for a walk.  I think the whole cafe breathes a sigh of relief!

Daughter and I enjoy ten minutes of peace and tranquility.  Husband completes two laps of the street, looking down drains, at paper wrappers caught on fences and the wonders of wet leaves when he returns exhausted to find that our coffees haven't even been served.  Husband wants to cancel the entire order at this point, but I offer to take over and walk 21mths.  We go for an interesting walk whereby I too am shown the sodden leaves, have to distract him from actually putting his fingers through a mailbox on someone's front door, and keep him out of the way of a cyclist on the footpath!  Singing nursery rhymes, I return to the table to find coffee has arrived.

21mths is again installed in his highchair with his drink and is offered a marshmellow from Daughter.  He gracefully accepts this and begins to lick it.  I scull scalding coffee, and whilst I am doing so, I am served my eggs for breakfast.  Quickly cutting up toast, spinach and egg, I dump some in front of 21mths, who quietly tastes the offering.   Not finding it to his liking, Husband is quick to back-up with some jam and then some vegemite on toast.  This keeps 21mths occupied long enough for me to swallow my breakfast in eight mouthfulls and then indicate to Husband that we should go.  Timing!!  I fight indigestion and pull 21mths out of the chair while Husband pays, and we take off (the cafe patrons breathing another sigh of relief).

Of course, 21mths wants to walk, so Husband attempts to hold his hand.  No,  21mths wants to walk by himself, so Husband grabs his hood. No!  21mths won't have that and promptly breaks down and has a screaming fit just as we walk past another cafe with all of the patrons dining outside. ARGHHHH!  One patron calls out 'just give him what he wants!', I smile at that helpful comment (whilst I am thinking of grabbing the nearest spoon and killing him!) and Husband scoops 21mths old up and despite the tears, snot and wails he carries him back to the car.  
Once 21mths is installed in the car, we unanimously vote that we don't eat out until 21mths is at least twenty-five years old.

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