My wife believes that our son, even at 16 months, is such a performer that he sometimes creates a scene just so he has an audience. And after a recent attempt at eating out, I’m inclined to agree with her.
When the boy was first born, we were able to eat out with little problems as long as we timed the meal to coincide with one of his frequent naps. As he’s gotten older and naps less, that’s become harder to do, but we really enjoy eating out now and again, so we continue to try.
So at the end of a recent week, we decided to go out to eat at a pretty nice restaurant. My wife gave our son some vegetables and baby ravioli before we left so he wouldn’t be too hungry while we waited for our food. He loves to eat off our plates, so we figured that should work out perfectly.
However, it did not.
Shortly after we sat down, the boy started getting antsy and by the time we received our drinks he was bouncing up and down and making high-pitched whining noises. Luckily, there was no one seated at either of the booths immediately next to us at that point, so we weren’t too worried about it, but we didn’t want him to get any louder.
When we were first married, my wife and I were not happy when we were seated next to a family with a small child at a restaurant because we often had bad experiences where the baby would start screaming and the parents would just keep eating. We decided years ago that when we had children, we would not be “those people.”
So whenever the boy gets too loud, one of us takes him out. That usually quiets him down and after we let him run around outside a bit, he’s usually more receptive to sitting and eating some food.
But on this particular night, he started getting louder and fidgeting more and more despite having toys to play with and some milk to drink. He drank his little cup of milk really quickly and then started reaching for anything he could see on the table. We kept moving things out of the way until he finally got a hand on my wife’s tea glass and knocked it over.
Luckily, the tea just got on the table and the floor, and not on her, but I knew we’d reached the point to take the boy out of the dining room, especially since more people had been seated and there was now people at the table next to us. As I gave my wife my napkin to help clean up, I scooped the boy up and stood to go get more napkins for the mess.
And as soon as I picked my son up, he immediately looked at the table next to us, extended his hand and started waving while saying, “bye, bye.” After two quick waves, he moved his arm 30 degrees and repeated the wave and “bye, bye” to another table and then another.
I could only roll my eyes at him and shake my head as we went for napkins, but my wife started laughing.
The next night, as we headed off to get him ready for bed, he stopped two feet from me and turned back to his mother, waved and told her “bye, bye.” That made me start laughing because, my wife was right, even if the audience is just one person, he’s happy to perform.
William C. Wadsack is the managing editor of the Herald Democrat and a first-time father. He never realized just how expensive children could be until the birth of his son. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @WCWadsackHD.