Actually, they were all really, really nice, thoughtful, caring people who did their very best to soothe my bawling 3-yr old, but in the end, it just backfired on me.
I took the kids for two full hours of open gymnastics this morning to wear their little psychotic asses out. That was awesome. Then I decided to draw out the day a little more and knew everyone was hungry so we headed to Jason’s Deli. Everyone was in a good mood. We ordered our food and took our receipt & plastic table number with us. And then all hell broke loose.
My 3yr old escaped mental patient has a penchant for numbers. Numbers are everything. Today, he decided he didn’t like the table number we were given (32 in case you just have to know) . He wanted a number in the 100’s. As I carry him away screaming, I barely make it to the end of the counter line before three different staff have asked me if he needs a coloring book and crayons. I say ‘sure’ but I know that’s not going to appease the monster. I find a booth table. Another worker comes over to me and tells me to go grab some food from the salad bar for him, anything I want. Again, super sweet. Everyone is trying their best to make him happy and I finally explain what his problem is. Sure enough, they run off and come back with a glorious yellow number – 142. They hand it to him and he thinks it’s Christmas. We sit and have a great meal together. All good.
The manager comes over to us, to check how we are doing and I thank her for the attentiveness of everyone. Really, they were very good. But now I am thinking that the next time we go to Jason’s Deli, he’s going to demand a specific number and Momma ain’t playin’ that game. I like Jason’s Deli too much to turn every visit into a dramatic affair. They’ve got such great food and the free ice cream is to die for. We’ve had a few near misses there regarding the numbers but I always prepare him that the numbers stay in the restaurant. They don’t come home with us, but I guess I hadn’t prepped my 5yr paroled mental patient because while the manager was talking to me, my daughter piped up, “Can we take this home?” My eyes shot wide open in disbelief and my jaw almost hit the floor.
I respond quickly that we cannot, it belongs to the restaurant, other people need the numbers, yadda yadda yadda. I finally take a deep breath and relax when the manager says to her, “well, since you asked, then yes you can take it home.” Oh bloody hell. While the excitement is temporary for today, the battle for future visits has ratcheted up a few notches.
Five minutes later, the same manager comes back and says “we can’t have only him having a number,” and hands my daughter number 143. Oh.My.God. I get a sense of foreboding in the pit of my stomach. I know what’s coming and it’s going to be bad. The same sense of doom one has when perhaps walking through land mines. My daughter is squealing with delight, kissing her number. Actually kissing and hugging it.
We leave, and I thank the manager again for her kindness. She was exceptionally kind, all the staff were. But I know that hell is around the corner. The ride home was delightful and I allowed myself a glimpse of hope that maybe this had all worked out. Maybe it wasn’t a disaster after all and that it was worth the crap I’m going to get from the illogical little beasts next time I go there.
But then we get home. And within an hour, my escapee decides that he wants 143, not 142 and the tantrum that ensued was epic. Twenty minutes later, the puffy faced, hyperventilating midget is not letting go of the notion that his number is 143, even though he was specifically given 142. After he had calmed down, twenty years later, I explained that 143 was his sister’s number but that he could have a turn holding 143. The beast was assuaged but the stage had now been set for a whole afternoon of territorial battles and trying ever so hard to find each other’s buttons. Unfortunately, they succeeded. A lot.
Now that the afternoon has come to a close, neither child gives a flying crap about their number and I’m opening a beer. Lots of them.