I had pretty high hopes for how great our Easter was going to be. For one thing, the Out Laws didn't descend upon us like locusts. And we weren't forced into a road trip to go there, either. My parents will be here next weekend, so there was no need to rush down there. My sister and her family had their plans for the day. Lord knows what my brother-in-law Kenny was up to. So it was just us - me, Joey, and Monkey Man.
Early last week, I got an email from Fleming's Steakhouse that they were offering their first-ever Easter Brunch. After examining the menu, I called Joey and suggested that it would be really nice and relaxing to go to Fleming's...not to mention I wouldn't have to spend all day in the kitchen. He agreed, and I made the reservations for 11:45 AM hoping to beat the post-church crowd.
Last night, I noticed that Monkey Man's fever was back. Other than being tired at bedtime, he really seemed pretty normal but I dosed him up with a little Motrin and he slept like a rock. And this morning, other than having to actually wake him up at 8 AM he seemed just fine.
Until we got to the restaurant.
Monkey Man had his ass on his shoulders pretty much from halfway to the restaurant until the appetizers came. I finally had to take him into the restroom and sit on the little bench in there and have a talk with him. What was the problem? Why the shitty attitude? Well, he said a few things...he didn't want to come to a fancy restaurant. He thought we were meeting a bunch of people at the restaurant. He didn't want "brunch" (which he wasn't exactly sure what that meant but he knew he didn't want it). And the litany of complaints went on. So once that was all off his chest and I explained why we were there and promised him that we'd have a nice time he finally shaped up.
The service was a whole other saga. Let's just say that it took us almost 2-1/2 hours to eat from start to finish. And they weren't that busy. I think we just had a crappy waiter. Honestly, we've taken Monkey Man to some very fancy non-kid-friendly restaurants and he has been perfectly behaved. We've also had servers who didn't bumrush us out the door, but did serve us expeditiously knowing that kids have a pretty short shelf life in a restaurant that isn't Chuck E. Cheese. But not this jerk, it was all we could do just to get a refill on drinks and to get our check. Monkey Man was a real champ but honestly by the time the second hour rolled around he was starting to roll his eyes and every time the waiter passed us yet again without acknowledging our wild waving, and sigh, "He's taking FOR-EV-ER!" Joey and I were getting more and more aggravated the longer it took.
As we left the restaurant 10 years later, we were followed out by a couple that had been sitting at the table adjacent to us. They were easily in their upper 70's if not older, and had parked their car directly behind the Pimp Mobile. Once Joey got Monkey Man wrangled into the truck, he was walking around to get in his side and the man waved him over. He complimented us on how well-behaved Monkey Man was at the restaurant, especially considering how long it took us to eat. Hah, they hadn't even gotten there until we were already 45 minutes into our brunch from hell...but I'll take the compliment, it was really sweet.
We do tend to get a lot of compliments on Monkey Man's behavior in restaurants - he is super good, eats well, isn't disruptive, and is generally cooperative. There's a reason for that, though - we have been taking him out to eat since he was a baby. And we eat out - a lot. Like a good 4 nights a week, minimum. So I always tell any parents that ask me the key to this trick - take your kids out to a sit-down place at least once a month. And by sit-down, it doesn't have to be some fancy-schmancy expensive place - I mean someplace where you actually have to order from a menu and wait at least 15 minutes to get your food. McDonald's doesn't count, sorry! But get them used to it early, and you will be grateful when you can make it through a meal in relative peace.
Anyhow, we all came home, took a nap, and then the boys went to WalMart so Monkey Man could purchase some monster trucks with his Easter money. Amazing what a good nap and some monster trucks can do for a fellow. He was in a most stellar mood.
The other day, he was asking me about Jesus and the story of Easter. So, in my best non-Sunday-School-attending manner, I tried to give him the Cliff Notes version of what happened to Jesus. And after I finished, he was really quiet in the back seat. "So Mom, where does the Easter Bunny fit in? And the Easter eggs?" It was all I could do not to laugh.
We survived. And he only ate about 8 pounds of chocolate, which is a huge success.