Josh had to work tonight, so I was alone (with the kids) for dinner. I decided that we needed to burn some time and energy and not mess up the kitchen that I had cleaned and mopped today, so I took the kids to a local pizza place called Razorback Pizza. It's a family fav--Bo actually eats there--and it has a game room that takes quarters. (Which I totally prefer because there is nothing worse than thinking that you have enough change for a bottle diet coke only to realize that it's Chuck E. Cheese looking up at you and NOT George Washington.)
Anyway. I try to go into situations like this (you know, the responsible party for a 2 year old, 4 year old, 7 year old, and 9 year old in a restaurant with other paying customers) with a little pep talk for myself and them. The kids get the expected reminders about restaurant etiquette--no yelling, no running, no throwing food, etc. I tend to sing a little Whitney Houston ("I'm Every Woman"), remembering that my "single" parenting is temporary, and cherish these moments that will pass too quickly (so everyone keeps saying).
Fast forward to the end of our meal . . . kids have all eaten (some better than others, but all to my satisfaction), quarter bag is EMPTY, and Caroline and I are having a nice little chat about some stuff she is trying to figure out. The waiter (whose face has relaxed considerably since the first time he approached our table) has brought our to go box and the check and I am assessing our table with a small amount of pride--there were no spills, limited and appropriate use of napkins, no dropped silverware, basically, you would never guess (save the 4 kiddie cups) that 4/5 people sitting there were under 10.
Their time in the game room seemed to have been successful as well--no fighting, no fits when the money ran out . . . I thought it a little strange that the boys had quit coming back and begging for more money, but I mistakenly chalked it up to another example of good behavior.
Remember that verse in Proverbs? The one about what follows pride? Shortly thereafter, Caroline and I wrapped up our conversation and she went back into the game room. I sighed and started gathering our stuff, glad we had more than survived our venture out.
Then Bo ran up to the booth with a basketball. Hmmm. I glanced ever so slightly into the game room and saw Tru shooting a basketball.
Maybe that wouldn't alarm anyone else, but remember they were out of money.
And Tru was shooting it into a basket that wasn't part of the game . . . it was decoration over a row of video games. (He did make it, perhaps the last moment of pride I experienced.)
At this point, I knew that something was up, so I zoomed into the game room and found Bo IN the basketball game. He and Tru had figured out that if they flattened themselves just so, they could squeeze into the part that holds the balls when your turn is up. They had figured out how to play for free.
They were ripping off the pizza place.
I'm sure if there had been vending machines to shake, they would have been eating knocked out Honeybuns while they played.
I quickly grabbed them and our stuff and hightailed it out of the restaurant.
But not before trying to laugh off their antic to the friends of ours who were also there . . . sitting in a booth that faced the basketball game.
"I wondered whose kids those were"
Yeah. They're mine.
6 hours ago