Photo credit: solandzh
There are certainly valuable lessons to be learned as a parent, even in a pancake restaurant.
Over spring break, I saw friends’ posts of their family vacations to Disney World, Georgia, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin and the Grand Canyon. Since we took our big trip to Disney World after Christmas (props to Santa in helping with our Disney reveal), we laid low. I couldn’t even call it a staycation because we really didn’t do much. Which is kind of nice, to be honest.
As a part-time, work-from-home parent, I have flexibility to slow things down a bit. The to-do list of both work tasks and home projects swirling around in my head only grows, but I genuinely wanted to spend those few days with my kids.
I had a Groupon for a local pancake house nearby, and their chocolate chip pancakes are as big as your head, and out of this world. So I took the kids for brunch, really building it up to something their traveling friends would even be jealous of:
“Why on earth would you want to go to an indoor water park and eat stale donuts from a continental breakfast, when we can have hot, fresh chocolate chip pancakes with warm syrup brought to our table?”
Now, before I share about this specific visit and how I actually enjoyed myself in a restaurant with my kids, let me give you a little background as to how our meals in restaurants typically go.
- Before we even get into the car, the older two are yelling at each other. The younger one has her shoes on the wrong feet. And I forgot to brush her hair. Brushed teeth are also questionable.
- If they didn’t bring their electronic devices for the five-minute car ride, they ask if they can watch a video. Then they sulk when we tease that it’s going to be a “classic” outing with no devices! (With a bit of smirk added for effect).
- At any restaurant, they push and shove to be in the seat next to the window. Or next to me. (I have three children, and except for feeling especially round some days, I only have two sides; so one of them lucks out.)
- There is always huffing and puffing over menu options, not being allowed to have a Shirley Temple, and being told they can’t play on electronics.
But I don’t know if it’s because of the stellar chocolate chip pancakes, or because it was morning-ish and they were less crabby than they are for evening meals, but we had a divine time at the pancake house.
Let’s start with Mom making them laugh with “Dylan! Say excuse me!” when the outside door made a farting noise as it closed. Again. And again. To see my 10-year-old son smile so widely, and screech “It wasn’t me!” while giggling uncontrollably, was a memory maker.
And then there were numerous facts my oldest daughter shared, that must be true, because she heard it on Buzzfeed.
But we’ll never forget the final cherry on top, which happened while we were checking out at the register.
As usual, the younger two were goofing off, and just as I was about to remind them “Hands to yourself, please”, Carlie (age 7) exclaimed, “But he hit me in the NUTS!”. The cashier and a few patrons around us tried their best to keep their composure, and I leaned down to Carlie’s level, and said most calmly,
“Number one, please keep your voice down, and your hands to yourself.”
“Number two, you don’t have nuts.”
How to enjoy a restaurant with kids?
The valuable lesson this mom learned while eating pancakes, is to check out of the to-do list in my head, and check in to being present and laughing along with my kids. Nuts, or no nuts.
Have I mentioned, the chocolate chip pancakes are stellar? Even leftovers.
Here’s more I’ve been sharing:
Do you have a funny story about taking your kids to restaurants? I can’t WAIT to hear it! Please share it in a comment. Bonus points if it’s about pancakes. Or nuts. (PG rated, folks.)