I should have known better than to take the boys to a restaurant, alone, when The Lad greeted me at daycare pick-up bawling his little eyes out. But, I didn't want to cook and I was bummed the husband had to work late and my beastly little Lad assured me he was crying only because another child had head-butted him. ("What'd you do to him?" "I SHUSH him because he was talking too loud.")
So, we went to the restaurant. This is a trendy little restaurant/bar that opened up not that long ago in town. They serve homey comfort food and good beer and their claim to fame is that they offer s'mores as a dessert. While I hoped to blow the boys' mind with the canned flame for roasting, I had the presence of mind not to mention it to them, just in case poor behavior would make dessert a no-go. This quickly proved to be the case.
The Boy was perfectly behaved, sitting on his bottom, ordering his food in a clear, loud voice, and remembering to say please and thank you. But The Lad lived up to his nickname. He was The Beast. Some of it was just 2-year-old wriggling and squirming and inability to modulate his voice. However, I think we all can agree that screaming "NO, NO NO!" in your mother's face because she has the audacity to put your macaroni and cheese on a plate to cool is unacceptable behavior at any age past say, oh, a year. (And even then, it would be corrected.) That incident caused me to whisk Beastie off to the bathroom for a hissing lecture on what proper restaurant behavior is and, upon our return to the table, ask the waitress for the check in case another screaming fit necessitated a hasty departure.
Luckily, Beastie quieted down a bit then and we were able to finish with limited hissing on my part and hollering on his. It still wasn't pretty, though. When the waitress brought over our to-go box, Beastie was backward in his chair, trying to climb the ladder back.
"Did you save room for s'mores?" she asked. I could have smacked her.
The Boy, who really had been just as good as he could be, looked at me with the most pathetic set of puppy dog eyes you ever saw. He practically whimpered.
"No, kiddo. I'm sorry. It comes with an open flame and, well, LOOK at your brother." Beastie now was hanging upside-down to pick up a fork he'd thrown on the floor. "He'd burn down the restaurant!"
The Boy giggled. "Yeah, he would."
"I FIRE RESTAURANT! I FIRE IT DOWN!"
I tried to hustle the boys out quietly through the bar where a hipster listening to an iPod and probably writing beat poetry sat. He had been casting annoyed glances in our direction the whole meal. We got to the door -- and not one of us could get the damn thing open. We pushed. The boys threw themselves at it. We jiggled the handle. Finally, as both boys shouted, "WE CAN'T GET OUT!", Mr. Hipster sighed and came over to help. He barely touched the knob and the door flew open. I wanted to crawl under a rock.
Beastie, determined to be the Worst Child Ever that night, defied another directive as the boys climbed into the car. I don't even know what it was, but I was ANGRY and was speaking with the Wrath of Mom as I sat him down on the curb. I scolded him and asked him the two questions that always come with discipline in our family.
"WHAT TIME DO WE LISTEN?"
"First time," he sing-songed, not looking at me.
"WHO IS THE BOSS?"
For the record: 1. That is not the correct answer. 2. The Lad went directly to bed when we got home. 3. I hate beat poetry.
Epilogue: The Boy and I had a date that weekend and went back to get him s'mores. They were delicious.