But last night, the house was relatively clean, I still needed to pack for my business trip and
Our children had never seen such a small adult and they were mesmerized. While they gaped at our waiter, whilst drinking milk, the lid fell off Elizabeth's cup and she splashed her beverage all over the table. The waiter, a very nice man who Charlie and I had met before, dashed off to grab some napkins. When he returned and made sudden moves to clean up the spilled milk - the kids started screaming like they had just seen a ghost. Or, been jabbed with a cattle prod. While seeing a ghost. And sitting on Santa's lap.
I mean, they were SCREAMING.
People in the restaurant stopped talking. They stopped eating. They stopped drinking their margaritas and turned to stare at us and our pack of screaming toddlers. They wondered, aloud, what in the world had happened to cause all three of the formerly adorable children, to freak out, uncontrollably? Had somebody slipped a jalapeno in their lemonade?!
Although Charlie and I had never experienced anything like this before, we both knew what had happened. The kids weren't merely crying over spilled milk. No, they were completely traumatized by our pint-sized waiter.
It took a good five minutes to calm the kids down. But then, the waiter reappeared, and the kids started all over again. What made the situation much worse was when our waiter, unknowingly asked "What is wrong baby, why are you crying??" And he started making funny faces and waving his arms around, in an attempt to cheer them up.
Eventually, when after turning their highchairs around and holding menus up in front of their faces every time he walked out of the kitchen didn't work ... I told our kind-hearted waiter that sometimes the children are frightened by new people and maybe a woman waitress would help alleviate their stress. And, the stress of every other person in the restaurant. It was a horribly embarrassing situation - but I felt like it was the only option available until we could choke down our food and make a hasty exit.
Last night, when we walked in to the dimly lit restaurant, I noticed that the place was packed. There was a mariachi band playing in one corner, people standing around the bar drinking margaritas and imported beer, and every table was full. While Charlie and I - and our three happy cherubs - waited for a booth ... out of nowhere, our waiter - from before - appeared.
William saw him first ... even before I did. Once he started screaming, I figured that either someone had inadvertently stepped on him - OR - he was scared out of his wits by something he had seen. When I saw the waiter ... I immediately knew that the screaming trigger was caused by the latter situation. When I looked at Charlie with a horrified expression, I was even more horrified to see that Charlie could barely contain his laughter. He actually thought that the small waiter sending our kids in to a tizzy of hysterical crying was funny.
I was really surprised that six months after his first encounter, William was still traumatized by the small waiter. Even more surprising was that both of his sisters were equally traumatized. Similar to before, our three screaming toddlers were enough to cause every person in the restaurant to stop talking, stop eating, stop drinking ... the mariachi band to take pause in their song ... and people wondered, aloud, why were three small children disrupting the festive atmosphere to such an enormous degree??
And more importantly - why aren't their parents LEAVING?
We thought about leaving. Really, we did.
But rather than exiting the restaurant - which is what we would have done if we weren't so darn hungry and had our minds fixated on the tasty concoctions that are served up in molcajetes - Charlie and I picked the kids up, tried to distract them with colorful pictures on the wall, and stayed the course. Darn it. We were eating out. Our kitchen was remaining clean at all costs.
Much to the relief of everyone in the restaurant, our kids stopped screaming. Except for when the small waiter came within 20 feet of our table. The poor guy. Eventually, he realized that he was the reason our kids erupted in to sobbing hysterics - and would avoid walking past our table. Seeing how our kids affected this kindly, small man, made me feel lower than dirt.
Charlie and I had a nice dinner. It was a wonderful meal - even better than we remembered. The kids, when they weren't screaming - had a good time, too. But after having this exact situation repeat itself, we're faced with the decision to:
1) Not eat at this restaurant until the children are old enough to know it is not polite to scream at a waiter ... (not sure when that will be);
2) Hope that eventually the kids will get over their fear of vertically challenged waiters;
3) Call up the restaurant before hand, find out when this guy is scheduled to be off, and plan our nights out, accordingly.
I'm not sure what to do, which is why I have sent this very question to Emily Post.
Because I don't know how long it will take for Emily Post to respond ... and I don't want to deny ourselves the joy of an oven hot molcajetes (not available for take-out), what would YOU do?