Never go to a restaurant hungry. That’s my advice to mothers with toddlers. Because the arrival of food to the table is a universal signal to toddlers that it is time to go potty. I get to admire the food on my plate, but never get more than one forkful in my mouth.
As the waiter set down the plates, my toddler stood up in his booster seat and told the whole restaurant that he had to go potty. My husband and I stared at each other and after 3 rounds of rock-paper-scissors, I was on my way. While I walked, my toddler danced and waved at everyone. I looked back longingly at my still warm food, knowing I would never see it at that temperature again.
Upon entering the bathroom, the fun began. He didn’t need to potty. He needed to inspect the entire area. Was there a soap dispenser? What color was the soap? Are there paper towels and can he reach them? And he giggled with glee when he realized there was a hand dryer that he could reach. His hands, face, and hair got thoroughly windblown along with a blast of air up the front of his shirt.
Once I dragged him away from the dryer, he noticed the colorful tile on the floor and began to count them. This was made more difficult because he can only count to four. And, if the number of floor tiles didn’t achieve a multiple of four, something must be horribly wrong.
Before leaving, I had to wash his hands due to the fact he had touched everything in sight. This should be an Olympic event. I had to balance on one leg, place my child on my bent knee, and try to reach his short little arms and hands to the faucet. The only thing achieved was I got splashed and my child remained completely dry. Why!? I think the answer must require some geometry class I never passed in school.
At our table, I got back just in time to see my husband lay his fork down, and wipe his mouth. With my toddler back in his seat, eating cold chicken strips, I noticed I was irritated. Not because I had to take my child to the bathroom, and not because his scissors won over my paper, but because My Plate Was Gone! It was somewhere in the back of the restaurant with the dishwasher, never to be seen by me again. As I raised my forehead from the tabletop, the waiter asked if I would like dessert. Exasperated, I replied: “No thanks, I just came for the bread sticks.”