I remember when I used to get the urge to prove to the world that I was a culturally diverse human being and exceptional parent.
That was when my kids were young. And before I gave up.
I remember taking my two youngest children — when they were 6 and 4 — to an elegant Chinese restaurant.
The first thing the 6-year-old did was unfold the linen napkin and make a parachute for the G.I. Joe he had hidden in his pocket. He climbed under the table to assemble Joe’s apparatus and once done, stood on his seat and threw Joe skyward yelling, “Bombs away!”
Meanwhile the 4-year-old remarked to the waitress loudly that he didn’t want no dadgum subgum chicken because he had already had the chicken pox. I tried to point out the boy’s healing scabs — proof that he was no longer contagious — but the waitress just kept backing away from our table, while the people at the next table suddenly disappeared.
And don’t think I didn’t notice when we later left the restaurant, that those same people were sitting in another corner of the restaurant.
The 4-year-old liked the egg drop soup and was devouring it until the 6-year-old asked, “What are those gross white things floating around in it?”
The boys were thrilled that I was letting them order real tea for this special occasion. At the time the tea was delivered to our table, I was in the Outer Limits, daydreaming of being in a bathroom by myself with no one pounding on the door asking what I was doing and why was it taking me so long.
When I snapped out of it, the guy at a table to my left was giving me a look of disgust. The kids had each dumped about 16 packets of sugar into their tea and had used up all of the sugar at our table and the one behind us.
I glared back at the man. What the heck?! Did he think I would purposefully jack these kids up on sugar and caffeine? Did he think I want them even more hyper than they normally are? Was he implying with that look that I was a bad mother? Geesh, a bad mother would have ordered a bottle of Chinese wine with a wine glass and two junior cups with lids and straws.
Hey, buddy, it’s a special night and we’re trying to get some culture here, so bug off you dipshit son of a ——- …
“No hon, that’s enough sugar … no more sugar.”
Steaming bowls of fried rice, sub gum pork and sweet and sour chicken were delivered to our table and the 4-year-old, who never talked in anything but his LOUD VOICE, immediately began complaining.
“Ughhh … What’s those green things? What’s those round things? Are those oniyuns?! What’s that pink sauce? That’s not chicken! Where’s the leg? I want a leg! I can’t eat this! I will die!”
I ignored his cries of protest and ladled out a small amount of each dish onto our plates.
The 6-year-old wanted to season his own food.
“No mom, I’m not a baby like Ben. I can do it myself. No, let me! Whoa! — that came out fast, didn’t it? Here, just a little of this brown sauce — whoa! — that came out really fast, too, didn’t it? Can I use your napkin, mom? This yellow stuff is too hot! I need the pink sauce. Whoa! That came out fast …”
The 4-year-old was incensed. “I am not a baby!”
He ended up consuming nothing but two large bowls of white rice and two glasses of sugar-laden tea.
He then announced in that deafening preschooler voice that he was full and he needed a hard, folded-up cookie stuffed with paper thingies.
Both kids broke open their cookies and I translated and read their fortunes.
You must keep your eyes open to see the nice surprises in life. (i.e.: Be good and you’ll get a Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtle at Wal Mart.)
He who rides with the wind has too much wind in his sails. (i.e.: Never, ever stay up past your bedtime or your eyes will grow shut.)
The boys loved their fortunes. However, mine was somewhat ominous.
by viv sade