Check please!

Every time we venture out to render any of our local eateries functionally useless and terrified in our wake, I think, “That was so nice. Let’s never do that again.”

Yet, a month or two later, like a bad dream you can’t quite recall, we try again and then, I remember so very clearly the horror. Oh right, in that last dream, no one made it out of the cruise ship alive.

No one makes it out of the cruise ship alive. Ever.

Why yes, I’d love a refill of Diet Coke. I’ll just toss the empty cup to you over the throngs of children wearing macaroni tribal face art and eating straw wrappers. Yes, you can also bring the check. Yes, please add the customary 40% for not calling the authorities to have us physically removed. Yes, I would like the molten lava cake to go. I would also like to bring your bartender home for a few hours. I can’t quite get the Dark and Stormy right.

Under the table it looks like a fight that no one won.

My face looks like a fight lost due to seven years of mothering Vikings.

My husband looks for the closest emergency exit.

Things are shouted. Terrible things. Things that have waitstaff playing a to-the-death game of rock, paper, scissors in the kitchen in an effort to avoid our table. Things like, “MOMMY, THIS IS SO FUNNY. I SAID COCKPORN INSTEAD OF POPCORN. COCKPORN! IS COCKPORN A WORD?”

Step right up and get your hot buttered cockporn. Oh yes, and the check. We’d love the check.

They always want to order their own food. My son orders his food loudly in the direction of anyone who will listen immediately upon entering any fine dining establishment that does not suddenly close for a suspiciously well-timed yet impromptu Department of Health inspection upon seeing our minivan enter the parking lot.

Often, I will look across the expanse of corn dogs and table to fashion my napkin into a white flag of defeat. Signaling with the glare of the rescue fire I’ve built under the table that it’s time for my husband to start the van while I gather coats and whatever is left of my dignity.

Often, over the loud requests for an ice cream shaped like a walrus, I will see adults staring at our table. May I suggest an eatery that does not have an ice cream cone as a mascot? Oh ye adults without children, what are you doing here? Get thee to a steakery! Run. Don’t turn back. Don’t worry about us. We’ll be ok here…as soon as we get the check. We’d love the check now.

On one hand, they must learn how to eat out in public. On the other hand, I keep getting banned from public places. On the other, other hand, can you PLEASE bring the check now?

Random Stranger: “Oh, your children were so lovely and well behaved.”
Me *wipes mustard from eyebrow with stray floor fry*: “Why, thank you! We’re working on it!”

We’re working on it.

Mother-farkin’ CHECK. PLEASE.


  1. I can so relate to this! Hubby and I love to eat out, and we’re trying to teach the boys about good restaurant etiquitte, but they love to talk loudly, order loudly, get up and walk around. Sometimes I cannot get out of there fast enough!

  2. Don’t forget the grabby little hands that snake out to steal/grab the extra straws and papers from the servers aprons. The male servers seem particularly freaked out…

  3. My husband is still scarred from our last family dinner outing. I was like, “What, you have a problem with our kids crawling under the table and sticking French fries in their ears to see how far they can go? Dude. This is amateur hour. Seriously.” Since I usually take the kids out alone when he travels, Hubs is a total rookie. He was horrified. I scoffed at his old-fashioned notions of good behavior and told him to lower his standards and toughen up. No food on the ceiling = success in my book.

  4. We have such similar experiences.

  5. Oh my god, those days are only just a few years behind and I can still remember them vividly. I think I have PTSD from it. Apologizing to every table around us and every one on the way out. Threatening to take children out to the car to beat them in private. One time they pushed me right over the edge and I took one beast-child out to the car to actually follow through on my threat and when I got to the car it was locked and my husband had the keys. I was totally defeated, walked back into the restaurant with the smug looking little demon and made my husband pay for our half eaten lunches and leave. I don’t think we went out for six months after that.

    • We just had an experience that made me think that these days are over which, of course, means next time I will have to be rescue coptered out of there. We use the, “do you want to sit in the van!” line often. Which, of course, is totally legal.

  6. I hear you, and know of what you speak all too well. Now, right after we order, we say, “oh, and you can just bring the check now.”

    • HA! We are still having those moments. On my first mothers day, we went to a steak house and my DD was exceptionally clingy at that time. She wanted to sit with me and, when lifting her from her highchair, she kicked over a whole pitcher of tea on me and the table. They graciously offered to move us to another table. They banished us to a back room completely empty at the back table. Good times!

    • That is the way to do it. “We will have 5 corn dogs and the check.”

    • And, to you, Anonymous. We are constantly put in back rooms or near emergency exits. We ARE the emergency.

  7. I kid you not, this was the next thing I looked at on the interwebs:

  8. Two things:
    1. I loved this.
    2. I will never look at popcorn the same.

  9. Way too easy to relate to this. I HATE eating out…with my kids. Dining out is just like childbirth in that I always forget how messy, painful and usually expensive it is…yet I do it time and time again. Loved this post!

  10. I so enjoyed ready this post! Our two girls are grown but this takes me right back to the early days – we finally had to eat only at places where you pay first, eat second, ie, fast food places. We also had a signal to use if we needed to leave anywhere immediately. Either my husband or I would just say CODE BLUE and we were otta there! Thanks for this fun read. It does get better and try to enjoy the chaos, it passes too fast.

  11. I remember those days, oh so well! And they those days are long past. The trauma stays with you; this I can promise.

  12. Cockporn *teehee*

    I’m not at all immature.

  13. When my (now 3 yo)son was one, he screamed so loud in a restaurant that we got kicked out. Like, literally, the manager came over and said that he either needed to shut up, or we had to go. NOW.

    We hadn’t even ordered our food or gotten our drinks yet. A new record.

  14. SO FUNNY!

  15. I have had this happen too many times and will say this I hate eating out with my kids, but am a glutton for punishment and do it over and over again!!

    • Oh Janine, you are speaking my language. Next time I want to go out, will you fly over here real quick and slap me with an under the table clam strip one of your kids threw on the floor during your last restaurant outing? Please and thank you.

  16. Playing rock-paper-scissors to the death – YES! You’re my mothering hero. I don’t think we’ve ever taken all 5 kids out to eat simultaneously. They’ll never know how to eat in public, but at least I can wipe mustard off my face with a fry in the privacy of my own dining room. 😉

  17. You are the only person I know who can make something so hideous sound almost lovely with your words. Just shared on fb.

  18. I LOVE THIS!!! Just shared on FB.

    Walrus-shaped ice cream… I’m going to be laughing about that for a long time! 🙂

    • Thank you, Anna! It is always ice cream shaped in these ridiculous unnecessary shapes. Monsters, whales, the Eiffel Tower. They could bring it out in a garbage bag and my kids would still eat it. Hey, garbage bag ice cream. That’s the next big thing…

  19. Hot buttered cockporn…NICE! Really funny and tragically visual. Will share on FB.

  20. i totally relate. our last visit to Longhorn Steakhouse with the crew ended in my 3 year old lofting a french fry at a neighboring diner and then wrestling the steak knife out of her grasp!! lol

    • Oh Sue, you and I have matching 3 year olds. Every time we go out, we sit down, ask for one million napkins and then I confiscate everyone’s knives and the unused knives of the table next to us. Safety first.

  21. I hear ya. My two are older now but we always used to joke as we’d leave the table of a Chinese buffet restaurant that it always looked as if a pack of wolverines were at the table. And God forbid if there were king crab legs! Holy sh*t the manager would have to call in FEMA and a hazmat crew to get all the bits of shell off the table, the walls, the light fixture, the back of the guy’s head next to us…..

  22. Okay, you really are amazing. Your timing is perfect; your writing is tight. If I didn’t love it so much, I’d loathe you with every egotistical writer bone in my body. But I’m too busy smiling, nodding, and laughing to be jealous.

  23. You know I totally feel you on this. Especially since we took all the little people out last night and one had to pee and we had to take the 2 year old outside. All before we even sat down. Love this so much. Love you more.

  24. “My face looks like a fight lost due to seven years of mothering Vikings.”

    That is the best line in this whole post, imo. There should be a parenting awards ceremony held at each school, you’d win the “Best Mothering of miniature Vikings” award for sure.

  25. Seriously, were you with me at dinner yesterday? “What were we thinking” is usually said many many times in a meal. And cockporn… my little one (3) says “Cockcorn” and every time, my older one (5) says “Mommy, why does she keep saying Cockcorn?” The little says “Not Cockcorn, Cockcorn…” and then Big repeats herself… The continues for a good 15 minutes… I am both mortified and giggling… they don’t let us back to those places….

  26. Hold on. Were you guys at Buffalo Wild Wings in Minnesota on Tuesday night? I swear to god it looked like raccoons had been let loose on and under that table. There were no people in sight, however. Smart folk…or they’ve learned, like you, to get the hell outta there!!
    Hang in there, sister. One day (in the far distant future) you’ll be able to show your face in restaurants again. 🙂

  27. I absolutely love this! We have 5 that are 11 years old and under. We try time and time again because we know (think) they will eventually learn how to behave. Our current battle is the I want to sit next to Mommy tantrum the minute we walk through the door. No matter how much we have discussed who is sitting next to whom on the drive there. Good times.

  28. I can so relate……my sister, who does not have children, taught my 4&5 year old to blow the straw wrapper. it usually hits me in the face but occasionally they score with a hit to the waiter or a stranger….either way its a great way to announce their intentions. oh and why do they insist on ordering crapspensive food that we have in our freezer at home??? Little brats….

  29. Yeah…will we EVER learn?? “Hi, Brett, thanks for taking care of us tonight, we need 2 mac and cheeses, two adult plates of shame and the check please. Oh don’t forget the wine, and just go ahead and put two glasses on there cause, unlike my meal, I WILL finish those! Run along dude, make it snappy! Extra straws and napkins too!” And if the place has a “claw toy machine” forgetaboutit!! Yeah…good times, LOVE your post lady!! Devan

  30. I completely get the part about the FEMA-declared disaster area under the table. We would try to go to ethnic eateries where the volume level tended to be on the louder side so my kids’ booming voices wouldn’t startle anyone. (Both kids spoke so LOUDLY that I seriously considered having them tested for hearing-impairments, but then I realized they could hear me secretly opening a bag of chips from the other side of the ouse, so there went that theory.)

    While my kids were generally well-behaved in public, they enjoyed eating at restaurants so much that they basically couldn’t shove the food quickly enough into their talking mouths. As luck would have it, our favorite places also had the foods that stuck the worst to restaurant carpeting:

    Chinese = rice
    Mexican = refried beans/salsa/crumbled chips

    Eating out was a very expensive venture, as each time we would leave an extremely large tip (I’m sure at times it was almost as much as the food bill) just to ensure we would be allowed to step foot in there again.

  31. Last night at a very loud restaurant, my 3-year-old tipped her chair back and landed on a very large hipster/biker/dude. I’ve never seen someone look more uncomfortable. Luckily he was good padding and L.E. liked the way his beard was long.

  32. Ohhh how I’m not looking forward to those days! Luckily my little one is only 4 months old. Unluckily, he is a drool-factory, noise machine who finds his bodily excretions hilarious. He also hates clothes and being called chunky. Ha! My mom thought it would be nice to take D’S and I to lunch, where he promptly began screaming and turning purple until I stripped him down to his diaper and his him under a blanket. Then the farts began…never have I been so embarrassed!

  33. We have two teenagers and a six year old. Just when we get the older ones trained the six year old reminds us just how far we have come. I literally put him under the table with my phone and tell him to stay there until the food comes. I am sure the poor boy is going to need therapy. But better him than me, right?

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