According to a recent survey by a parenting magazine, IHOP was ranked as one of the top 10 restaurants for families. The kid friendly atmosphere and "fun food" were touted among the listed attributes. I find this survey disconcerting. What does it say about my parenting skills or my son if we were banned from one of the top 10 family friendly restaurants?
Yes, I was asked to leave IHOP. They actually brought me my food, in a to go box, and the check at the same time. The manager kindly suggested that I would be more comfortable eating my pancakes at home.
I woke up early with Robby. We decided it would be a nice treat to let Daddy sleep in so I decided to take Robby out to breakfast. I feel that I should mention that this is the first time I have ever taken him to a restaurant without another adult for "back up."
I got dressed, but I let Robby stay in his Thomas the Train pajamas. He looked charming in his snug fit jammies and his dinosaur sneakers. He was excited about going out for pancakes and was a chatterbox on the entire car ride.
When we got to IHOP, I made the quick decision to let him sit in the booth with me. This is the first time he wasn't contained in a high chair at a restaurant, but I was convinced that he would be good. I believe I was deceived by his cuteness!
He happily slid into the booth, and I took the opposite bench. We ordered, and I began sipping on my coffee. I was feeling quite proud that he was behaving so well. I thought I had this "parenting thing" in the bag! I took out my cell phone and took a picture.
After I went through the contact list on my phone and sent the picture, I put my phone away. My eyes were only diverted from Robby for a moment or two, but when I looked up he was gone. I immediately began scanning and saw him to me at the end of the section, wearing a huge smile.
I called him back to me. He waved. Then he pointed to the kitchen, and took off. I tried to get out of the booth to chase after him. My prosthetic got stuck on the table leg. In my rush, I couldn't get free. I kept kicking the table leg, but I was stuck.
It is not unusual for me to have difficulty exiting from booths at restaurants. It is easy for my prosthetic to become wedged between the table leg and the seat. I usually have to look under the table to visually locate the obstacle so that I can maneuver around it. I had to slowly and deliberately guide my prosthetic around the table leg so I could chase after my toddler. This cost me several valuable seconds in the chase!
Even though he is little, Robby can still be fast. By the time I caught him, he was running around the kitchen area. He had grabbed two eggs and was circling the line chefs, chanting "egg egg egg." All work in the kitchen stopped while I chased my little urchin.
I caught him and took the eggs. I put them on the counter, and apologized to everybody who was looking in my general direction. I picked him up, and he began screaming. Actually, screaming is a bit of an understatement. Wailing might be a more apt description.
We returned to our booth in time to see the manager approaching us, with our food in Styrofoam boxes. Humiliated, I left a large tip, paid for our meal and went home. We woke Daddy up when we returned, and Mommy took Tylenol. We will try to go out to eat again, perhaps when he is 18.