Ordinarily I firmly believe this. I love nothing more than trying out new cuisines and restaurants and indulging in pub grub. There is however a fly in the ointment, boys. On some level I believe that food is something to be appreciated and eating out is indeed something of a treat. However in boyspeak, this ethos is only the case if we go to McDonalds.
Tonight I have made a mistake and I am disappointed and fed up. As Thursday night is the new Friday night and quite frankly I couldn’t be arsed cooking, I decided to take the kids to our local pub for something to eat. The menu looked lovely and was kid friendly and it all seemed promising to me. On announcing that we were going to go out to eat, older boy complained, said he didn’t want to go, why did we have to go and was most disgruntled that we were going to walk there, the pub is about half a miles walk away. After much duress we get to the pub and at first everything seems ok. The boys quickly select what they want to eat and drinks are purchased. We have the usual argument over fizzy versus non fizzy drinks, but nothing overdramatic. The boys insist on nicking my phone which drives me mad and are up and down like yo-yos but with the promise of food I can deal with that. At this point I still believe that it is going to be ok.
Time marches on, their Dad still hasn’t arrived and whilst the kids have eaten a substantial proportion of the food, older boy has already announced that they dont’ do the meat right. He has ordered a mixed grill and claims that the gammon tastes sweet and the steak hasn’t been cooked properly. I have the distinct feeling that this is money well spent (not). Younger boy has decided that he is bored, I in the meantime would love to just sit and enjoy my dinner. Younger boy and I are sharing what is called a plank, which comprises lots of yummy elements including chicken wings, calamari and nachos, despite the company I am partially in heaven. I distract myself (in between telling the boys to shut up and sit down) by messing around on my phone. To onlookers I know this makes me look like a bad parent but I am starting to lose my soul. Things reach a crescendo when one of the waitresses tells the boys to sit down because this is a restaurant. They obey but dont seem to be particularly shame faced. I on the other hand am mortified. What makes it worse is that the waitress knows a Mum of one of older boy’s friends who also works at this pub. I cannot quite believe that the boys at nearly 10 and 7 cannot go out for a meal, take pleasure in the whole experience, eat nicely and moreover be grateful.
Their Dad turns up and immediately notes the disarray. He helps himself to the remains and appraises the situation. Despite their apparent boredom, the boys want a dessert. As they are on 2 for 1 offer and I know I might get some leftovers (sod the diet that I am always supposed to be on), I agree. The desserts arrive and get eaten to an extent and played with to an extent. Older boy refuses to eat his cause younger boy has licked it. Younger boy is furious that I have stolen his dessert, even though he had paid no attention to it for the past 10 minutes and it looked too good to resist.
The meal draws to a close. Husband and I agree and tell the boys that they will not be taken out for a family meal for two months. Luckily (in one respect) things are very different when we take the boys out individually. Although this seems like an appropriate punishment/solution, it does make me wonder what the point of being a family is when we can’t go out together and remain harmonious.