Yes, it actually happened -- and when it did, I had no idea what to do!!
Jennifer Ginsberg: We've all been there. You're at a restaurant with your little munchkin and she innocently leans on the table -- perhaps a bit too zealously. It tilts ... and all the plates, glasses, and silverware start sliding down. Just as the image of your entire meal crashing to the floor flashes before your eyes, your semi-decent parenting reflexes kick in and you catch it, and breathe a big sigh of relief that Ella's mac 'n' cheese didn't go flying across the restaurant!
But have you ever thought about what you would do if the table actually flipped? I wish I had given this issue some serious thought, so I would not have been struck completely dumb when it happened to me!
Why is it that none of the books or child experts ever explain how to deal with our most perplexing parenting moments? Someone should write a book called "What To Do When Your Kid Flips a Table in a Restaurant." Other chapter titles would include, "What To Do When Your Kid Barfs On You in the Passport Line at the Airport," and, my favorite, "What To Do When Your Kid Pisses on his Brand-New Ugg Boots." Now, that is a book I would definitely buy! So much more useful than all the repetitive, useless drivel out there!
Last Saturday, my friend Michael and I took our 5-year-old sons to lunch at a family-friendly restaurant we frequent regularly.
"Bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a mini cheese pizza, and a raspberry Italian soda!" my son, Shane, proudly ordered when our regular waiter came by. Shane loves to mix up the vinegar and oil and dip his bread into it, a trick he learned from Yours Truly, a.k.a. The Queen of Dipping. Find me an edible surface, and I'll surely find something to dip it in!
We ate our meal and the boys behaved wonderfully. By the time they finished their hot fudge sundaes with mini M&Ms, our table was piled with plates, glasses, silverware, and, of course, Shane's beloved olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We paid the bill, and I asked Michael to watch the boys while I ran to the restroom. Michael said, "OK guys, let's go to the dinosaur fountain outside!" Michael's son, Cameron, excitedly bounced up and used the table for leverage.
Then it happened ... both in slow motion and so rapidly that nothing could be done to prevent it. The table flipped, and everything went flying. Raspberry Italian soda sprayed across the table. Mini M&Ms and goopy hot fudge dribbled onto the ground. A chunk of gnawed-on pizza crust landed on top of some man's salad sitting at the table next to us.
Then I saw it ... that bottle of balsamic vinegar. Shattered in dangerous shards near the man's feet. For some unbeknown reason, he picked up the largest shard, which still had balsamic vinegar sloshing out of it, and madly raised it in the air. Droplets splattered down his arms and onto his jeans.
It looked like a murder weapon ... or the imaginary bloody knife that Macbeth sees floating in the air in Act II. But this wasn't Shakespeare -- it was the real deal. And not only was the man crazily wielding the Balsamic Vinegar Weapon, but he looked f*cking pissed off enough to use it!
My first instinct was to scream, "It wasn't my child!!!" but I figured that probably wasn't too cool. Clearly, the perpetrator of the crime couldn't be held accountable, given that he was only five and sobbing hysterically over the shock of the accident. His father was also unable to apologize to Balsamic Vinegar Dude, because he was busy comforting said child.
So I sat there completely dumbfounded, trying to avert the visual daggers that were being shot in my direction. Instead, I focused on Balsamic Vinegar Dude's jeans, an acid-washed pair of too-tight True Religions, which were now completely splattered with deep purple stains. I tried to abdicate my guilt by telling myself that any man who dons acid-washed True Religion jeans deserves whatever is coming to him.
"Let's go," I said, and quickly grabbed my purse and stood up.
"But don't you need to go to the bathroom?" Michael asked, a typically oblivious male question. Stepping over the carnage and using the bathroom in this restaurant would be like accidentally driving your car through someone's house, then asking the owner for a cup of coffee.
"I think I can hold it!" I said as I grabbed Shane's hand and bolted out the door.
Clearly, high-tailing it out of there was not the right thing to do. I should have acknowledged the incident and, at the very least, apologized to the man. But a mere apology didn't seem like enough, given the gravity of the situation. I suppose I could have offered to buy him a new pair of True Religion jeans, but I could not aid and abet such a hideous fashion crime!
I guess I won't be eating at that restaurant anymore!
|Jennifer Ginsberg is a Los Angeles mother, writer, and addiction specialist with over 15 years of experience in the fields of alcoholism, addiction, and recovery. After receiving her MSW from the USC School Of Social Work and MAJCS from Hebrew Union College, Jennifer served as the clinical director of a 120 bed drug and alcohol treatment facility. She also co-developed an addiction prevention program for Jewish youth, which has been implemented in synagogues nationally. Jennifer now works privately with people who are impacted by the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol and writes about all topics related to motherhood, addiction, and women in politics. Read more about her life at angstmom.com|