No smiles at the Golden Arches

Since I had all these errands to run on Friday – and yes, I did manage to find sandals for Ane at Payless Shoes, but now she wants to wear them AND wants a pedicure – I decided that maybe we should stop somewhere for lunch before we went home for naps, because it would be easier and because if the kids happened to fall asleep in the car, they would not be starving when they woke up.

I had two happy, smiling children when I walked into the big “Mc” place. I had two screaming children when I walked back out.

The lunch part went fine – the kids split a 6 piece chicken nugget kids’ meal, and I bought an extra milk along with it. Once Ane had decided that she had had enough (which I think was two nuggets, half her chocolate milk and a handful of fries), she was off to play in the large toy that takes up half the room in this play area. Tad, being a more leisurely eater, was content to finish his nuggets (and his sister’s share) and watch the other kids play.

Once he was done eating, though, I shouted out a warning to Ane – “I’m going to change Tad and then we’re going to go!” – and then took a squirming Tad to the family bathroom right there in the play area, so I wasn’t too far away. He was dry, astonishingly. So I “repackaged” him, took him back out, and then called to Ane – time to go.

Oh, naive, silly Mommy.

Ane protested – she needed two more minutes! I said no, I had already given her a warning. Then the threats began – get over here or else. Sobbing theatrically, Ane put her shoes and coat on while I desperately tried to hang on to Tad, who was screaming because I wouldn’t let him get down and play. He is still too little to play in that thing, especially considering that he would never come out of his own accord and the much bigger kids that wouldn’t be watching for him in there. So, with one kid under one arm, screaming wildly, and the other dragging behind me, crying hysterically, we left the Golden Arches.

As we walked through the main eating area, two older ladies – definitely grandmas – were getting a good laugh from my crying parade. “Don’t worry, dear, we understand,” one of them said to me. I smiled and walked on, and loudly stated, “I thought you guys were supposed to leave here happy!” That got a few more laughs going.

I wrestled both kids into their car seats, and then drove home with two sulking children. When we got home, they were still sulking and mad – and so not asleep. I sent Ane to listen to a read-a-long story in her room while I read to Tad and got him settled down. The kids took decent naps after their precision displays of bad temper (line courtesy of Monty Python), but the whole incident just sucked.

They behave so much better at sit-down restaurants, they really do. But put a giant toy in the room with them and all hell breaks loose. Note to self: drive-thru. Or places with no play areas.

Weren’t those places designed to be helpful to parents???

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