Since the big kids were little kids, I have been complimented for their good behavior in restaurants. Apparently, good behavior in a restaurant isn't very common, as we were complimented almost every time we went out to eat. One woman even told us she would never go out to eat with her own grandchildren, but she'd go out with my kids.
The good behavior had less to do with my parenting and more to do with the fact my kids have always really like to eat. Proof: I rarely got complimented when we were at a store.
We don't get the compliments nearly so often anymore, and I'm thinking it's because the kids are older. I don't know of any 15 year olds who are still running around a restaurant causing trouble. You don't get compliments for normal, expected behavior.
A few days ago, I took all the boys out for lunch between dentist and orthodontist appointments. The waitress not only complimented us, but said, "Your kids are the most well behaved kids I've ever seen." I thanked her, but my body language must have said, "I bet you say that to all the families," because she followed it up with "No, really. They really are."
And with that, my children had to prove her wrong.
When we were basically done with our meal, I had Phoenix take Cuckoo to the restroom, which was just around the corner, practically in the main area of the restaurant. (It's safer to have a big kid take a little kid than to take the little kid myself and leave the rest of the kids to their own devices out in the restaurant. (And by "safer" I don't mean for my children, but for the patrons sitting around them.))
Once they were gone, Turken, of course, had to go to the restroom. At 5, he knows the difference between the men's room and the women's room, and begs us to use the men's. Since Phoenix was in there, I allowed him to go to the men's room, while I continued on to the women's.
The moment my cheeks hit the porcelain, chaos ensued, starting with Cuckoo screaming from the men's room. (I could hear him from my position in the women's room.)
"MOM! MOOOOOOOOM! MOOOOOOOOOM! *paurse* MOM! MOMMOMOMMOM! MOOOOOOMMMMMMYYYYYY!"
Then Turken, from outside the restroom (I knew it was outside, as there was not the echo effect that Cuckoo's screams had)...
"MOM! MOOOOOOOM! MOM! MOM! MOOOOOOOOM!"
As I pulled up my pants and washed my hands, I could hear my little lovelies arguing and yelling in the restroom.
When I got out in the hall, Giant was standing just outside the restroom. He was laughing, saying there was a guy in there who had to endure the ridiculousness of my young children.
I stood out there, unable to do anything about the screaming and hysterical obnoxiousness going on in the men's room.
At one point, the man came out and walked across the hall to go into the kitchen.
Fortunately, I didn't have to storm the bathroom, as my three came out right after him.
I immediately rounded everyone up and into their coats, grabbed the check, and headed for the door, never looking up, as I didn't want to accidentally make eye contact with anyone in the place. Once in the van, I got the whole story.
When they got into the restroom, Phoenix let Cuckoo go into a stall alone, and Cuckoo immediately locked the door.
Cuckoo then went "#2" and started yelling for me, because that's what he does at home when he needs me to wipe his bottom.
Phoenix was at a loss, seeing as how the door was locked and he couldn't get into him. He sent Turken out to find me. When Turken wants to find me, he simply stands and screams for me. In this case, just outside the men's room door, practically in the restaurant (even though he knew I was in the women's restroom and could have easily come to get me).
Somehow Phoenix did manage to get Cuckoo out of the stall and to the sink to wash his hands, as well as get Turken to stop yelling and get in to go to the bathroom. Seems Cuckoo wasn't in the mood to wash his hands, but was in his "I'm going to be as silly as I can and make everything so much more difficult for my caregiver" mood. Thus the hysterical obnoxiousness I heard from the hall. It didn't cross Phoenix's mind to simply let it go and bring him to me, so I could take him to wash his hands in the women's restroom.
And then I asked the pivotal question, not knowing it was the pivotal question.
"What did the restaurant guy do while all of this was going on?"
"He just went to the bathroom and walked out the door, since Cuckoo and Turken were taking up the sinks."
The restaurant guy didn't wash his hands.
Moral of the story?
Over-complimenting children's behavior leads to bathroom germs in your restaurant food. Never over-compliment children's behavior.
*To make us feel better about being the cause of a restaurant full of people being exposed to bathroom germs, we have convinced ourselves that he simply chose to get out of the chaos and wash his hands in a sink in the kitchen in peace. Yup, that's what happened. I'm sure of it. No bathroom germs were in the food. Probably.
Have a lovely day!