Saturday night, Hubby decided he wanted to take the kids and me “over the river” to the USA for dinner at the Olive Garden. Why? Because it is delicious, inexpensive and we already needed beer and organic, homogenized milk which are also delicious and inexpensive in the USA. So, we packed up a diaper bag, a booster seat, a cooler bag full of sippy cups and snacks, our passports and loaded the babes into the car.
For the first time ever, Hubby didn’t check his “Border Buddy” app to check the wait times on the bridge before deciding to venture Stateside. Obviously, for the first time ever, we got trapped on the bridge in the longest lineup ever. It was okay at first. The kids were happy and didn’t mind the car ride. After a while, they noticed we were at a dead stop and were not happy. We played nursery rhyme CDs and sang along loudly to keep them entertained, I turned around backwards and played peek-a-boo through their carseat mirrors (since they are both in rear-facing carseats), I eyeball-measured the space between their carseats and debated trying to squeeze my butt back there but wasn’t confident I would fit…or get back out. Then I distracted them with books and snacks. I passed veggie straws and goldfish crackers back to each baby. I’m not going to lie. I was getting a little cranky and hungry myself. This was not a good idea. They were searching every car on the border. I prayed in my head that we wouldn’t get pulled in and searched… not because we have anything to hide (Well nothing illegal anyway. I’m sure there are some abandoned sippy cups with questionable contents and fallen snacks that now resemble science experiments stuck under the seats) but because if we have to take these babies out of their carseats, they were not going to get back in without a fight. Luckily, we were not searched and after 90 minutes of sitting on the bridge in the hot sun at dinner time, we were on our way.
It was now just after 6pm. Getting a table at the Olive Garden at prime time with a high chair was unlikely. I tried to think of back-up restaurants on the way there as the kids moaned and whined and I tried not to whine. We pulled into the Olive Garden parking lot to see that the entire state of New York was already there. We figured we would go in and see how long the wait was anyway. The kids both needed to get out of their carseats and stretch. Hopefully they had a table because getting them back in their carseats was not going to be an easy feat. We walked up to the hostess stand with 2 babies a diaper bag and a booster seat in tow. 45 minute wait. No thank you. There is no way these little ones will survive that long. They are normally in the tub getting ready for bed at 7pm. I cringe just thinking about what two tired and hungry babies would be like in a restaurant at 7pm. Not happening. We walked back to the car and wrestled the babies back into their carseats. I understand and value the importance of carseats for safety reasons but it is times like these that I wish I could just hold them on my lap while we found somewhere else to eat. They both screamed hysterically figuring we were a) starving them and b) going to leave them back there for another 90+ minutes. We tried to think of where to go. There was a Chili’s next door. We haven’t been there with the kids and I couldn’t recall if they had a decent kids’ menu. We figured we would try it since it was close. I decided that if it was too long of a wait, we would go across the street to Wegman’s and get a rotisserie chicken and some sides from the deli and have a picnic. I really hoped that didn’t happen because sitting on the bridge for almost 2 hours to picnic in a parking lot with a toddler and a baby does not seem like a good time but it was a decent backup plan. This time Hubby ran in to check while I sang and acted out “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes” to the two kids screaming like hyenas in the backseat.
When Hubby walked out to the car, I nervously watched for the signal. Thumbs up! Yes! Victory is ours! We quickly unloaded the kids and our gear and headed in to the restaurant. We got set up at our table and our fabulous server took the kids’ food order at the same time as our drink order so the kitchen could get started on their meal while Hubby and I figured out what we wanted to eat. This worked out well! Do you know what Chili’s has for a tired, hardworking mama who just put on a theatrical performance for 90 minutes to entertain two cranky babies while stuck on the bridge? 2 for 1 margaritas! Ole! Chili’s had a great children’s menu. For $4.99, we could get a chicken platter which was a grilled chicken breast along with a choice of side and a cup of milk. We chose steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes for the side but they had all kinds of great options like corn on the cob, sliced pineapple, mandarin oranges, rice and celery sticks with a ranch dip. I was impressed. The other great thing about Chili’s – they are lightning fast! I was cutting up the babes’ chicken breast and broccoli into bite-sized pieces before I had even finished my first margarita… and I was thirsty! Our meal came with an appetizer so we got the consistently delicious chips and salsa. As I was serving mashed potatoes between both babies’ plates, Miss M surprised me and helped herself to the nacho chips. She dunked it in the salsa and slurped it off then dunked it again and again and again. This child does not know the rules against double-dipping. Or triple-dipping. Or whatever you call dipping the same soggy chip for the tenth time. Hubby and I were pretty surprised that she liked it as it is a bit spicy. She did. Hubby shared his theory on how she can handle spicy food because I ate Thai food and other spicy stuff when I was pregnant. Maybe he is right. I don’t cook overly plain for either of the kids. I want them to develop a palette for different flavours but I am cautious about spicy food simply because they eat with their hands and I worry about them getting it in their eyes. Miss M ate an impressive amount of spicyish salsa before we stopped her so she would eat her own meal.
Just like the Olive Garden, Chili’s was extremely family-oriented, with our server automatically bringing us side plates for dividing the kids’ food and a stack of napkins without us having to ask. Servers popped by to chat with the kids and make us feel welcome and not like a nuisance…the way you can feel at some other restaurants when you walk in with two babies. We enjoyed a tasty meal in a great atmosphere. As Hubby and I were halfway through our meals, both kids started to get a bit fussy. I pulled out my iphone and played an episode of Dora the Explorer for Miss M. She quickly grabbed my phone, closed the video and opened her preschool app which shows 3 animals and says “Where is the dog?” etc. She has learned so much from this little app and loves it. Mr. C was fussy as well so I bounced him on my lap while Hubby cut up my steak for me so I could finish eating my dinner with one hand. I started to get that feeling like someone was looking at me. I looked up to see a table of 4 adjacent to us turned, looking at us and scowling as they muttered amongst themselves. The kids weren’t being loud and were under control but in case we were disrupting them, I took Mr. C for a walk around the restaurant when he started to fuss again. Miss M was content playing with the phone. I sat back down with a happy Mr. C and noticed that this table of 4 was still scowling at us. Then I heard one of the woman remark to who I assume was her husband that it was “absolutely disgusting that a baby be playing with a phone.” I couldn’t believe it! I calmed myself down and ignored the comment given that it wasn’t directed at me and these two couples were dressed like they belonged to a religion that did not support the use of technology. They were entitled to their opinions and beliefs. However, for the sake of not disturbing this entire restaurant, Miss M would be playing with my phone because it was keeping her quiet and occupied. She was having a blast laughing and imitating the sound the chicken/cow/horse made as she pressed each one.
As these four diners paid their bill and walked past us to leave, one of the women remarked ‘That is totally disgusting!” as she passed Miss M and me. Hubby didn’t hear it and with my back to them, I couldn’t be 100% sure it was directed at me…though I am 99.9% sure it was. My blood was boiling but I let it go. I wasn’t about to allow one person’s dark cloud to steal our sunshine. I can’t stand people who pass judgement on other parents. I certainly am not the best mother or a perfect mother… but I am the best mother at mothering MY kids. Not your kids or your kids or even your kids…just MY OWN! I know what is best for them and I know what works for us. As mothers, we need to stand together and support each other; not point fingers, criticize and pass judgement. Ugh. Rant over.
We made a quick stop at TarJay to stock up on beer and homo milk before heading for the bridge. Drinks for the whole family! We were also extremely excited to discover that Target USA now has a knock-off, store brand of Diaper Genie refills. We were pretty happy with this find. Our excitement over knock-off diaper genie refills can be directly correlated to our lack of life. We bought one to try! Here’s hoping it works well! Stay tuned.
On the way home, the kids were tired and fussy so we fired up the baby tunes again. I belted out the lyrics to “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt” as Miss M joined in for the “Badadadadadadada” part. Hubby isn’t as used to driving while listening to the kid beats as I am. His jaw was clenched and he looked like his eye balls were about to explode. I turned down the music and said “You can say it!” He said “Say what?” to which I replied “You can say how much of a turn-on my amazing singing is!” Without skipping a beat, Hubby said “Yes! Please sing Jingleheimer louder! That’s it! So hot!”
andbabymakes3imean4 is one mom’s adventures while tap dancing on the brink of insanity with 2 babies, 11 months apart. If you liked this blog post, please consider following my blog or liking my page on facebook to be the first to know of future posts. Thanks for reading! xo