I let the kids choose the restaurant, picked the closest location, and off we went. After a mini-meltdown because someone forgot his toy in the car (thank goodness I got a front row parking space), we were seated, and everyone was happy (and, yes, we bring iPads out with us, because I am unapologetic in my love for them.)
While waiting for our food to come out, (K expects it as soon as she places her order, because why wouldn't the waitress have a magic machine that delivers it immediately?) I asked Katie how her field trip was that day. Her school had actually gone out to lunch (yes, two restaurant meals in one day. The horror.), and I wanted to hear how it went. She told me she ordered pasta with butter (as usual), her friend M ordered Mac n Cheese (I am not sure why I think that needs capitalization), and the other student with them ordered a "sandwich", which was gross (in her opinion.)
And then I heard about the egregious injustice carried out...no dessert. Not even the ice cream promised when you order a kid's meal. I explained to K that I'm sure they didn't allow dessert because not everyone ordered a kid's meal (some kids actually eat real food), and it wouldn't be fair if some got ice cream, and others did not. I'm sure you know how well that explanation went over.
What happened next, though, made me laugh. A lot.
As K got more and more worked up over being denied dessert, our food came. She promptly took her burger, and did this:
|A burger ALWAYS needs a smiley face made from ketchup. Even if you're upset.|
(Also, this is K's version of "photo-bombing".)
I had to laugh. My child, while telling me about the dessert debacle in a voice all the restaurant could hear, was at the same time drawing a smiley face on her food. Usually when I laugh at anything, K gets angry, but when I started to laugh yesterday? She started to laugh, too. She broke out of her frustration, and was able to calm down. The fact that she attempted to "photo-bomb" the picture proves that full-on meltdown mode had been averted.
This is what I love. Even when she was quickly cycling up to a place from which there was potentially no return, she had to keep her routines. She had to draw that smiley face, because that's what you do when you have a hamburger. It doesn't matter if dessert-gate is making your world fall apart, the burger gets a smile. Period. Her need to do that broke the tension. It made me laugh, which (thankfully) made her laugh. Dinner continued, the kids got their ice cream (miracle of miracles), and no one was worse for the wear.
Now, I could view our trip as a really tough night out. I could focus on the fact that K spent most of dinner upset over what happened at lunch, and sprawled out on the booth, thisclose to a meltdown (or that B almost brought down the TV situated directly above his head.) Or I can consider last night a win, brought on by a hamburger with a smile.
I choose the latter.
(P.S. Even if smiley-faced-hamburger didn't happen, I would still consider last night a win because I got to spend time with my two favorite people, and nobody died (for reals). Meltdowns happen. Tough times happen. But I choose to focus on the good, because that's what I call living.)