Sometimes in life, you just have to be a T. Rex.
I was getting takeout dinner the other night at a restaurant near our house. My wife and I were discussing possible dinner choices, and we both agreed that (1) neither of us wanted to cook and (2) neither of us really wanted to go out for dinner. It was an exceptionally motivated kind of night.
So I went to a place near our house to order some chicken and steak kabobs, as there is never a night when chicken and steak kabobs won’t hit the spot. As I was waiting for my order, a woman came in with her two young boys, probably 3 and 6.
The mother looked tired. I know the look. I’ve seen it many times, often when I walk in the door from work. Granted, I don’t see it as much these days, as my kids are teens. If the day has gone south with teens, it’s a veeeery different look you get when you walk in the door.
As the woman approached the counter to order, her older son loudly announced, “I’M A T. REX!!!!” And he then proceeded to tuck his arms up in little shortened T. Rex fashion and stomp after his brother. And in case you were wondering, yes, he added the roars.
As is required by federal law, the younger brother began sprinting away, screaming in terror as the T. Rex continued his pursuit.
The mother got another one of those looks. “MATTHEW!!! ROBERT!!!!” she said, in one of those whisper/yell combinations that only moms can do. (By the way, I’ve changed the name of the T. Rex and his prey to protect their identities. Their real names are David and William.)
The call from the mom had no effect on either child. But that makes sense, because everyone knows, despite a T. Rex’s excellent hearing, when focused on prey, they will not be distracted.
Now, had this been at some fancy restaurant with a bunch of folks in it, I could see where there would be cause for distress on the mother’s part. But this was a take-out kabob place, and the only other people in the restaurant were a dad and his young daughter and a woman slightly older than me, also waiting for takeout. The young daughter found it hilarious, as did the dad. The woman next to me said, with a laugh, “I remember when mine were that age.”
I asked for a manager and demanded that Jurassic Preschool be removed from the premises immediately. And a free soft drink with my order.
Ha! I kid. I, too, was laughing, as it was funny to watch Cli…Matthew chase his brother around the restaurant. I also understand the mom’s concerns. Many folks who are getting annoyed by kids in restaurants don’t realize that the most mortified person in the facility is the actual parent. Sure, there are some awful people who let their children run amok with no concern for others whatsoever. But I’d like to think those are the outliers.
The mom paid for her order and then went off in pursuit of her T. Rex and his prey. As she passed us, she gave that mom apology that I have seen too often and that I find unfortunate parents feel like they have to give. Being a parent of small kids is tough. Especially when they start to act like the wild animals that they are at heart. But at least for this moment, she had a sympathetic audience that wasn’t going to make her feel like a bad parent for her kids being, well, kids.
“No worries,” I said. “Your son is an excellent T. Rex,” I said.
“Thanks,” she said, with that tired look only the mom of a T. Rex knows.
I remember those times, as does my wife. We’re in a different stage of parenting, with different challenges facing us with our kids. But I’ll always be sympathetic to the hard working parents who are just trying to order some food with a couple of small kids. Especially if one is a T. Rex.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Charleston. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.