On Thursday nights, my husband has church obligations which leaves the children and I alone for dinner. To
take advantage of the situation assuage our loneliness, we take turns picking which restaurant we will eat at in honor of his absence. Tonight, it was BoopaLoop's turn, and she picked Islands.
As we walked into the restaurant, I was reminded of another time about 2 years ago I went to Islands with my kids alone. I hoped the same thing that happened then wouldn't happen tonight.
Two years ago, BoopaLoop wasn't yet potty trained, but LittleMan was. About 3/4 of the way through the meal, LittleMan told me that he had to go potty. I remember being irritated at the fact that he had gone potty before lunch, and now he had to go again. Sighing heavily, but trying to maintain calm, I told him okay. I took my purse, BoopaLoop and LittleMan.
Off we go to find the potty. This particular Islands was part of a hotel. So, in order to minimize the number of non-customer-potty-users (evidently), the restaurant in its infinite wisdom decided not to put any potties in their restaurant. Instead, you have to exit the restaurant through the double-doors that lead to the hotel lobby. Fine. We thanked the Islands employee for that information, and off we went.
For those of you familiar with children who are adept at potty usage but too young to understand the passage of time, will recall that it takes FOR. EVER. for a child this age to do... uh... number 2. I think we were in the bathroom a good 30 minutes before I asked LittleMan, "Are you sure you have to go poop?" The answer was a resounding yes. Sigh...
We returned to the restaurant, and as I approached our table I noticed the lack of mess. The seats were spotless. The floor under the table was spotless. That wasn't how we left the table. My moment of gratitude was immediately replaced with dawning dread: they bused our table. LittleMan had this expression on his face of controlled sadness. The rest of his precious hamburger was gone. My barely touched soft tacos were history. The busboy was very efficient - there was new tableware.
At that moment of realization, I happened to make eye contact with our waitress. She looked like a vindicated terror. She ran up to me and said, "I'm so, so sorry I told the busboy to stop cleaning the table I knew there was no way you would leave! You have two small children!!" She went on for about 30 seconds longer before BoopaLoop made her strongwill known by insisting I put her down.
The waitress asked me if there was anything she could do, and I said that I was so sorry they thought that I had "dined and ditched". I told her we were almost finished anyway, but that my son was disappointed at not having the rest of his hamburger. She offered to make us a new one; I said no since we had to get on the road, and cooking a new burger would take too much time for my 2-year old to sit for when she was done eating. So, the waitress brought out a Kona Pie on the house! This ice cream masterpiece was enough to shut down any further grumbling from
me the children.
Fast-forward to tonight, and of course the same thing happened. This time BoopaLoop had to go potty. But, I was prepared thanks to our previous experience. I told the first server I saw that we were coming back and to please not clean our table.
When we returned, we found the table in exactly the same disaster we left it in with a beautiful little note on the edge of the table that said, "Don't clean me!"
Thanks to these two experiences I've learned a valuable lesson: always carry a pen so I can write the bloody sign myself!