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Mike’s great aunts came into town last weekend from San Diego for a little get away. We try to visit them a few times a year and they come here a few times a year, but because of my pregnancy and Grant’s birth, we haven’t seen them since last summer. I was excited to hear they were coming, as I always enjoy chatting with them. Plus, I looked forward to introducing them to Grant.

Truman usually naps at 10:30 and sleeps for at least two hours, sometimes three. Well, at 10:30 on Sunday we were on our way home from Michael’s and Truman fell asleep in the car right before we pulled into the driveway. I can never get him out of the seat and into the house without waking him, and this time was no different. His eyes popped open and he caught a second wind immediately. No napping for him!

Instead of fighting with him for hours, I let him stay up and play for a little while. He was exhausted and mean. He cried at the drop of a hat. He started doing things that are against the rules, just to get a reaction. That’s when it became no-negotiations nap time. After a few minutes of fighting it, Truman fell fast asleep. Only to pop up wide awake a mere 30 minutes later. I should have known then that the evening was shot.

We headed to the Aunts’ hotel on Sunday afternoon to meet up and go out to dinner. Truman cried while we got him dressed. He cried while we got him into the car seat. He cried because he wanted his bobo. He cried because we gave him his bobo. He cried because he wanted a book. He cried because he didn’t want that book. He cried because he wanted to see uncle “Woyce.” (Royce, a good friend of ours who Truman saw on Saturday night.) He cried because he wanted me to hold his cheek on the drive, but not touch him too much while doing so. He fell asleep in the car five minutes before we got to the hotel. Of course.

We spent a little time in the hotel room visiting before we left to go to dinner, and Truman ran everywhere like a slap happy drunkard. He was tired and silly, but hadn’t crossed the threshold into mean just yet. We all piled into the van and headed to Maggiano’s on the strip. Wouldn’t you know it, Truman fell asleep again. I felt the dread building up in my chest. This was his fourth unsuccessful napping attempt. I was tired just from watching it happen, I knew he must be miserably exhausted.

Maggiano’s is a really nice, yet fairly family friendly restaurant. It was early for dinner and wasn’t too crowded yet when we arrived, which was perfect. Truman got settled to my right in a highchair, Grant was asleep; things were looking good…for the first three minutes. Our server was a young guy who was way too cool for the room, much less our casual little table. He reminded me of Val Kilmer’s character Iceman in Top Gun. Cute but kind of cocky.

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He immediately jumped at the chance to schmooze Truman; thinking I’m sure, that it would guarantee a good tip. He asked his name and proceeded to flash enormous smiles and call him The Truman Show. (If you follow me on Instagram, you know all about #thetrumanshow!) Truman schmoozed right back, and took full advantage of the extra attention. He colored for a few minutes before throwing his crayons on the floor, laughing and saying, “Funny!” I told him if he did it again, they were gone. He accepted the challenge. Iceman picked them up and laughed. His fake little laugh gave Truman the green light to throw more stuff, and his sippy cup ended up on the floor. I took that away as well. Iceman’s laughter wasn’t helping me at all. I attempted to get Truman involved in a game of peek-a-boo behind one of the nice cloth napkins and that worked for a little while, at least allowing us to order.

All was calm for a few minutes until Grant woke up and needed to be fed. Truman was less than thrilled about Grant nursing. His eyes lit up with an evil little twinkle and he stared me down while clapping his hands together just millimeters from Grant’s sweet fuzzy head. I asked him nicely to stop, with dismal results. When I ignored the behavior, he decided to actually connect and smacked Grant right on the side of his head. Thankfully, it wasn’t hard and Grant didn’t even notice. Mike jumped up and took Truman for a little walk outside, probably more to save him from my building rage than anything else. When they came back, there was bread! Truman ate a little bread, dipping it happily in a plate of balsamic and oil. A very sweet server, an older man who probably had naughty tired grandchildren of his own, asked if he could bring Truman some mashed potatoes. What a hit! Truman dug in and said “Tank You!” to the man over and over. Iceman looked a little crestfallen and jealous.

Our meals arrived and looked amazing. I immediately scooped some of my pasta onto Truman’s plate and he ate pretty well. I knew better than to think it would last long, so I shoveled in a few bites myself. I was right. He soon began stabbing the table top with his fork. “Fahk! Fahk! Fahk!” We all giggled a little and prayed he wouldn’t begin repeating “fahk” any louder, as you can imagine how “fork” sounds, sans the R! I asked him to please stop stabbing the table and he did it harder, smiling and squinting his eyes at me. It was my turn to take him for a walk. He ran around outside for awhile. I had a heart to heart with him about proper restaurant behavior, while he nodded solemnly and ignored me all the same, and then we returned to the table. I knew he wasn’t going to eat anymore, but I hoped he’d just play with his food a little longer so we could finish. He slid rigatoni onto his fingers and laughed about it while I managed to swallow a few more bites. Just as I thought we would finish this meal with a little dignity after all, Truman flung the rigatoni off of his finger onto the wood floor, right in the middle of the walk way.

“Truman!” I was shocked and embarrassed, and jumped up to clean it, but Truman moved faster. Splat, splat, splat! Three more saucy noodles went flying through the air before I could get to the other side of the high chair. His arms flailed wildly and he laughed as I grabbed his hand and pushed his plate away. Iceman came trotting up.

“Whoa! Truman Show, what is going on here!?! I’ll get it Mom, don’t worry!” I was already on my feet, napkin in hand, as Iceman bent down to clean up my monster’s mess, still maintaining his huge fake grin. As the apology was leaving my lips, Truman pulled his sticky, cream sauced hand back and swung. He smacked Iceman right on top of his perfectly tousled head. I thought I may die.

“Oh my God, Truman!” I gasped and whipped around to look at Mike, “He’s done. That’s it.” Mike got up and handed me Grant, pulled Truman out of his seat and took him outside. I apologized to Iceman over and over and his smile, though still plastered on his face brightly, looked less and less sincere.

“Ha ha ha, well his hands were so clean, so it’s ok!” He replied sarcastically. What could I say? My kid was being a horrendous beast and Iceman still had the decency to pretend to be friendly. He was a nicer person than I am. Grant started crying so I stood up and rocked him back and forth. Mike’s poor aunts were trying to finish their meals, and since they had insisted on paying, (As they always do. They are truly the most generous women I know.) they were also handling the bill. Grant was getting fussier as time went on and I was sweating and trying to get him buckled into his car seat without interrupting the entire restaurant. I excused myself to retrieve the stroller after overhearing the pretty, young bitchy lady at the next table complaining to her friend about her day at work which involved unruly children and their irresponsible parents. (More on that tomorrow!) I bumped into Mike and Truman on the way. I loaded the kids into the stroller and made a beeline toward the van, while Mike returned to the table to escort his aunts.

We dropped them off at their casino of choice and thanked them for a wonderful meal. On the way home, Truman fell asleep, and I seriously considered spending the night in the van rather than wake him up again. (Turns out, I should have. More of that later too.) We used to be full and sleepy after a nice meal out. We’d drive home and yawn, talk about how great the entrée was, change into our fat pants and watch a little T.V. before bed. Since having children, I drive home after a meal out and feel like I just ran a marathon, wrestled a mountain lion and bartered with the pushiest salesman of all time. Sunday night I arrived home coated in a sweaty film, with sauce on my pants, and later found pasta stuck to my neck. I hoped Iceman had an easier night after we left. Relaxing meals just don’t exist when you include young children. Well, at least when you include my young children.

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