Even as I'm planning these events, I do not know what possesses me to consider doing them. We walked to sushi tonight. Kate rode her bike, Claire walked almost to the main street from our house, and Luke, of course, rode the whole way. I did not even bring the camera, knowing that it would take all my concentration just to keep the children out of traffic, within the crosswalk lines, and seated at or near our table once there.
The key to my survival, mentally, I think, was knowing what I would order beforehand, so that I could just tell our server immediately what we wanted. She got the order wrong (note to self: the children do not eat California rolls; which ones did they try last time? I think it must have been the unagi), but the chef, noting the anxious woman alone at the corner table greatly outnumbered by her small and unruly children, was quick. We had our udon and tempura at record speed, and the waitress even brought those little chopstick helpers, which enabled the girls to use their chopsticks!
Of course, all the food came at once, and the table was overwhelmed by steaming platters and bowls, and the children were making unreasonable demands (Mommy, I want noodles! Mama, can I have soup? Fix my chopsticks! Bambambam! Can I have the round tempura (onion)? I want shrimp!) all at the same time. Claire had to spread her napkin out like a place mat, allowing Luke much greater access to the table. Both girls squeezed their juice boxes. At one point, Luke got hold of the sticky tempura dipping sauce and overturned it. Several minutes later, after I thought I had cleaned it all up, I felt something dripping on my foot, and noticed the sauce had gotten under his kidpottamus tray and everything was a gooey mess. There were noodles on the floor, napkins soaked with tentsuyu, and stacked dishes on the half of the table that Luke couldn't reach. Even though I tipped her generously, I am pretty sure she is going to cringe the next time she sees us in the restaurant.