The Panda Express

As you may imagine, we do not go out for dinner as a family very often at all.  Our last attempt, pre-twins, was a rather disastrous event at Applebee’s in which Stephen spilled a glass of water over the ENTIRE table, soaking us and our food, and Adrian relentlessly stalked a baby girl at the table across from us, harassing their meal and tripping any server unfortunate enough to pass by.  And of course, we spent a ludicrous amount of money on a grilled cheese sandwich and macaroni and cheese that

a) I could have made better myself

b) no one ate

c) just served as a hazard on the already cluttered, wet table

At its agonizing conclusion (CHECK PLEASE!!!), a red-faced, very damp Eric declared, “We are NEVER GOING OUT FOR DINNER AGAIN.”

And we haven’t.

Until…we decided to go to Panda Express for dinner last night.  I think the word “express” gave us hope and confidence that we may be able to pull it off.

We walked in, babies on our hips, immediately scouting the room for high chairs.  I found ONE by the trash cans, and spotted the only other one under the tush of a toddler at another table.  Grrrr.  Stephen found a seat and immediately started eating (he said he he didn’t like anything at Panda Express and brought a ham sandwich and an orange.  That was fine with me, as I hate buying expensive food that goes to waste.)  I was on the verge of telling him to move to a 4 person table because we didn’t need that much room when I remembered: we have SIX people in our family now!  We DO need 6 seats!

I ordered our dinner seamlessly (except for when I dashed away from the counter to pounce on the freshly-vacated and highly-coveted second high chair and deliver it to Eric, who was busy with crowd-control and answering the host of questions: “Can we have cake?  Can we have cookies?  Can we have pop?  Can we have juice?  Why?  What’s that?  Can I have cake?”)

I passed out dinner and poured apple juice into two cups for the boys.  Stephen instantly elbowed his juice off the table.  At least his aim has improved and he knocked it OFF the table instead of ONTO us and the food.  As Stephen ran for napkins to clean the spill, Will grabbed Adrian’s fork, causing him to scream, “NO BABY!!!” and jettison his plate to the edge of the table as he wrestled his fork back.  I told the boys to take their jackets off, thinking they would be less hazardous if they didn’t have bulky coats on.  Adrian started yanking his arm out of his jacket and crashed off his chair, where he fell thrashing on the floor with his arms trapped in his coat.  Eric and I just started laughing….we were already a comedy of errors.

The rest of the dinner went fairly smoothly.  The babies happily banged the table and looked around as they ate their bananas.  Adrian, though he had promised he liked and would eat “chicken and rice” refused the chicken and rice once served because it was “too yucky.”  I alternately ate and monitored Adrian’s plate, which was always either

a) precariously balanced on the edge of the table

b) within baby-grabbing distance

c)  under Adrian’s elbow

All this monitoring was of course, in vain, as he didn’t eat any of it anyway.

As an aside, I must compliment the staff at Panda Express.  Often when you are out and about with young children, people look at you and wrinkle their noses, undoubtedly thinking, “Ugh, look at all those noisy messy children!  What is wrong with those people!  Don’t they know where babies COME from!?  Haven’t they HEARD of birth control!?  Etc….”     While waiting to board a plane once (pre-twins), a woman looked at me in disgust and said loudly enough for me to hear, “Ugh, I hope we don’t have to sit near them!”  (and Stephen was even cooperating at the moment!) It was all I could do not to slap her….but I digress…

Anyway, the staff at the restaurant was NONE of those things.  They were kind, friendly, and welcoming.  The cashier gave me a military discount even though we aren’t military, an employee came by to give the big boys cookies, and someone helped us clear our table.

So, although not a bad experience overall, I think we’ll stick to the drive-thru for the next 3-5 years….


About jennyvogan

Author of "Stephen's Mom," a blog documenting the funny, crazy life of raising four boys while keeping my day job as an ultrasound tech.
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2 Responses to The Panda Express

  1. Rainey says:

    Haha oh man! I commend you for even trying that. You are a wonder, Jenny. I know I couldn’t do what you do.

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