Monday, September 07, 2009

All in Perception

We spend a lot of Sunday evenings having dinner with our neighbors at our local restaurant - the Stocksund Hamnkrog. It is perfect - no cooking at the end of the weekend, and we can bike there and back as a family. Even better, there's a park, a dock, boats, a tiny (really tiny) beach (actually it's just a bunch of sand dumped over the rock wall of the harbor, but it works for us) - so the kids can go and play while the adults enjoy adult conversation over a few glasses of wine. Our neighbors have similarly matched kids, so we end up with a table for 9 with two 10-year-old girls, an 8-year-old boy and two 6-year-old boys - high energy, but the kids are outside most of the time. And the restaurant knows us now, and manages to handle kids' orders - hamburgers with nothing on them but ketchup, pasta without vegetables, strawberry juice, Sprite, and ice cream for dessert - what could be better?

Flash back to the beginning of the summer, a rainy evening when the kids couldn't be outside as much as they wanted... and the adults were busy in a heated discussion of something... Anyway, we got COMPLAINTS from the table next to us. Yes, the kids were a bit boistrous, and yes, they weren't always in their seats, but by and large, I had been thinking they were doing really well, playing DS, drawing pictures...

So last night, there we were, our high-energy bunch, racing bikes to the restaurant, and making our entrance with helmets, jackets, etc. The table next to us had two very sedate children, who were sitting nicely, noses plastered to the window, looking longingly at the children (ours) who were playing in the sand and throwing rocks. I started to feel like the bad example... Then as our kids finally bustled into the restaurant for their dinners, dusting sand off, finding places, making sure they had the right drink, ketchup dispensed under supervision, I caught the eye of another elderly couple sitting nearby, and started to worry...

And then Christopher's napkin caught on fire. David performed a great save with a second napkin, and tossed the flaming mess out the door. I dared to glance at the elderly couple... and she was laughing, and trying to explain to her husband what had happened. The waitresses each came by to tell us that it wasn't the first time they had seen a flaming napkin, and that they were impressed with David's quick thinking. And finally, as the kids bustled out again (and we settled in for coffee), the elderly couple came by on their way out. She thanked us for providing so much energy and life to their dinner, and mentioned how much our children reminded us of her grandchildren in Boston. Whew! (and it is nice to be appreciated, even if for all the wrong reasons!) Let me know if you want us to light up a napkin sometime -

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