We live on a new-build estate, which currently doesn’t have much in the way of facilities. Excitingly, a new Miller and Carter restaurant opened up last week actually on the estate (number of facilities in our area since the restaurant has arrived: 1) and, even better, they were offering 50% off to go to one of their trial days.
I booked up an afternoon slot, thinking I could take the girls as a special treat whilst TheBloke (TM) was at work. They would practise their table manners. I would beam benignly at them whilst educating them about food. We would all laugh lots, but not too loudly, and I would take photos and hashtag Instagram with #soblessed #mygirls. After we had had three courses, we would come home, grateful for the lovely afternoon we had spent in each other’s company.
It started well.
2 Arrive at Miller and Carter
2.15 Wait for them to take our order As the restaurant is mostly empty at this time, it was a bit of a surprise we are kept waiting, but I have brought along my witty repartee to entertain the girls. This lasts about seven seconds. Luckily we do then manage to order. This is all fine; I knew we were getting a 50% discount for trialling the restaurant before it officially opened, so I don’t expect everything to be seamless. I order a two course menu for the children, a two course menu for me. We will share starters and desserts. It will be brilliant. Glasses of water are brought. Actual droppable, heavy glasses.
2.30 Starters arrive EldestGirl eats hers immediately and then declares she is full. YoungestGirl insists on me holding her glass so she can drink her water with ice and lemon approximately every three seconds. Even EldestGirl is unable to pick up her heavy glass by herself, so every two minutes or so, I have to leave my seat, go round the table and help EldestGirl pick her glass up.
2.45 Starters are finished. Plates are cleared. Apologies are made by me for the chicken wing that landed on the carpet. But really, please don’t carpet your family restaurants.
2.50 Waiter comes over to tell me my choice of main isn’t available. I would have thought he could have mentioned this at the point I ordered it, 30 minutes earlier. I ask him to bring the kids’ meals and I will order something else. He explains that the children’s orders haven’t actually gone to the kitchen yet, so we will have to wait.
2.55 I order my main. He tells me they will all be brought together. We wait another 20 minutes.
3.15 Food arrives. EldestGirl is too full to eat it (but she manages anyway) YoungestGirl plods away, dipping every green bean in her tarragon sauce, shouting “dip dip” gleefully. I inhale my food so fast, between helping tiny idiots with drinks and picking up dropped bits off the floor, that I can’t even remember what I have ordered.
3.30 EldestGirl has finished eating and needs a poo. Urgently. YoungestGirl is nowhere near finished eating and is dressed head to toe in tarragon sauce. She will take at least five minutes to clean up. I ask the waitress if she will babysit YoungestGirl whilst EldestGirl goes to the toilet, thus winning some sort of parenting award for neglect by leaving my toddler with a woman I have never previously met.
3.35 The toilet is not properly plumbed in yet and doesn’t properly flush. EldestGirl’s turd bobs around, excitedly. The hand dryer doesn’t work either, but phobic-of-hand-dryer EldestGirl is quite pleased about this.
3.45 YoungestGirl is still eating.
3.50 YoungestGirl is still eating.
3.52 EldestGirl is bored and wants to go home to open her Kinder Egg (a bribe – some excellent parenting from earlier in the week), despite me saying we can have pudding there. YoungestGirl is still eating.
3.55 I give up on YoungestGirl still eating. I wipe off the majority of tarragon sauce from her face, hands, hair and feet. I cannot face ordering pudding, despite possibly having already paid for it with the menu options. YoungestGirl has one further gift. She shouts loudly, “POO MUMMY!” and makes her straining face. Everyone turns to look at us. I don’t care. I bundle her into the car and take them home.
We might not go out again for a while. Thanks for the discount, Miller and Carter. Sorry about all the poo.