What Happens When You Take a Very Tired Child to Dinner?

by Julianna Miner
Originally Published: 

Last Saturday was crazy. There was a ton of kid stuff scheduled throughout the day, starting at 8:30AM and going until the evening. Why are weekends so nuts now?

It was 7:00PM by the time my whole family was finally in one place. Everyone was exhausted and starving and we just did not have the energy to pull dinner together. The Cap’n gallantly offered to take us all out to dinner.

It was so nice of him, but we really should have just ordered pizza or eaten PB&J’s. Because we forgot Rule of Parenting #312: When children are exhausted and starving, the last place they should ever be is a restaurant.

Once we decided to go, everyone needed to change clothes, as we were all filthy. The big kids appeared in slightly nicer, stain-free outfits. I didn’t realize that Mini was so tired she was bordering on drunk until she came downstairs. She came strutting down the steps with a smug expression on her face. She was wearing a tattered, ill-fitting sun dress, sparkly high heeled shoes and an extremely fancy faux fur jacket. She was also clutching a purple vinyl purse stuffed full of dolls. She looked me in the eye and raised one small eyebrow.

I shrugged and told them all to get in the car. I was too tired to argue with her and frankly, she looked like a 4-year-old Miss Havisham and it was really freaking funny.

By the time we got to the restaurant, there was just no denying it – Mini was hammered. She walked up to the hostess stand and grabbed a toothpick. She looked around and yawned a couple of times, as if everything bored her. When it was time to follow the hostess to our table, she click-click-clicked in her high heels through the dining room, daintily picking her teeth with one hand and clutching her purse with the other. She nodded at the restaurant’s patrons graciously, acknowledging their looks and smiles.

The Cap’n and I made eye contact. This was going to be bad. We considered turning around and just going home, but there was nothing to eat there. We proceeded cautiously.

When the waiter asked for her drink order, she smiled sweetly and said “CHOCOLATE MILK!” like he really should have known better (she then proceeded to drink four of them in quick succession). As we apologized for her lack of manners and stared at her in horror, she began singing at the table. First it was a song she made up. Her made-up songs are amazing, by the way, but probably not for everyone. Then she transitioned to something from Les Miserables.

Me: “Sweetie, there’s no singing at the table.”

Mini: “DO YOU HEAR DA PEOPLE SING?!” Me: “Please stop. Right now. This is not appropriate.” Mini: (defiantly)”SINGING DA SONGS OF ANGWY MEN!” Hawk: (her 8-year-old brother) “I love that song.” Mini: (smiling and slurring her words) “Then I am tired of singing it.” Mini put her head on the table for a minute to rest. Then she looked up, popped her faux fur collar and gave us a dazzling smile. Cap’n: “Dear Lord. It’s like having dinner with Judy Garland in 1969.” Me: (eyes wide, nodding) “YES.” Mini: “I need another drink. Waiter!” Waiter: (appearing as if by magic, or compelled by Mini’s need for more chocolate milk) “What can I get you?” Cap’n: “I’ll have the —” Mini: “CORN DOG.”

We all stopped and looked at her. She looked CrAzY. She was making the most incredible face.

Mini: (pointing at me, making the face) CORN DOG.

Mini: (pointing emphatically at the Cap’n, making the face) CORN DOG. Mini: (pointing at her brother) ‘ORN DOG. Me: (whispering to the Cap’n) Did she just say horn dog? Mini: (pointing at her sister, still making the face) ‘ORN DOG. Waiter: So corn dogs? Mini: (nodding, with crazy eyes) YES. (pauses) I HAVE THE HICCUPS NOW.

The dinner proceeded to get weirder. Usually, we do this thing at the dinner table where we identify the high and low moments of our day. We call it “Good, Bad, Silly & Grateful.” Mini started yelling and waving around her toothpick. “IT’S TIME FOR GOOD, BAD, SILLY & GRAVY. NOW. YOU GO, FIRST. START WITH GRAVY.”

Let’s not even discuss the looks that the people at the other tables were giving us at this point. Or the fact that her exhausted brother and sister were peeing their pants laughing at her, which of course made it worse.

The food finally came and since we were all starving, we tucked into our meals with gusto. A minute later, I heard a noise. It sounded like: mmmmmmmMMMMmmmmm. I looked at Mini. She was passed out in her chair with her head thrown back and her arms sprawled out, her faux fur jacket providing ample warmth and padding. It was 8:36PM.

We quickly finished our dinner and headed home. As we tucked our sweet cuckoo bird into bed, she kicked off her high heels and murmured something about how much she loved us. Then she sort of snarled and rolled over.

We love you, too, Mini Dearest.

Related post: An Open Apology For My Children At Restaurants

This article was originally published on