How Eating Out With My 7-Year-Old Is Like Dating In My 20s

by Amy Rodriguez
Originally Published: 

Here are the ways that going out to dinner with my 7-year-old is like dating in my 20s:

1. He chugs his drinks. His lemonades or chocolate milks aren’t alcoholic, but they are sugary and seem to have the same effect as alcohol. First, he gets chatty, and later he gets tired.

2. He picks up his drinks with his wrists. Like most twentysomethings, he has learned the skill of picking up his drink using his inner wrists when his fingers are smeared with ribs or wing sauce. No napkin needed.

3. He orders a random conglomeration of carbs. An entree is not enough. Neither is an app. Let’s get some sides with that mac and cheese. Say, mac and cheese with a side of fries. And a bunch of bread. “Can we have more rolls, please?”

© Courtesy Amy Rodriguez

4. He doesn’t ask me anything about myself.

5. He uses his silverware to drum on the table to whichever song is playing.

6. He talks about sports. Nonstop. It doesn’t matter which sport. It can be basketball, football, soccer, skiing, kickball or dodgeball. Even skee-ball. It just needs to involve movement and competition. He recites statistics that mean nothing to me. He recites them with passion.

7. He crushes dessert. Who worries about healthy eating? Not the guy eating the peanut butter pie.

Here, the similarities end. Rather than parting ways at the end of the night, I tuck my little guy into his racecar sheets. I cover him with his truck quilt and read him stories about a cat who thinks he’s a Chihuahua and a llama who misses his mama.

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