She turns somersaults instead, kicking the window in the process.
And then checks to see how we feel about that. As you can see, though, the restaurant was completely empty, except for us. We got there early, before they even opened for dinner. And just as the lights flicked on and the sign on the door flipped to "Open", we were in there, baby. Get in, get out, nobody gets hurt.
When it comes to eating out, our motto is Go Early or Go Home. Especially if the establishment in question is one in which you do not get your food on a plastic tray at the front counter. Early dinners mean less fellow patrons to disturb, less hungry, cranky kids, and less late bedtimes. Works for us!
We have somehow managed to get Ava and Nate to behave in public, so we do have hopes for Grace in the future.
Lest you think it was all Grace-wrangling and no eating, we did manage to have a lovely dinner. We've started a new birthday tradition, where each person shares a few things about the birthday boy/girl that they love and appreciate. It was really sweet to watch Nate share with Ava while trying not to be embarassed. And then, because we didn't get to do it for Nate's birthday last month, we all went around the table and encouraged him, too. You could see Ava and Nate just soaking up what we had to say to them. Little affirmation sponges. But aren't we all? "Oh, enough about me. Let's talk about you. What do you think about me?"
Recently, some friends did this for me on my birthday, and I have a feeling I probably looked just like the kids--still and calm and super-attentive, while trying to appear casual. Everybody likes to be encouraged, you know. For instance, I'd like to tell you that you did a really great job on that one thing you were stressing out about, and that one guy who said that mean thing about you to that other person? Well, he's full of it and everyone knows it, so don't worry. You're nicer anyway and you have better hair. See? Doesn't that feel good?
Then we noticed that Grace had rice all down her dress, stuck to her as if she were a Chinese food mosaic. And we knew it was time to go home. I don't even think it was 6pm yet.
Go Early or Go Home. Words to live by. I'm telling ya.