eating with my iPhone
I have a 2.5 year old. The thing they don’t tell you in parenting books is that eating out with a kid when they are between 2 and 3 is seriously thankless business, on a level with making your own yogurt (learn from me: it’s $.80 cents a cup in the stores, and you don’t have to grow your own bacteria). If your kid is an eater, maybe it works better. But Tate is not an eater.
I appreciate when kindly waiters ask if I’d prefer that they bring the kids’ meals out first. They’re trying to get food to the kid as quickly as possible, and that’s cute. But the only way I have a prayer of getting to eat my own food is if Tate’s meal comes out at precisely the same time as mine. From the moment our food hits the table, I have three minutes to finish my meal before Tate loses interest in his. I tend to exaggerate a lot, but I’m not exaggerating with that sentence. Three minutes might actually be overstating the correct length of time.
Anyway, that fourth minute is where my iPhone comes in. I’ve gotten lots of dirty looks from people whenever I pull out the iPhone at a restaurant with Tate. Here’s what I have to say to those pitiless souls: stare away, you judgmental freaks. And how about giving me your home address, so I can come over and shake my head disapprovingly at you the next time you are going through some difficult moment in your life.
Years ago, I heard a story on “This American Life” about a guy who resisted using wheeled luggage for years because he thought only a wuss would wheel his stuff behind him–until he realized that it was just WHEELS, and they made travel a lot easier. And that’s how I feel about the iPhone in restaurants. I think Luddites are great and they make some really nice furniture and pickles, but for me, I’m going to use the technology when it’s appropriate. If my iPhone can buy me the five minutes I need to inhale my plate of pasta and gulp down some pinot after wrestling six pieces of food into Tate’s mouth, it’s happening. Besides, it’s not like I’d be having a real conversation with Tate but for the iPhone. I mean, he can talk, but it’s not the most riveting stuff, assuming I can even understand what he is saying. And I have to come up with all the topics for conversation, which can get tiresome.
I never feel the need to pull out my phone in order to eat with my 5-year old, so I know this moment will run its course. Until then, this mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.