About an hour ago, I had breakfast with my wife and kids at our favorite diner in Tribeca: Gee Wiz. It's the best diner around, because they cater to kid craziness—not hung over hipsters—that happens when you bring along your food-throwing, plate-dropping, crumb-making little darlings.
Sitting there on Greenwich Street, it seemed like just yesterday we took Rowan, (now 3 1/2 ) out to restaurants, and we were able to keep her contained in a high chair, like we are now able to do with our nine-month-old, baby boy, Hunter. The only damage Hunter can do on high chair lock-down is fling his food, throw forks and knives, stick is fingers in jelly, and occasionally headbutt the table. But Rowan, these days, she can be wild.
Today she wanted pancakes, so we ordered a short stack, which was actually larger than her whole face—the only reason she ordered pancakes was because I had recently turned her on to one of my childhood heroes, Chilly Willy. Chilly didn't say much, but the penguin sure loved pancakes. Well, for those of you who have kids, and are brave enough to take them out to eat, you know that some days are easier than others. Today was not one of the easier ones. Hunter wouldn't eat. Whenever I tried to shove strained peas into his mouth, he closed it shut like a vise. The little maniac wouldn't stop grabbing at the muffin basket either. And watch out for the forks and knives if you happened to be sitting near by. I must have yelled out to our neighbors, "Watch out! Incoming! Oh, so sorry." Not to mention, through all of this—I was so hungry. I took about two bites of my overeasy eggs. They were now cold and runny. Not funny.
Brooke wasn't laughing either. Sitting across from us, Rowan was kicking her, stepping on her toes, and gave her a mean headbutt. All accidents, but the kid wouldn't sit still. She was standing up on the seat, looking out the window. "Rowan, would you please sit down and eat, already!?!"I screamed. "Can I have more syrup, dada?" she asked. I told her she could. So she grabbed the syrup dispenser and went bonkers. She kept pouring it and pouring it until the pancakes looked like islands in some sugary sea, and then she started eating it with her hands. "Use the fork! Rowan, would you please use your fork!?!" And then she took the muffins out of the muffin basket, took bites out of them, and put them back in. I couldn't take it anymore. "Rowan, stop doing that!" I exclaimed. "Please just stop!"
Then, I had an idea. Bribery. It was time to make a deal. Living with my three-year-old is all about making deals. I just had to be careful, she's become quite the negotiator. "Rowan, if you finish your pancakes—with a fork—we could watch Chilly Willy on my Evo, (giant screen) at the table, with the kickstand. She looked interested. "Is that a deal?" I asked."You wanna shake on it?" She looked at me, all serious, "Can I have more syrup?" she asked. I said, "Yes." "Can I have more butter?"she asked. I said, "Yes." She smiled, "Okay,"she shook my hand. Then gave me a fist bump. "Now, put it on. Put it on Dada. You can watch with me if you want."