We took the kids to a fabulous park with a rollerskating area, animals and lots of places to climb and play. In the middle of the park was a lake with a gorgeous cafe - the type of place where you could sit peacefully, sip a cup of coffee and take in the scenery. That is what the other diners were doing until our family turned up.
With boy in the middle claiming he was starving and eldest daughter saying she couldn't rollerskate anymore without some food for energy and baby A just crying as she was getting over a cold we thought it would be a great place to stop and re-fuel. We asked for a table for 6 and the hostess walked through the tables, past a large enough table for us and carried on as she thought we would prefer to sit nearer to the lake. As I was scrambling through the cafe pushing my extra wide double stroller, narrowly missing the feet of one of the diners, I decided we would stop at the first table.
Baby A and Baby E were removed from the constraints of their stroller and were strapped into highchairs and passified with some pieces of banana. Baby E insisted on trying to stand in her highchair, and Baby A turned 180 degrees to watch the sparrows hopping around trying to gobble up the scraps of food. Boy in the middle was shouting that he was hungry and eldest daughter was smuggling biscuits from my bag. Whilst holding Baby E and picking up banana from the floor we negotiated the menu and ended up with a pizza, some pasta and a salad.
Luckily I had remembered to bring bibs for the babies but Baby E managed to cover herself, the table and the floor around her in bright red tomato sauce. She had a lovely time and even dared to remain seated as long as the food kept coming. Baby A on the other hand kept her mouth firmly closed and refused to eat anything and spent the entire time screaming until I sat her on my knee and smuggled her the biscuits from my bag.
So much for a peaceful lunch.
They say the best way to eat a meal is to savour it and enjoy it. Personally I think that standing up every 2 minutes to sit a baby back down in her highchair or to remove the microscopic bits of oregano from the pizza sauce so boy in the middle will eat it or to pick up a cup or wipe a face or cuddle a crying baby is just the ordinary every day ups and downs of life for me. At one point I even found myself eating a slice of pizza while standing up and walking round the table while holding a baby.
Dear husband remains traumatised by the amount of mess that an almost one year old can make when given a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce. Many of the other diners seemed to finish and leave whilst we were there.
As for me I sat back briefly for at least a minute and watched my family and although to an outsider it may have seemed stressful I sat back and could relax as I was in a cafe on holiday with no responsibility for cooking the lunch or clearing up the mess.