The day didn't get any better for me after my Birthday post yesterday. In fact, it got worse and we (I) seriously considered cancelling our evening plans and just going to bed at 4pm. However, after many tears and much gnashing of teeth we decided to stick to the plan and go out to dinner as originally scheduled. The only difference was we cancelled the babysitter and took the kids with us.
While part of the tears/gnashing of teeth stuff came from being frustrated with their high level of neediness, tears, tantrums, etc yesterday it also came from feeling guilty and sad about wanting to have some peace and quiet away from them. Don't get me wrong, I completely believe and support that parents do need time for themselves, away from their children, but yesterday night that wasn't what I wanted and it was, after all, MY birthday. So we made our decision and prayed that we would be spared any wildchild behavior once seated for dinner.
We went to L. Woods http://www.lwoodsrestaurant.com/ which is part of Lettuce Entertain You restaurants. LEYE has consistently come up with great dining concepts in the Chicagoland area and this one doesn't disappoint, in fact it's one of our favorites. It is has a general noise level that nicely masks the sounds of child diners but it is still a nice enough place that your kid needs to behave well.
The kids were complete angels. In fact, after dinner two separate people commented at how well-behaved our kids were?!?!?! Oh man, I needed to hear that. Once you become a parent you do not know how much weight a little comment like that can hold, especially after the day I had had with them. If you ever see kids behaving especially well out in public please get the courage up to tell their parents - it takes a lot of consistent effort to teach your children manners and good behavior in public and most parents rarely (if ever) get that kind of positive reinforement from the general public!!
The food was delicious (see below for my daughter's 5 star rating on the mac and cheese) which much to our chagrin (and despite our efforts not to "dumb down" her palate) she insisted on having. My prime rib was perfect and Hubby raved over his cheddar-encrusted white fish.
My little guy concentrated on people-watching and munching on his matzo crackers, sweet potato, tofu and broccoli. He did not make one uncontented peep - I think he must have worked all of that out of his system earlier in the day.
My daughter was charming and (quietly) entertained us with her wit and funny moves, like putting her glasses on her head ("like Daddy") and just gazing at us, waiting for a reaction.
All in all, it was a really nice birthday dinner and was just what I needed to wash away the memory of all the unpleasantness that I was drowning in earlier that day. I think the two Ketel One lemon martinis may have helped too :-)