punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,


The logistics in managing 4 children, aged 1 to 12, in a restaurant like "the Outback" is a lesson in teamwork. I found myself in this odd situation with stodgycat and his kids on Saturday. I needed to watch them for an hour while cheesy_reads was out and stodgycat was at one of his final exams for the year. Afterwards, stodgycat took a fair vote among the people present (him, his 4 kids, CR, and myself). Scarlet guessed the closest number, and the Outback is what she chose, which was fine with everyone else except those who vote "Uno's," and I had just been there recently, anyway.

So. I sort of knew that Spike, being barely past a year old and just started walking, would probably be a handful on his own, and I also knew Keiran, a 4 year old boy, was being obstinate and would fight with Scarlet. It's just the way it goes. Keiran is ALL boy, and while he's a helluva lot calmer than CR was at that same age, this is the first boy the Heare family has watched grow up under their roof. What they learn from him will be applied to Spike.

I ordered cheap and ate my burger fast, because I knew I'd be needed. Spike was VERY good for being bored, and only when the food arrived did he have issues. stodgycat handled the kids very well, but it was a two-man operation at best, and while he probably does not think his kids were well-behaved, from the point of view of someone who raised a hyperactive child, his kids were really doing very well despite the darkness of the restaurant and how bored the kids must have been once the table space was taken away by food and plates. So when I was done, I took it upon myself to take Spike and walk around with him outside (his dad did this during the first half of the meal), pointing out things, and letting him be a baby. He was in a good mood the entire time I had him. I felt bad I left stodgycat back there with the two younger kids, but I'd feel worse if he didn't get to eat his steak.

I have gotten really good at seeing the nuances of these kids, and the alliance between Scarlet and her older sister are starting to weave a very strong bond. I witnessed this, when I made some comment about the Outback experience that made Chance say this:

Chance: How do you think I feel? I have to deal with these people all day!
Scarlet: [rolls eyes] Pfuh! *I* have to deal with those two all day!
Chance: [irritated] THANKS!
Scarlet: [rolls eyes, and taps her sister in a playful way] I wasn't talking about YOU...! [smirks and shakes her head ]

Scarlet at 8, in many ways, has some of the social graces and patience that her older sister at 12 desperately needs to learn. I have watched this shy little girl I have known from a car seat to a shy toddler that hid behind her dad's leg to grow into someone who might end up being a very political and socially adaptive.

I can't wait to see how they pan out.
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