However, I recently had my own Chick-Fil-A controversy. As you know, I’m still adjusting to the dynamics and logistics of large family living and herding 5 children.
Last Saturday, after a quick visit with cousins out-of-town, I took all the kids to a Metroplex Chick-Fil-A before loading them back into the GMC Yukon for the ride home. My plan: play hard, then sleep hard on the ride home.
Five kids into a restaurant by myself? What the heck was I thinking? I’m no freaking SuperMom, for Pete’s sake!!!
That being said, I thought I did fairly well ordering our meals, keeping Cupcake and Twinkie with me while the boys rushed off to play. I quickly found a table adjacent to the playroom, and set up camp. Sometime, in the midst of feeding the preschoolers and 10-month-old Cupcake, 4-year-old Donut announced that he needed to go to the bathroom. I mumbled “in a minute” as I was wondering how in the world I was going to manage taking this brood to the bathroom.
I looked up and saw that he had already darted across the restaurant and was going into the mens room. Well, “not a whole lot I can do now that he’s already made a run for it” was the thought that crossed my mind. So I watched the mens room door, and in hindsight, should have sent Stinkpot after him.
A couple minutes later, a man who had been sitting near the bathroom approached me. “Is that your little boy in the restroom? He’s needing help.”
I scooped up Cupcake, and went and opened the mens room door. Donut was in the stall with his pants at his ankles exasperated that he couldn’t find the toilet paper. He obviously didn’t realize the large contraption in the stall is, in fact, toilet paper. I coached him through wiping, flushing, washing and drying his hands with the mens room door open while watching the other kids eat.
As Donut ran back to the table, the man spoke to me:
“I’m not one to tell other people how to parent, but you should never have your children any more than an arms length away from you at all times. You should be able to grab your kid in an instant.“
Dumbfounded, I replied, “Yeah,” and turned to go back to my table.
My response only irritated this man.
“Listen! I work in a penitentiary and there are some bad people out there! Bad people! That could do horrible things to your kids.“
Downtrodden by this single man’s judgment of me, my only reply was “I know” and I walked back to my table.
I knew he was right. I now have a large family for the time being, and I should have had a plan before I attempted to step foot into a restaurant with 5 little ones.
I also wish my reply would have been more like:
“I know all about bad people. Two of the kids’ dads are in prison and the other would be if he hadn’t be deported. If more people like you who know so much about parenting would open their homes to foster children, then I wouldn’t have 5 children in mine!“