I’m sitting on my couch at 1:30 am blogging while the darn cat that woke me up an hour ago is snoozing beside me. Since I can’t sleep, I thought I’d blog about our Golden Corral dining experience this evening. I can hear my cousin Jennifer laughing as she reads this – she has two kids and has surely gone through something like this in her past. This one’s for you, Jen!
Earlier this week, my wonderful husband (Happy Father’s Day!) saw a commercial about endless ribs at Golden Corral on television. Ever since, he’s been harassing me about going to eat there. It finally happened yesterday evening. It had been a busy day and I told him we could do whatever he wanted for dinner. Right before we left, he tried to change plans and stick around the house to go fishing or just play outside, but I insisted that we go ahead and go since he’s been thinking about it all week.
The parking lot was full when we pulled in and there was a cloud of smoke around the front entrance from all the nicotine dependent diners who aren’t allowed to smoke inside (thank goodness). After making our way through the smoke, we stepped inside and I knew right then that this is not where we should be. Our son decided he wanted to stop and play with the little retractable strap that blocks off the maze leading up to the register. My husband’s comment: “You have to pay before you eat?” It’s been a long time since we’ve been to a place that doesn’t come to your table to take your order. Either way, we should have turned around and left when the total for two adult buffets (kids under 3 eat FREE!) was $30. I could see the look on my sidekick’s face…we were both thinking “We could have had Ruby Tuesday for $40!” But, we didn’t leave – we just took our tray and shuffled to a table, wiggling our way through the swarm of hungry folks.
I went to the buffet first, fixing our son a plate of strawberries, carrots, pizza, and macaroni & cheese. The sheer amount of people waiting to fix their plates was incredible. When I got back to the table, I told my husband to go on and get his food. I explained how there were two stations where you could pick up plates, etc. My son actually started eating his strawberries after he successfully pulled all the green tops off of them. I thought, “This might not turn out so bad after all.” Heh.
Husband comes back with a plateful of buffet food and I head to get my own. By the time I get back, our son is in a different chair and my husband is trying to get him to eat. Dining out with a two-year-old is a job (can I get an amen?). I sit down and attempt to eat my food (black eyed peas, pinto beans, mac and cheese, carrots, meatloaf, green beans, Mexican corn bread…yum) when our son decides he wants to go back and forth under the table. The objects on the table are amazing to him – the salt shaker, hot sauce, steak sauce, milk cup, etc. I’m eating with my left hand and telling him “You need to sit still and eat. Eat your strawberries. Eat a bite of pizza.” Of course, I had to throw in “If you sit still and eat your food, you can have an ice cream cone.” That worked for about 30 seconds.
My dear partner goes back for a bit more food and I know we’re in trouble when I see him stop at the dessert bar. I meant to tell him not to bring anything sweet to the table until after our son finished his food. I knew what it would be. The dessert? A pretty piece of chocolate cake.
After about two minutes at the table, our son finally sees the cake.
“I want cake,” he says.
“You can’t have cake until after you eat your strawberries and pizza,” I quickly reply.
Then, it’s the classic game of keep away. He crawls under the table to his dad’s side, and I put the cake on my side. Then, he crawls to my side and I put the cake on dad’s side of the table. After about 5 rounds of this, Husband says, “Can we just go?” I’ve been ready since we got there.
Son is not happy that we’re leaving without the cake and of course, I try to reason with a two year old why you can’t have cake until after you eat your “real food”. For the first several minutes in the car (Husband decides we need to immediately come home and I don’t argue), it’s an awful silence. Then, son starts saying, “Where dat cake?” repeatedly. Finally, we can’t do anything but laugh about it. If you don’t laugh, sometimes you think you might go berzerk. Husband remarks how the experience was something like the Griswalds and Duck Dynasty.
After we went to bed, my husband and I laughed and talked about being parents. We questioned if we’re doing something wrong by expecting our son to understand he has to eat his dinner before he gets dessert. We laughed about how redneck Golden Corral is and how we’ll never step foot in one again. We talked about how freaking expensive it was to eat there and how we could have gone to tons of other places with better food and atmosphere. I remarked about how quickly these toddler years will be over and how we’re going to miss these crazy things.
With all this being said, I must end on a positive note, because this blog is “Because Nice Matters”, of course. I thought about the “bright side” of the situation and here’s what I came up with:
- We made it to and from the restaurant safe and sound.
- I’m thankful we actually make enough money to go out to eat on a fairly regular basis (once a week or so).
- None of us have experienced food poisoning from the buffet (yet).
- Looking back, we can laugh about it.
It’s nearly 2 am and we’re having the in laws up for Father’s Day breakfast. I need to get my booty in the bed so I can be a good hostess and make it through the day. First, I must have a snack, though. My $15 buffet meal has worn off…