I never worked a day in the restaurant industry, but being a parent at mealtime gives you keen insight into serving high maintenance customers in a restaurant.

Let’s just say it’s a good thing toddlers are the most adorable things you’ve ever seen. They’re also loud, passionate, messy, fidgety fireballs who can barely sit still long enough for their food to hit their stomach. Oh, and they change their mind A LOT. Not sure it was ever made up to begin with.

This is how a typical meal conversation between my toddler and me goes:

Me: “We’re having pizza tonight, does that sound good?”

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J: “Yes, pizza. I want pizza!”

Me: “OK, buddy. It’s ready. Your slice is at the table. It’s time for dinner.”

J: “Nooooooooo!!!! I wanna keep playing Mickey Mouse club house!!”

Me: “But you just said you wanted pizza. Now put your toys away, and go wash up.”

Slowly puts toys away one at a time.

J: “Can I play toys after dinner?”

Me: “Sure. Provided dinner doesn’t take two hours.”

J: “What?”

Me: “Nothing. Go wash up.”

Washes up. Sits down.

J: “I don’t want pizza.”

Me: “You said you wanted pizza.”

J: “I want food.”

“You’ll have to pardon my sudden outbursts,” is what I picture him saying. “Sometimes the desire just pops in my head before I can even say what I want. I just have to scramble to get it out. It is pure, unbridled passion.”  

But alas, there are no explanations for a toddler’s behaviour.

Me: “How do you ask?” I remind him, and he reiterates in a much politer manner.

J: “Please can I have more food?”

Me: “Better. What kind of food do you want? Bear in mind the kitchen menu is limited right now.”

J: “I want Oreos.”

Me: “No.”

J: “I want pasketi.”

Me: “We don’t have any spaghetti. Have a couple bites of pizza.”

Takes a couple of bites. Wipes hands in his hair.  

J: “I want milk.”

We bring him milk.

J: “No. No. No. I want water.”

Same as before, desire gets the best of him.

Me: “You have milk.”

Pretty soon a half-hour has gone by and he’s had three bites of pizza.

J: “I want something else.” 

Me: “I’m sure you do.”