When my niece, born in 1980, was two and still in a high chair my sister and I took her to Furr’s Cafeteria one night to eat. We hadn’t taken her there before so it was a new experience for her. We went through the line and sat in the NW corner of the large dining room.
We were in the last booth on the west wall in the corner. The only thing beyond our booth and the row of booths on the north wall were the two bathrooms tucked into the corner. I wondered why my sister chose that place to sit because the dining room was not full.
We started to eat and my sister put some food from her plate on a saucer and placed it in front of my niece. Within a few minutes she’d pushed a piece of food off the saucer and onto the tray of the high chair. My sister gave her the look as she pushed it around on the tray.
When my sister looked back at her plate and picked up a bite of food my niece slowly pushed it in lazy circles toward the edge of the tray. Then the bite of food went off the tray and onto the floor. My sister picked up the piece of food, gave her the look again and told her to eat and not to play with her food. First warning.
My niece took a couple of bites but within a few minutes another piece of food was on the tray and pushed in lazy circles over the edge of the tray. My sister picked up the second piece of food and laid it on the table and told her not to do that again and started to eat. Second warning.
After a few bites she pushed the third piece of food off the saucer and made slow circles toward the edge of the tray. As it went over the side and fell toward the floor my sister went into action. Before the food hit the floor she was out of the booth taking the plate of food off the high chair tray and setting it on the table in one smooth motion. Then she grabbed the tray and pulled it up and over my nieces head. No third warning.
Even before my sister pulled her out of the chair my niece starting yelling: “I don’t want to go to the bathroom”! She yelled that all the way into the bathroom. (The reason to sit by the bathroom door was now very evident.) After 20 seconds it was quiet in the bathroom. She had received the swat and stern warning she deserved. Then I am sure she was told to stop crying so they could come back to the table.
During the time they were in the bathroom getting this straightened out I heard the man sitting in the booth behind ours laughing. I looked over and noticed that they also had a little one in a highchair. He was only a little bit older than my niece. The dad looked at me and said: “Made a few trips to the bathroom myself.” Then he nodded to the little wide eyed boy in the high chair who had been taking it all in. No doubt he was remembering his trips to the bathroom.
When my sister and niece arrived back at the table my niece was still sniffling a little. When her plate was put back in front of her she began to eat and caused no more trouble. I guess she found out the third time was the charm with her mother. Her aunt had a shorter fuse. It didn’t take but once for her and her brother to realize they only got one warning with Aunt Sandy.
Mom and I took my niece to Medicine Lodge with us when she was 3. We went down to decorate graves for Memorial Day. We stopped at a local restaurant for lunch and after putting her in the high chair and putting on her bib I laid my wooden spoon in the middle of the table. I always carried it when I took her or her brother with me anywhere.
The waitress came to the table to take our order and noticed the wooden spoon in the middle of the table. The waitress looked at the spoon and then at my niece, smiled at her and said: “I also carry a wooden spoon when I take my grandchildren with me to eat.” My niece just glared at her but we didn’t have any trouble during our meal.
My niece and nephew learned very early how they were expected to act when Aunt Sandy took them anywhere. They’d both check to see if the wooden spoon was in my purse. (My mother, or NaNa to them, and their mother used a wooden spoon when necessary so they knew what that spoon meant.) I never had to use it; it was enough for it to be there. They knew how to behave in a restaurant or anywhere we took them. To contact Sandy: [email protected]