Just a Phase
The Baytown Sun
Published July 19, 2006
I'm sure it's just a phase.
If you've been a parent for any significant amount of time, you know about the phases.
They're different for each child. In her earlier years, Julia (our oldest) went through the "I Refuse to Walk on Grass" phase, the "I Scream Any Time I'm in a Car Seat" phase and "I'm Deathly Afraid of Mommy and Daddy's Closet" phase.
The nice thing about these phases is that they tend to be short-lived. (Except for Julia's "Let's See How Long I Can Stay Alive Without Eating" phase, which started when she was about 3 and there's still no end in sight four years later.)
Now, almost-2-year-old Jenna is going through phases of her own. One of her favorites is the "I'm Going to Wake Up and Scream Bloody Murder Every Night at 3:47 a.m. For No Apparent Reason" phase. That one is always fun. And then there's the "No One Can Enjoy Sunday Lunch As Long As I'm Around" phase.
This one has been particularly hard for me. I think it's the way I was raised. Back in my day, Sunday lunch was a big deal. We either had a nice lunch at home or went to a non-fast-food restaurant after church. It was always a thrill to walk into Luby's and see a short line. "Looks like we beat the Baptists!" my dad would say, a touch of triumph in his voice.
(Apologies to my Baptist friends. I guess our closing prayer was shorter.)
Anyway, over the last six months or so, Jenna's morning and afternoon naps have merged to make for one lunchtime nap. This is not a problem -- except for Sundays. About the time church is letting out and we're ready to go eat, Jenna's ready to crash.
So our Sunday lunches have gone from eating on real dishes with real silverware to grabbing something from the Dairy Queen drive-through on the way home. Which isn't all that bad. It's just not what Sunday lunch is supposed to be.
We got brave last Sunday and decided to give Jenna another chance.
"Maybe she's grown out of it," we thought as we pulled into the parking lot at Antonio's.
She did manage to sit and eat bread for a few minutes. But then she remembered something: Antonio's has a fountain. And Jenna cannot stay away from water. She doesn't like to just look at water; she likes to experience it. This led to her getting quite wet, which led to an Antonio's employee informing Julia that they put Clorox in the fountain water to disinfect it, so letting her baby sister play in it may not be a good idea.
That may have been a scare tactic. At any rate, we had to remove Jenna from the temptation of the fountain, which meant removing her from the restaurant.
I got our food to go and then drove Jenna up and down Baker while Chad wrapped things up with a friend who had unwittingly joined us for lunch.
So now we're back to the Dairy Queen drive-through. And really, it could be worse. One day, Jenna will hit the "I Hate You, You're Ruining My Life and Now I'm Going to Slam My Door" phase.
When we think about it that way, our Sundays are actually quite peaceful.
Deana Nall lives in Baytown with her family — for now.