Have you ever taken your two-year-old out to eat at a restaurant? If your answer is yes, you will immediately know what I mean when I say there are certain behaviors that you will do almost anything to stop in a restaurant environment: nose picking, fighting, kicking, throwing food, and using non-indoor voices are some of my kids' favorites. Liam HAS to be strapped in. So much so, that if a restaurant doesn't have an appropriate tether on its high chair, I have been known to whip off my belt, sweatshirt or sock to tie him to his seat. He is really pretty good when restrained, when not restrained, all bets are off.
Last night, at our local burger joint he was restrained and actually fairly well behaved. He was loud, but so was the place. He was crazy, but so were all of the other kids in the frenetic atmostphere. He was not using his indoor voice, but neither were most of the men watching the Jets game. We sort of blended in. It was nice.
We had to wait forty minutes or so for a table and used up most of our energy running around on the outside patio in the cold. I had taken the kids hiking earlier in the day, also serving to tire them out. This worked well for my daughter who calmly colored her horse-themed placemat. Liam, however, is like me. When he gets more and more tired, he gets more and more hyper.
It wasn't until our meal came (WAYYYY after the kids had eaten most of and grown tired of their chicken tenders) that I realized we were going to have to come up with a new diversion for (now) shrieking Liam. I rummaged in my purse to see if I had anything of interest. I noticed Liam's lips looked a bit chapped and figured I could donate a fruit-flavored Chapstick to the cause. I pulled out the tube, took off the cap, cranked it up a teensy bit (without him seeing how I did it) and handed it to him.
He gave it a sniff. He gave it a lick. He started applying the stick. It was a bit of a tinted variety, so within a minute or two, he was sporting rosy cheeks, lips and chin. He wasn't exactly able to keep within the lines, nor did he want to. What he DID want to do was NEVER EVER let that tube of Chapstick go. For, I kid you not, the next half hour, he was silent. Silently applying his balm. He had the most serious face on, like it was his job. Fish lips, tongue and teeth all got into the act. We left the restaurant happy and well-fed...me without indigestion and Liam without a hint of chapped skin anywhere on the top half of his body and a fruity-smelling, waxy, pink clown face.