Yesterday was one of those lazy family days around the house. We carved pumpkins, and that was honestly the biggest expenditure of energy all day. (oh, no…wait, we went to the gym. So that part was hard. But we went altogether, so it was kind of nice.) I did some laundry, the kids disappeared for hours outside. 

We live in a neighborhood where every single house on our cul-de-sac has kids about the same ages as my boys. As a result, there is usually a roving gang of kids out and about. The only real drawback is that I am terrified to back out of the driveway, but I have learned to check, and double and triple check. 

The kids wander into each other’s houses, and I often end up feeding lunch to a few besides my own, which is totally fine. 

But yesterday, I was lazy. And I didn’t even feed my own kids lunch. They came in for drinks, and they had some squeezy applesauce in a pouch and some Pirate’s Booty. And then they went back out. I asked if they wanted lunch, but they were busy playing. 

And so it was that at about six o’clock, we decided to go out for sushi. Those of you with small children will probably be shaking your heads about now, realizing that children who have not eaten properly all day are not wonderful dinner companions. But I forget. As I forget so many of the lessons I’ve learned. 

We took the children to the quiet sushi place in the town just north of us. We couldn’t be seated immediately — or rather, they showed us to a table right away, but all four of us went straight to the bathroom. That was because on the drive over, Turbo had told us how they discovered a dead rodent during their day outdoors, and how they’d made a little grave for him and named him “Speedy.” Images of bubonic plague flashed through my mind. 

“You didn’t touch him, right?” I asked, trying to sound casual as the Major and I exchanged looks. 

“No, only with a stick.” 

“Good.” I was relieved, but I also don’t trust Turbo further than I can throw him. He has mastered the art of telling me what I want to hear. “So nobody touched him, right? Because I’d hate for anyone to say that they didn’t and then to get sick because they actually did but didn’t tell the truth about it.” 

Silence. Then, “sick?” 

The Major filled the kids in on all the diseases that rodents carry. It was enlightening. As he finished, “what kind of rodent was it? A mouse? A squirrel?”

“No, a rodent.” 

We let that one go. 

So we all went to wash our hands really, really well before we sat down. Which irritated the smaller one, who doesn’t like washing his hands, mostly because it makes them ‘wet.’ As a result, he was surly when we sat down at the table. More surly than normal. 

We ordered drinks right away — and I was proud that we decided to stay even though the waitress informed us that there’d been a little glitch with the liquor license and they wouldn’t be serving any beer or wine for two more weeks. We decided that we would survive. 

Until I asked the kids what kind of roll they would each like. Turbo likes fish, but he loves avocado, so he ended up choosing a caterpillar roll. Lunchbox, however, had gone far past rationality, and would not answer. I shouldn’t have pressed him, “what would you like in your roll?” 

He started yelling, “Human meat! I want human meat!”

The waitress paused at the table and then moved on as other tables stopped chatting and stared at us. 

I couldn’t really come up with a good way to stop his demand, so I played along. “Sorry, buddy. This restaurant doesn’t serve that. What else would you like?” 

“HUMAN MEAT! I WANT HUMAN MEAT!” 

We ordered him a California roll. Eventually the other people in the place quit giving us the evil eye. I left wondering if they thought that maybe we really did eat human at home. He asked for it like it was something he had every day — in the same way another kid might yell, “I want chicken nuggets!” 

Dinner went downhill from there. I actually considered jumping from the moving vehicle on the way home. It might be a while before we go out again as a family. Or maybe I’ll just get back into the habit of feeding my kids lunch.