As we sat down at the dinner table, Fighter announced “I need to pee I need to pee I need to pee”.
My wife jumped up at attention ready to take Fighter to the toilet before he had another wet episode. Right next to her, Penny sat in her baby chair with her helper next to her.
“I’ll take him”. I volunteered. “Just order me a mild Peri Peri and water”.
I walked off with Fighter in my arms as we hunted for the toilet. 15 minutes later we returned and order had been restored on the table. The menus that previously lay on the table were gone, indicating that the food had been ordered and Penny sat calmly in her baby chair.
The food took longer to come than we expected with Penny saying “food” repeatedly and tapping on her tummy, telling us that she was hungry.
20 minutes passed and the food finally arrived on the table. I ate away as my helper fed Penny and Shorty fed Fighter.
Some 60 seconds in, Fighter let out a cry and shouted “HOT HOT HOT!”. Penny promptly followed suit and did the same as they both reached for their water bottles to put out the inferno happening in their mouths.
I looked at what they were eating and their chicken had the flag which proudly claimed the chicken they ate was a “Mild Peri Peri”.
I asked Shorty “Why did you order them Mild Peri Peri? It’s spicy!”.
Having always ordered “Hot Peri Peri” for herself, Shorty has never had Mild before and she thought Mild was the lowest level. She didn’t know until then that Lemon and Herb existed.
No matter! She decided to wipe away all the sauce from the chicken and tried to feed the kids again. It didn’t work. They both cried and once again chugged down water. Soon enough they both didn’t want to eat anymore. Not the chicken or the totally unspicy rice.
Watching all this I got really upset. I wanted to blame Shorty for making such a mistake and that because of this mistake our kids can’t have a proper dinner now. My mind went through a harsh selection of words “How could you order spicy food for our kids? Now they won’t eat!”.
Just before the words left my mouth though I held myself back. I asked myself what good would telling Shorty off do? She already knew she made a mistake, she didn’t intend to… but now that she did she feels just as bad as I do that our kids won’t eat.
As I sat there zoned out in the moment as both kids were wailing I then asked myself
“Okay… Shorty made a mistake. Our kids are having a hard time. What am I doing about it?”.
I decided to act. I called the waiter to order a “Lemon & Herb” flavour. I then walked over to a defiant Fighter who wouldn’t listen to his mommy and gently whispered in his ear that I would take him for a walk if he calmed down. He did and in 5 minutes we were out of Nandos, walking around KLCC, both father and son trying to cool down.
As I cooled down I began to realise the bullet I just dodged. If I hadn’t controlled myself I would have said words that wouldn’t have improved the situation at all but worse, they would go on to hurt my wife as a mom.
I came back after our walk to see Penny hugging mommy. She refused to eat the Lemon & Herb that arrived so I tried Fighter who took a few bites. After we were sure they wouldn’t eat anymore we decided to take it away and go buy them some bread.
Both kids tucked into bed well that night. They had a sausage bun each and some extra milk to keep them full.
We were in the car on the way out after putting the kids to bed when I started the conversation with a
“You know I nearly made a mistake just now”.
And I explained how I was feeling at the time, and how I’m glad I didn’t act on my raw emotions. Shorty listened to the whole thing and then gave me a pat on the shoulder and said “Thank you”.
Perhaps it’s in our nature to be protective of our kids and stand up for them whenever they’re having a hard time but sometimes we forget that as their mom and dad and as husband and wife, we’re on the same side. Life is hard but marriage makes life a little easier because you have a partner you can count on… but all that counts for nothing if we turn on one another.
Yes both Shorty and I make mistakes with our kids every now and then, but the wonderful kids they are today is the result of our successes and failures with them. I’m grateful that my wife is this wonderful mom and awesome life partner to raise a family with.
I love you Shorts.