Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Not in a long, long time. As Beau would say a SUPER long time--

Has it happened.

Like since I had Beau has it happened.

Okay, no, that's not true. But definitely not since Beau turned 2 has it happened.
But on Sunday night I got one.

What? A compliment on my children's behavior.

At a restaurant.

No, not a restaurant that is kid friendly. That wouldn't really count now would it?
I am talking about a nice restaurant. An adult restaurant.

And yes, there was absolutely bribing involved.
When we first had Carmella we could go anywhere with her-- and we did. We took her places like the theater for things like the Lion King, the Nutcracker and Radio City Rockettes (at 10 months old no less). Once, in New York--and this is totally Bubbles fault-- I took her to a bar when she was 11 weeks old. That was the same trip I took her to a full on Catholic mass wedding in the city. She was great and slept soundly until we walked outside and there were bagpipe players.

Carmella, as one acquaintance once told me, was a "good baby." I didn't really believe him since she was my first and I thought she was hard.

But now?

Yeah, he was totally right on. Carmella was a good baby. And she is an even better kid. You can take her anywhere and count on her to behave better than you probably will.

But this is not to say that occasionally I would be horrified that Carmella would do something child like and you know make a child like noise but now. . . Looking back?

I know I was being ridiculous.

Because Beau?

Beau has shown me how most children act in public places that they don't want to be in and probably shouldn't be in.

The learning curve with children is a circle you know. The teaching is a shared experience. You, as parents, try to pass on some knowledge to them and in the process you get schooled right back. Again and again you are reminded that you don't know jack. . .

So anyway, back to my story.

Two year olds--in general-- make it impossible to take them anywhere that isn't geared towards kids. And just as Carmella out grew the terrible that is twoness (that was not so terrible after all) Beau turned 2 and, well, his twoness has persisted well past two.

Oh, but now he is 5 and maybe a new light shines on us. Maybe. . .

Sunday night Ryan and I were desperate for some decent food.
See, we love Hilton Head Island. The reasons we love Hilton Head are because it is relatively close to Atlanta (5 hours), the beach is long (unlike the Gulf), the beach is hard sand and you can ride your bikes on it. There are miles and miles of bike paths. There is lots to do besides go to the beach--like ride your bike.
Or have the whole beach to yourself because everyone else gets all chicken shit at a little rain and thunder and vacates. Then you can fly your stunt kite to your ( or your husband's)heart's content.
And you can ride your bike to the forest preserve or the ruins or Harbor town and look at birds and alligators along the way(and forget to bring your camera).

And you can walk on the empty beach at night and it is totally dark and spooky and very cool and it is fun because your kids are scared (Carmella) of the darkness and coolness of the beach at night. And again, you also forget to bring your camera. . .

And, so far, Hilton head has been mostly immune to hurricanes-- compared to other beach areas in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

And, speaking of Florida (no offense, I like some parts of Florida too) . . . Hilton Head isn't tacky resort like with huge highways, towering condos and flashy strips malls.

Yes, it has its kitschy tourist like stuff but all beaches have that crap. And it can be annoying with all the Lily Pulitzer (gag) and little girls with giant bows (yes Carmella was a bow head too. Apparently it is what you do to little girl's heads). And the men in their madras and brooks brothers--don't even get me started on the crocs-- but eh, you see that everywhere in the South. The only real fault that I find with Hilton Head is the that for the most part the restaurants are not good.

In fact, I would go so far to say they are as a whole, terrible.

Terrible in all categories--food, price and-- worst dining offense of all-- service.

So not only is every thing way, way over priced it doesn't even taste good and the service is antithetical to service. It is non service.

However, this is not usually a problem for us since when we go to Hilton Head we cook our own meals. But this time it was just a short trip and we stayed at the South Beach Marina Inn. Our suite did not have a full kitchen so we had to go out to eat.

By Sunday I couldn't bear another night of shelling out the bucks for a crappy over priced meal. So I convinced Ryan to go to CQ's.

CQ's is a Hilton Head's anomaly. It is good food and good service and you definitely pay for it. But it isn't that much more than any of the other restaurants in Sea Pines that are decidedly not good.

I won't rave and say this is the best restaurant ever but it has consistently been good the now 4 times I have been there. So that is something.

After a day of biking and hanging out on the beach we dressed and hopped on the Sea Pines trolley to CQ's.I can't tell you how cool it was that we didn't have to drive anywhere for 4 days.

I should point out that Carmella decided she wasn't comfortable riding in the back of the trolley with us so she sat up front by herself. She also held on to the rail the whole ride. And Ryan and Beau and I giggled at her. So typical Carmella. I should also point out that we had the whole trolley to ourselves for the ride to Harbor Town.
Even better.

I took the opportunity to tell the kids (Beau) exactly what sort of behavior I expected out of them. Carmella also offered some tips of her own to him for clarity.

So with the kids threatened within an inch of their lives and promises of special treats for good behavior we went to CQ's.

And while there was a time that I frowned on people who allowed their children to play video games at the table I now understand that they have kids like Beau who can't sit still and that not only do they value their dining experience they also value the other patrons. So needless to say I was quite grateful to Carmella for bringing and let Beau play with her Nintendo. Carmella and Ryan played a cut throat game of tic tac toe. Because while CQ's is definitely more adult than other restaurants on Hilton Head it does not alienate it's main clientele (families) and has a kid menu with little activities (activities which do not interest Beau in the least).

And I should say that there was one other child in restaurant but he looked about 10 and way bored. So this is not a fun restaurant for the kids in general but mine had an okay time and I got a yummy meal.

Oh what did I have?

Well, I had a very delish dirty Grey Goose Martini with blue cheesed stuffed olives and Ryan had a Knob creek bourbon. Ryan had the caviar crustini. And we shared a Kobe short rib appetizer that was just out of this world yummy and then split a wedge salad. I had the lobster pasta with an Oregon Pinot Gris that I can't remember the name of but was really good and Ryan had the venison with a beer (of course). Kids had chicken fingers and were very happy about that.

After we were finished and were waiting for the check an older couple stopped by our table on the way out and said what polite and well behaved children we had. Moi! With well behaved children. Wow.

And the real kicker here, as Camille or Anne or Carrie can attest to is that last year when we were on our girl's trip I made an absolute fool out of myself at CQ's. See that picture under the "I am Nat and this is my blog"?

Well that picture is fake.

I had the waiter pretend to throw me out because I knew I was being such a fool and Carrie snapped a picture of it. So my kids behaved better than me. Which when it comes to Carmella that is more the rule than the exception but Beau still beats me out on number of daily tantrums. And hey, at least I've got that.

We had a great trip and I wish it had been longer.

Here are some other pictures of our long weekend:

Which, BTW--Stoph, Tara-- I don't know what you two are talking about. Stoph, you went skiing and to Kansas (snicker). And Tara haven't you been to the beach 3 times since May? I do not go on vacay all the time. Just as much as I can finagle. Who wouldn't? Really And btw, anyone else wants to take me to the beach I am game. I love the beach, the ocean, the sand, the hauling tons of crap to the beach just to sit there, drink beer, read and watch my kids play. All good. All good. Could do it everyday.
Beau took this picture of Ryan and I. Ugh, them are some drunk eyes I have.:

Ryan with Beau's shark goggles.

Carmella got all brave and had her hair painted.
She doesn't do the face painting thing as Cappy the clown freaks her out.

Unfortunately Beau does love Cappy and she wasn't doing face paint that night so he had t0 settle for hair painted. He was not happy and went back to get more. He tried to convince her to paint his face but she didn't have her stuff with her.

Playing in the ocean.

Beau trying to scare the other people in the water. It was really funny to watch him swim up to them and think he was really going to scare the crap out of them and that they just laughed at him.

Okay, well looking forward to Sunday with BeauPOOLooza and getting some good workouts in this week. I'll try to get around to post all the boring ones I've been doing. Gotten in some good runs, swims and bikes (well not the last 4 days per se but the other times since I last posted). Getting ready and more nervous about the half ironman. . .

PS. Sorry for all the typos and misspelling. Blogger is not being very cooperative in the editing process. I think all the pictures wonks it out and it does funky things. Best I can explain it. Because some of my edits don't go through and it won't let spell check or some of the other "tools" work. Whatever. You get the gist: I went to the beach. It was fun. My kids didn't embaress me too much and I didn't embaress Ryan too much either.


  1. Lala Neeeeeds a beach trip too. Lola-not so much fun this time. Hilton Head could use a good restaurant (Stoph ?)

  2. Oooo, take me! Take me! Ryan is going to the beach sans me and the kids in August.

    And yes Chris, come make a resturant in Hilton Head. I will run it for you.

    Lala, please buy house in Hilton Head so I have somewhere to live since I can't afford even the most squalid of places on Hilton Head.

    Actually, I would really like a place across the sound on Daufuskie preferably. Even less affordable than HHI though . . .

  3. Wow, very impressive at the kid behavior! That was a really good restaurant.

  4. Have you ever tried Charly's Crab? Yes, it would require a drive from Sea Pines, but it was always our 'nice dinner out' when my grandparents lived in Hilton Head Plantation...

  5. Brings back some good memories...I love me some Hilton Head.

  6. Looks like you and your family had a blast

  7. Holy crap. I had to look up Lily Pulitzer, and I knew i was gonna be sorry i looked at it, but now it's horrendousness is forever burned on my eyeballs. Thanks a lot.

    Also, I think you left out the part about how we all made fools of ourselves at CQ's, because we were LOADED BEFORE WE GOT THERE AND HAD THE MARTINIS, but that I am the only one who did it in front of my parents' friends from the old neighborhood. . . gotta love that.

    I miss the beach. Let's go this weekend.