Call it still being gun-shy from a flight to California a few years ago, but I just don't like when my kids make a lot noise in public. I guess I'm too compassionate for other people in this case.
That's why any time our 19-month-old makes a disruption, I'm always ready to get him and leave.
I call it the scoop-and-go and I've gotten quite good at it, even though I rarely have to use it. I have to plan ahead for the dash to the exits at every location we are at - especially restaurants.
Where is my best exit route after I scoop him?
Where is a good place for him to run around when we leave?
When is the noise too much noise for other diners?
That's going through my head each time we go out. I know it's a little neurotic, but I never said I was normal.
I guess I just don't want to be a disruption, although many parents of young ones, or parents of former young ones, have been in the same boat and don't mind the noise.
I can't blame the kid in this situation. He's 19-months-old and one of his favorite hobbies is exploring on the move. Strap him into the high chair and pin him down and after while it's only natural that he wants to move.
It's like you just got your driver's license but the car is locked away in the garage.
I'm often the parent to take him out since I'm one of the fastest eaters this side of Joey Chestnut. I've always been a fast eater, but even I have increased the intake meter the past few years with young children.
It's translating to my work as well. A co-worker saw me with a giant pop the other day and thought to herself "that will last him all afternoon."
A few minutes later she looked over and was amazed to see that the pop was gone.
The good news is the 19-month-old is getting better at staying put so I don't think I'll need the scoop-and-run technique very much longer, or at least not as often.
Just know if you see me in public at a restaurant and I'm looking around all crazily, I'm not on something.
I'm just a parent looking for the best getaway route if needed.
Reporter Andrew Potter is a Tuesday columnist for the Times-Republican. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org