Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Poe-yay Day

Tuesday is a very exciting day of the week around my household. It is now known as Poe-yay Day (Poe-yay is pronounced with an unnatural pause between the syllables, like an automated voice).

The build-up begins Monday night. By Tuesday morning, Violet repeats her line of inquiry at least three times per hour:

"Poe-yay now? Eat in? Mama, Bapa? Mama's house? Wawound?" (This is two-year old speak for: "Is it time to go to Chipotle? Will we be eating in? Will Grandma and Grandpa be joining us? Will you be dropping us off at their house afterwards and will we be playing at the super cool new playground right next to their home?")

"No, not yet."


"We have to wait until Daisy's out of school."


The routine started because my parents watch the kids Tuesday nights while I tutor. So I drive the kids over the hill about 30 miles to the larger metropolis area where I work and my parents live. My parents have been generous enough to treat their (mostly) unemployed daughter and grandkids to regular meals out. I owe them big time in their retirement years, if those are still possible.

Chipotle is a corporate chain. I live in a town that actively limits corporate chains and supports independently-owned businesses. I think that's great and I do support the Buy Local movement. But I am drawn like a zombie to the big chains not in my hometown . . . Target, Michael's, Barnes and Noble, DSW, Old Navy. These are exotic places and Chipotle is also in that category.

We started the lunch thing so my mom and I could have a chance to visit and to avoid dropping off hungry, cranky children who can be extremely picky eaters. My small children get three carnitas tacos each. I even let Violet, my sensitive redhead who doesn't do well with dairy, get the cheese and sour cream with the guacamole.

We have our Tuesday routine down, which I'm proud of because routine is not my strongpoint. When we get to the restaurant, the kids go straight to the barstools in front of the windows with a street view. Violet takes the only short stool while Daisy moves from one tall stool to another. As I'm ordering the food and bringing it to them, Daisy tries out different ways she can hang her body off the stool while Violet enthusiastically points out every bus that passes (oh, the excitement and questions when one day - the driver stopped the bus in front of the restaurant and came in to get his lunch).

My parents and I eat at a nearby table and watch the kids gorge themselves on tacos. Daisy holds hers like a cigar and eats out of the side of her mouth. Violet often throws the tortillas to the side like frisbees and eats with a spoon, making regular "mmmm" sounds. But if I ordered her meal without the tortillas, she would be very upset as it isn't part of the routine.

It's exactly the kind of casual dining experience that they can handle at this stage and even so, we are often a spectacle . . . Violet repeatedly screaming NO DAISY, both of them running in circles, me standing up and bellowing, WELL, I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM . . . DOES ANYONE ELSE NEED TO GO? then realizing by my mom's response that I have spoken to the entire restaurant.

It will probably be one of those memories I'll circle around for years . . . Girls, when you were little, we used to go to Chipotle and you loved those tacos. Remember the stools? Remember the busses? I'm sure they will nod, unimpressed . . . lecturing me on the evils of eating meat or introducing me to the perils of the oppresive corporate model, as if I were born yesterday. But no one will be able to take Poe-yay Day away from me.

picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chelsea_nj/4084162763/

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