The irony was that my daughter ordered the exact same thing almost. She did get Mac and Cheese this time and was able to eat the cheese bread so it was a whole new meal. (And cake is a reasonable breakfast food. Or so several mom blogs are swearing. Breads and Cereals, Poultry, Dairy . . . Make it a carrot cake and add a cherry on top, with cream cheese frosting and you have all 5 major food groups. Maybe there is something to this.)
Anyway, then we moved on to talking, which was the whole excuse for eating. While there, my daughter asks for the kids menu. She then looks at the top of the menu nervously and then sighs a big sigh of relief.
"What," I ask her.
"I'll be able to eat on the kids menu until I'm 13 here. So many places the cutoff is eleven."
And there dropped the mic. What? My daughter is about to turn 11. She's speeding into her tween years. She will be in Junior High before I know it. But the real problem is that I'm going to have to pay more for her restaurant food. That's it! I'm throwing down the gauntlet. Why in the world do they choose 11 as the last year they can eat off the child's menu?
As if I didn't have enough fears in my life as boys start coming around, and you are going to make me start paying more for this??? There will be periods, the sex talk, the boys talk, the junior high years, the not wanting to spend time with her dad any more, and you, the restaurant industry is going to make me pay more for that privilege.
And beside that, you are going to make me pay more for her food, while at the same time giving her more food than any two persons should eat at one sitting. She's not a growing boy after all. (No slight to growing boys.) And they won't stop over feeding her until she is 55. There is something that's just crazy about this. Why in the world do we do this and what is it about that number?
And there was that dreaded number 11 again. Why 11? I realize that you couldn't start going to Hogwarts until you were 11. And my daughter has made this known to me more than once as she wants it for her birthday party theme, Hogwarts is school from a book. And that book only came out in the last few years. She's not starting Junior High just yet, despite local school districts making it middle school instead of Junior High. Darn you middle school. But what's up with this?
And then there is the doubling of the costs of going out with my daughter, all because she has turned some random number. I know some people lie and tell restaurants they are actually younger. Or when their kids turn three they tell Disneyland they are still 2 so they get in for free. (I especially sympathize with those Disneyland lies given their skyrocketing costs.). I am not that guy. To my ex's chagrin, I hated lying to people to get something. I'm not claiming sainthood here but it just felt wrong to tell a lie to get a discount. Layers of guilt would wash over me. I just can't be the guy who does that.
Now 13 I kind of get. It's the last year before Junior High. In Judaism it's when the child is considered to become an adult. It's when boys went out to work for their fathers. It's when women way back in the day used to get married because most had already had their bodies go through puberty. Or for those of you who are younger, that big red button in Inside Out. Thirteen is when everyone is going through physical changes that mark growing up. Eleven is Eleven. What's with 11?
This is Bob the Frenchman Mouse . . . Ho! Ho! Ho! (A little like Santa Claus but a French one with whiskers.)
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David Elliott's Single Dad's Guide to Life