uno-deep-dishI took my son out to dinner recently, just he and I.

My wife had the opening night of her recent play and he and I were having a guys’ night out. Partly, I did this as a bit of a test, to see how both he and I did on our own without mommy around. With all the trouble he’s been having falling asleep without my wife being home, I thought it might be a good exercise to try ourselves out and about and see how we do.

I’m glad to say things went relatively well. Well, he did well, anyway.

I took him to Uno because of all the places my wife and I have taken him to, that one seems to be where he does the best. I don’t know if it’s the decor, the coloring, or just the blonde waitress we always seem to run into there who he smiles and giggles at incessantly, like a 14 year old waiting to ask her out on a date. I have no clue. Regardless, it has done us good in the past.

We got a high chair, some crayons, and he and I were set. I ordered myself a mini/single size deep dish pizza and him some mac and cheese. (I know. For a family that tries hard to eat healthy, I really blew it on this venture.) Our waiter was great, very friendly, and when he realized the people around us who arrived after us had gotten their food before we did, he was like lightning into the kitchen to figure it out. Good guy.

Of course, during that wait, the little guy did need a little something to tide him over while we sat. Luckily, we had a box of organic raisins in his bag, so he had a few of those while we alternated between coloring on the place mat, reading his little board books, and me drawing him pictures on the napkin of Santa, The Count, Batman and Robin (now THAT’S a Justice League book I’d read).

I really can’t tell you too much about what was going on around us because, truth be told, I was completely and utterly engrossed in my boy. We talked, we read, we played, we drew, although we did talk to a nice middle-aged couple who were seated next to us and he kept smiling at. They told us seeing him made them want grandchildren, which I thought was very sweet.

So the food came and I moved back and forth between bites of my pizza and serving up small pieces (he probably could handle bigger, but I’m paranoid, so I cut them smaller anyway) of his mac and cheese to him. Suddenly, in the middle of our dinner he starts going, in that tiny little voice “uh-oh…uh-oh…uh-oh…” and grabbing his bum and front. I ask him if he needs a diaper change to which he replies, almost desperately, “uh-huh.”

I scooped him up, grabbed some wipes and a diaper and off to the bathroom we headed. The kind couple next to us was nice enough to watch our things while we were gone.

Here’s where the first snag of our night came about, though. We walked into the men’s room and I could find no changing station. So, there we were amid sinks, urinal, toilet and a floor. The restaurant was packed, so there were no options in there, and my car is tiny and has a car seat taking up a ton of space, so that’s out.

So, I did the only thing I could think of – I grabbed paper towels out of the dispenser, him in my arms, and laid them out on that bathroom floor to create some kind of ‘germ barrier,’ even if such a thing exists only in my mind. I laid him down, very careful with his head against the hard tiles and just began the diaper change, hoping that no one was going to walk in on us there, in the middle of the floor of this tiny bathroom at Uno changing a diaper.

I couldn’t believe how good the little guy was for me while I did this. Maybe he sensed how awful I felt about having to do this there, and what a terrible father I felt like for not having a better solution.

I emailed Uno about it via their website. I made sure to tell them that at our particular Uno, the service and food is always great. We’ve never had any service or product issues there, and I didn’t want it to seem otherwise. I was just concerned about other dads who may have been in a similar situation.

Well, within a day, they emailed me back, and boy did I feel like an idiot.

There WAS a changing table in there, it was just in the handicapped stall, where I never even thought to look. I replied, apologizing for my lack of investigating during the actual incident. They wrote back and told me there was no need to, and said maybe better signage might be needed.

I feel like such an idiot. It was there all the time and here I was, frantically changing my son on a bathroom floor.

Oy.

All cleaned and changed, I wiped his hands, arms and anything else that might have also touched the bathroom floor, and back to dinner we went. Before we knew it, we were all done, him handing me back his plate and putting his arms up in the air – his own little sign language he came up with himself for ‘i’m done’ ever since he was a little tiny guy.

We paid the bill (well, I did. I don’t think they’d take cuteness as currency. maybe. who knows?) and we were on our way, with him waving to every waitress and hostess at the front desk that he could manage before we made our way out the doors and into the car.

Still, the night was young and I knew the curtain wasn’t even going up on my wife’s play for another half an hour or so, meaning it would be hours before she came home. I needed a little more to tire the little guy out.

“Whattaya say, buddy?” I asked. “You wanta go look at books at Barnes and Noble?”

“Uh-huh” that tiny voice said back to me from the back seat.

And we were off to our next great guys night adventure and the misadventures that came with it.

But that’s another post.

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