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See you on South Beach...in 16 years.

What baby whispering skills do some moms have that I don’t? How can they be out, dining on Lincoln Road, having a peaceful grown-up evening at 10 p.m. with their kids? On the few tri-yearly occasions I can actually make it out of the house at night and go to South Beach, I see them outside, under the umbrellas and stars, sharing a meal with their friends, a bottle of wine between them, the miracle child sitting quietly in his/her high chair. Not screaming “up” loudly and withering like an impaled fish on a hook, reaching for the knives or throwing spoons to the floor. But sitting as a picturesque complement to a tranquil highbrow scene. Perhaps the child is coloring. Not eating the crayons, or coloring on the tablecloth, or crying that she’s not allowed to eat the crayons, but coloring, on a crisp white sheet of paper.

How fantastic would that be? Being able to go out with a friend AND being able to share time and an experience with my little daughter.

But alas, it’s not to be.

Come 7:30 and you can see a change in Penelope. My sweet adorable daughter by day, starts getting unhappy with everything and frustrated easily. That the square block won’t go into its square hole properly is cause for an apoplectic rage. She cries and throws that no good block across the room. If she was keeper of a suitcase with the red nuclear button, it would have been pushed by now if only to rid the world of that block. I can see myself now in court with a fellow diner claiming permanent disability from a hard roll to the arm.

When we do go out to restaurants at night, you’ve seen me. I’m the one eating at 5pm with the little girl reaching for the water glass, though she’s only a recent graduate to sippy cup. She’s the one who wants to eat with the spoon even though she can’t get the food to stay on the spoon long enough for it to get to her mouth. And once she's eaten (5 minutes tops) Pen won’t sit in a high chair long enough for mommy to shovel food in her mouth with both hands simultaneously let alone sip and savor a glass of Chardonnay. Conversation with friends consists of me saying, “Just a minute, I’ll give her this spoon and she’ll be OK”. I give her the spoon. 30 seconds later I will be repeating that phrase to my friends, picking up the spoon and apologizing to the patron it hit. I am a mommy psychic I know how it will go before I make the plans. I just always think, tonight will be different.

It can’t be coincidence that I’ve walked by those mommies in the 5-minute window their children are so good. That’s lot of coincidence.

I lament. Penelope is 17 months. This is such the age to take her out. Before she has to get up early for school and before she can actually understand what my friends and I are talking about. She’s still cute enough to be an accessory.

Alas, my friends make it easier for me now. They call me to tell me how their wonderful dinners went rather then invite me to them.

Any dining secrets anyone can share with me? I didn't realize having a baby would mean I'd have to eat my own icky cooking...

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