Sometimes, when something seems like a bad idea, it might actually be a good idea. Sometimes you just have stretch. We went to get the kids’ toys from the toy store around 6, following a full day of play at the Ottawa Eid Festival. Everyone was tired. We were going to just get their toys, pick some food up on the way home, and eat in. I was going to have the kids in bed by 7:30. This is what I told myself. And then we saw a restaurant we liked close to the toy store, and decided on a whim that we should go there, and called Baba and told him to meet us there in 30 minutes.
We went to the store. We bought the toys. These two sentences do not truly express the chaos of going to the store and buying the toys with a 4 1/2 year-old, and, more importantly, a 22-month old. Ayoub does not understand stores. All he saw was an endless stream of toys. Appropriately, he ran through the aisles shrieking in excitement and pointing at this! and that! oh! oh! and this too! did you see this! I followed as best as I could. Then it was time to go. This was a disaster, of course, because why would we ever leave this magic kingdom of Toys! Toys! Toys!?? Why would we ever go anywhere else. There was crying and screaming and fighting. It went on and on. We drove to the restaurant.
Now, what we had not accounted for was that a) it was Friday night at 6:45 p.m. and b) it was Eid, so the Muslims of Ottawa were out in full force. Good Lord, do we know how to eat! Everywhere you turned, Muslims. I imagine that if there were random racist people out for dinner tonight, my people and I likely gave them palpitations. Anyone who worried that “The Moslems are coming” would have had their confirmation that the Moslems had come and were actually now here. Back to the story though, there was a 30 minute wait. We got back into the car, considered our options. We drove to two other places, also flooded with Muslims. We called a third place and looked up the website of a fourth. Finally, we decided to go back to our first restaurant. We had a number, maybe all this time we’d spent driving around the neighbourhood, the kids progressively getting more scream-y, meant they were close to it. We got there and they were closer. We decided to stay.
Now, I must admit, I was expecting a disastrous dinner. Children out since 9 a.m., hopped up on sugar, expected to sit still and eat around their bedtime? Daoud – maybe. Ayoub – absolutely not. And this is where my bad idea / good idea thought comes in: they were good. We had fun and it was worth it. Now, I’m not saying that Ayoub didn’t throw tempura at the rest of us or scream loudly on multiple occasions, but somehow, by the Grace of God, it wasn’t stressful. It was a good meal in lovely company to cap off a glorious day. So glorious that it’s past midnight and I still don’t want to sleep, am not ready to let it go, so I’m awake writing even though I know tomorrow when the kids wake I’ll pay dearly.