Asda

If a jet taking off averages 150 decibels, my children’s voices rise to around 2,531 decibels when we ‘eat out.’

And why stop at eardrum rupture when you can throw some parental mortification into the mix?

Being lovers of fine cuisine and swanky eateries, we took the kids to the Asda cafe on Friday.

Initially we laughed along nervously with their antics at the table.

You know that nervous, ‘Kids, eh?’ laugh parents do when things can turn from endearing to cold sweat-causing in the blink of a bleary parental eye?

The turning point on this occasion was when our son bellowed ‘THIS. FOOD. IS. SCRUMMY IN MY BUMMY!!!!!!!!!!’

After hissing some empty threats about cleansing our entire house of electronic devices, the situation neutralised. The kids even started to play some counting games. I cast smug looks towards other parents. My children were playing educational games and sitting nicely at the table. I began to Imagine a world of possibility. One where we might even take them to Frankie & Benny’s, hell maybe even for a Sunday carvery.

But alas my thoughts of effortless eating out were infiltrated suddenly by the piercing shouts of my son, ‘…twelve, thirteen…….FART-TEEN!!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!’

His laughter wasn’t a delicate chuckle of childhood joy. It was a hysterical cackle that involved his mouth gaping open like a cement mixer, if cement mixers churned saliva and pieces of ham sandwich.

The point of no return had been reached. Both older children were in fits of laughter, bits of food dropping from their mouths and no threatening whispers to behave managing to reach their ears.

The toddler was silently observing events as they unfolded. I glanced at her face and saw the distinct look of an evil mastermind committing something carefully to memory and planning to reenact it all at some future date.

As the eldest proclaimed ‘Mummy is 33 and Daddy is 37!!!!!’ I felt it might be time to leave. My mind was made up when our son howled, ‘Ahahahha 37 is nearly 40!!!!!!! Daddy’s OLD!!!! He’s going to die soon!!!

I launched myself off my chair and went scrabbling around for everyone’s coats.

As we bustled our raucous brood out with red faces and limp mutterings of apology to fellow diners, I decided that we should probably not eat out in future.

Or leave the house in general.

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