I had the pleasure today of going out for lunch with my son, Alex. For those of you who are new to this blog, Alex is Deaf and he is tube-fed. He nibbles a little, drinks even less, and has never eaten a meal in all of his thirteen and three-quarter years. However it’s fun for both of us: I get to treat myself to a meal and he gets to people-watch, which is his favourite thing in the whole world.
So we went into Montana’s and sat down in a booth and the waitress came over to ask if we wanted anything to drink. I ordered him a glass of water without ice (I’m won’t pay for something he won’t drink – he did end up sipping about a half-teaspoon of it though) and I ordered myself a beer. A few minutes later she came back with that and took our order. We had agreed on a salmon salad – Alex liked the picture – so I asked for it and he pointed to it.
“Just one?” she asked.
“Yes,” I answered.
“Shall I get him a plate?” she half-whispered, I suppose so as not to embarrass me.
“Sure,” I said.
She looked at me briefly as though she was assessing how cheap I must be and left the table. Five minutes later she came back with not one, but two small plates. I mean seriously, SURELY I was going to split the salad evenly. I did manage to not tell her to go fuck herself however – I said thank you instead.
When the salad came she put it in the middle of the table. Of course I immediately moved it in front of me and gave Alex a nibble on his plate. After two miniscule bites of salmon he was full.
The thing is this: every time this happens I’m tempted to lift up his shirt and show the waitress his g-tube button, permanently implanted in his stomach, and explain why I’m not feeding him. But then I think, why should I have to? What I do in a restaurant, as long as I’m being polite and paying for my food, shouldn’t matter. Yet how much do you want to bet she went home and told her husband, “There was this woman who came in today and ordered herself a beer and a salad and let her kid starve, blah blah blah…” Actually, it’s kind of funny, when you think about it.
Would you explain to people why you’re not feeding your child? Or would you just allow them to judge and tell everyone about it who will listen?