And Then There Was This One Time At Panera…

August 23rd, 2008

It is probably a complete mistake to post this story, but I feel the need to cleanse myself of a little iniquity.

My sister April, used to live in Saint Louis and I would frequently pack up my four boys and head to her house for a long weekend.  Sometimes my parents would also be there and we would have a high old time driving April insane with our shopping needs and eating out at exotic restaurant needs which none of us could do back in small town Kansas.  We often took all the kids out with us on these shopping and eating excursions because WE ARE IDIOTS.
So after a few hours of hitting the big box stores, we decided to get some lunch and we all decided that The Saint Louis Bread Company would be an excellent spot.  Except for Drew my third son who was maybe three or four at the time and loathed The Bread Company.  He hated The Bread Company.  He despised The Saint Louis Bread Company.  I have no idea why.  We did not have a Bread Co. anywhere near us in KANSAS.  Where did he form this strong opinion? What was it based on?   The only time we ever went to Saint Louis Bread Co. was when we visited April’s house.  Drew was only three.  I couldn’t understand how any truly horrifying culinary experience could possibly be permanently imbedded in his toddler brain.  But somehow, it was and he decided to throw one long fit inside The Bread Co. to prove it.
He whimpered, he whined, he gurgled, he moaned.  The rest of us settled into our soup and sandwiches and tried to ignore him, but he just wouldn’t give it up.  I was stern, I cajoled, I threatened, I pointed my finger and hissed, I tried to clog my ears with little bits of bread, but my three year old was getting the best of me.  
Finally, I realized that we were sitting right by a huge window that looked out on the curb where April’s minivan was parked.  She was in fact parked right in front of the store and I had a perfect view of her van.  So I said, “Drew, if you don’t stop whining about your lunch right this very minute, I am going to put you in the van and you can whine all you want and no one will be able to hear you!”
Drew kept right on whining.
So I said it again – Right this second…stop whining… car… no one hears you… etc etc…
Drew looked me in the eye, decided I was bluffing, kicked it up a notch and threw himself on the floor in a rage.
I gotta tell ya, I was not exactly maintaining my composure at this point, but we were in a crowded restaurant and I did manage, with as much dignity as possible, to gather him up and carry him out, open up the van, wrangle him into his car seat, shut the door and walk right back into the restaurant.
When I walked back in, one table in particular was looking at me with huge melon eyes.  I realized that it might be shocking to watch a woman stick her vibrating toddler in a van and walk away, but we could clearly see the van from our table and we were just about done with our lunch anyway.  As I approached our table, April frantically motioned to me and in hushed tones she said… 
At the same time the melon eyed people walked up to the table and said…
And then together they all explained.
I had not put Drew in April’s van.
I had put my tantrum throwing child in the melon eyed people’s van!  
And there sat Drew, still crying, still flailing, still wailing…. in a complete stranger’s car.
I slunk back out to the van and got my son.
And I never used the old “taking the kid out to the car to teach him a lesson” mode of discipline again!
These days Drew picks all the restaurants.
Oh and Panera – or The Bread Co. is his very favorite place to go.  
I am not even kidding you.


  • Leilah:

    first! haha. I just like to say that.

  • Leilah:

    It’s my favorite, too! really

  • Clayvessel:

    HI-larious. Good parenting, just lousy vehicle recognition. Vision blurred by blood pressure building up in the ol’ eye balls.I have five boys and can totally relate!

  • Pamelotta:

    I totally did not see that coming. You should have seen my melon eyes when you got to the part about it not being April’s car!

  • Inna:

    That is hilarious! I have a very outspoken 2 year old, so I can relate.

  • Leslie:

    I really enjoyed that one! Wish I could use it now they are 17 and 20. :)

  • Darlene:

    BRAVO MAMA !!!! I have been in stores and resturants where i would have personally volunteered my vehicle to some parents if i thought they would have taken their kid out….!!!!! I love it when parents actually do something and dont just sit there telling their kids in sweet lil voice “hunny be good …sweetie be quiet …lovey mama said to be quiet!! …and so on ….” you know what i mean.

  • DesertHen:

    Oh dear, too funny…..not putting him in the right mini-van. Good for you though not sitting by and doing nothing. More parents need to take action and move…not just bluff. I have two children, one grown and one at home and sometimes I wonder to myself how they ever survived their early years…..=) They are good kids though, must be the parenting skills…….pat, pat, pat. Thanks for sharing that story. I truely do love your blog…=)

  • Romi:

    I would have told the melon eyed van people that I meant to do that! It would have been worth it just to see their reaction to that statement.

  • Patty:

    I live in Arnold. So you were probably visiting your sister not to far from us. I have an equally horible tale to tell you. My Jessica who is 32 now was also three at the time. Three must be the majic number. It was fall so she had just turned three and we were buying new clothes. Well when I said new clothes she must have thought she was going to try them on. I am just going through those cute little matchy garanimals and some lady tapped me on the arm. She said honey you may want to look at your daughter. I turned and there stood this child of mine strip naked. I can tell you honey everyone around me had huge smiles on there face. Boy was my face red.

  • pogonip:

    ROTFL–perfect story!

  • chocolatechic:

    Oh…that is just way to funny.I have this terrible habit of when shopping, leaving my cart pulled over to the side, and then wandering about, getting stuff, because who wants to be encumbered with a cart?And inevitably, I will come back to my cart, put my stuff in, and either walk away ~~with someone else’s cart~~ or my children will embarrassedly hiss….mom! that is NOT your cart.

  • Cynthia:

    Another example of Gold Medal Parenting.I am glad my blogger friends set the bar so high!!!!I can’t wait to tell my husband about this one!!!!!!!!!

  • Mama Hen:

    Too Funny!!!!

  • thescrapbookhouse:

    Oh that cracks me up! Thanks for the laugh!

  • Junebug:

    I didn’t see that coming either. I thought April was going to tell you that it was the Cheif of Police sitting there. :D

  • Jenni:

    Oh, that’s gooood! Love it! And I totally think this should be a new parenting technique. “Behave or I’ll stick you in some stranger’s van and they can deal with you!” LOL!

  • cherie:

    Now THAT’S funny!

  • Anonymous:


  • MUD:

    Sometime read the story, “The Ransom of Red Chief”. I always tell parents that have a misbehaving child to read that story. Thank god you realized your mistake while it was correctable. I am still laughing…MUD

  • Kristin:

    That is just toooo funny!! And just the kind of thing that would happen to me. ;0)I happen to love Panera’s. Wish we had one here. :0( I have to go to my parents’ 1000 miles away to enjoy their absolute yumminess. :0)

  • Heidi Ashworth:

    OHGOSH! that is hysterical! hoowee, lotsa laughing going on . . ..

  • Baba:

    ROFL! Very funny. Good follow through tho mom. Way to Go!

  • melissa:

    You just made my day!

  • Sharon:

    Oh my! I guess this is why you should lock your car so no one put a strange kid in there while you are having lunch. ;)

  • Rhea:

    No way! You didn’t!! That’s HILARIOUS. I’m so sorry. It totally ruined your kick ass momma moment. lol

  • Anonymous:

    That will teach the melon eyed people to leave their van unlocked again!

  • Accidental Housewife:

    Yeah, we all have those Parent of the Year moments.My momma parented like this. She one time put me and my siblings out of the car 10 miles from home and told us to walk. We did too.;)

  • Jeannie in OKC:

    THAT is a funny story! Oh, how our kids can embarrass us! But it could have been worse. You could have grabbed someone else’s kid throwing a tantrum, thinking it was still your son.Boy, I’m glad I survived those early years with kids!

  • bluemagpie:

    You crack me up! I could see myself doing that too. Your stories and fun pics always have me laughing. Thanks for the sharing your Panara story.Addi :)

  • Anonymous:

    I was laughing so hard that my husband wanted to know what I was reading! Ha, ha, ha!!!!!Jaki

  • Karen Deborah:

    that is too funny. I would have spanked his little hiney.

  • Renovation Therapy:

    OMG. Too funny!

  • I Am Boymom:

    Bwahhahahhahhahaha!!! Best child discipline story EVER!!!

  • Krissy:

    OH. MY! LOL … That’s HILARIOUS! This is my favorite line of the whole post “We often took all the kids out with us on these shopping and eating excursions because WE ARE IDIOTS” … Yep! That about sums up my entire life. LOL

  • Liza:

    I’m still laughing! The best mommy story ever!!!!

  • Mary:

    I found you through PW, but have yet to comment.This was the most hilarious thing I’ve read in forever. Thank You for a much needed laugh.

  • Anonymous:

    Oh, that was funny. But I wouldn’t try it these days. CPS would be called and you’d probably go to jail. Even if you didn’t put him in the wrong van. :)Margie

  • Lailani:

    I was catching up on my reading – this is great. Thank you for the hooohaw!

  • MidwestChickie:

    Cute story! I wondered over here from PW…and I think I like it!

  • Katherine:

    hahahahahaha….Glad I’m not the only one who loses my brain functions sometimes….one time I tried to unlock a car that was the same color but not make of my car and was starting to get very upset until I took a good look at the car…then of course I looked around to see if anyone saw me pulling one of my Kathy moments.

  • Olivia:

    Oh, this is one of the funniest stories I have ever read! I have family in St. Louis, too, but more to the point, I remember many years ago the things I did when my girls were small–and quite naughty. Like how I threw all their Old Maid cards into the fire when they wouldn’t play nicely–and tossed a toy from a car window once when they were arguing during a trip. The list is long. They are now very cultured and refined mothers themselves now– in their 30s with toddlers who are just as bad as they were, so there is such sweet revenge if you can wait for it. Great, great story!