Taking a toddler to a restaurant is really a crap-shoot. Sometimes he’s golden, others he wants nothing to do with it. Usually, if we can keep him entertained, we’re good. On the days he’s on point I feel like I should play the lottery. We usually choose venues that are: louder, don’t mind a mess and have chicken tenders. Yesterday, we met up with friends from work and some of their kids to surprise and celebrate one of our friend’s change from one school to another. She will be missed and we wanted her to know just how much she means to us. I prepared, which means I brought the iPad hoping it would keep the peace. Who knew, the iPad would be old hat five minutes in. 

It is the middle of summer, during the day, so I packed up the kids and met everyone at the restaurant. Luckily, it was one of those more chill places. Large tables, indoor-outdoor space and, bonus, we were situated perfectly to see the “tractors and airplanes.” You remember that Bubba loves things that go, right?
Well, we’ve found something else that Bubba loves. Punkybear.
Who is Punkybear? She’s a smart, talented and creative older lady, you know, the 3rd -grade-type who Bubba has fallen head-over-heels for. That poor girl.
As soon as we arrived and introduced them he was hooked. He followed her everywhere, he wanted to sit next to her, to know where she was, everything.
She handled it like a champ, I’m sure it was a bit of a shock. He’s like a pitbull with a treat when he finds someone he likes, apparently.
We made it through lunch without too many incidents. He sat next to Punkybear, he ate his chicken tenders just like Punkybear, and he followed the poor girl around like a shadow for over two hours.
Then, it was time for us to leave, you know, nap time and all that.
So we packed up our stuff: 2 kids? Check! Leftover tenders? Check! Awesome Friend, who rode with us to help? Check! Punkybear? Sorry bud, she has to go to her house.
That did it. I watched his little heart break into a million pieces. Oomph. 
“I want Punkybear! Punkybear come a Bubba house! No leave Punkybear. MY Punkybear” He wailed.
We had to explain that Punkybear had to go to her house but maybe someday we could visit her. Then Punkybear’s mommy asked if he would like to give her a hug. You want my snotty, drooly, sobbing toddler to hug your beautiful daughter? eek! So we asked Punkybear if it was okay, wiped the goo from Bubba and said “Okay, you can give her a hug.”
You’ve never seen toddler toes go so fast. He ran right into her and held on.
It. Was. Adorable.
He proceeded to talk about her the entire walk to the car.
Then the car ride home.
Then again when he got up from nap. Boy’s got it bad.
I regularly chat with Punkybear’s mom so I told her about his infatuation. She sent us a video.
She told Bubba she missed him and would see him soon, then blew him a kiss at the end. We’ve watched that video no less than 20 times.
Who knows how long this infatuation with Punkybear will last. Probably longer than his love affair with veggies but less than good old Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I hope he always feels like he can share his happiness and excitement with others for a long time to come.
Text or call someone who won’t mind if you give them a snotty hug today. They may need it.

Be Great,

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