In the ‘before days’ Mr TM and I used to love eating out. It was like our favourites thing, chuck in a bottle of Sauvignon and we were winning. It wasn’t all Michelin stars and double Rossette dinners but it did often involve actual sitting and eating a plateful of something I couldn’t make at home, at least not as well anyways. Nowadays eating out is boarding on a chore and always involves baked bloody beans, pasta and a fidgety toddler who just wants out of the damned high chair.
We are currently taking a month out in the Canaries, which inevitably involves lots of eating out and it has really hit home just how hard work it seems to have become. So much so Mr TM and myself stroll along the beachfront and the minute the little angel has fallen asleep in her pram we hot foot it over to the nearest restaurant pitch up in the sun and tuck into our lunch usually accompanied by a nice beverage of some (usually alcoholic) description. We pray she will stay asleep long enough to finish our food. And maybe even a second drink.
On those occasions she is not asleep at meal times, which is of course the majority of the time, we find ourselves battling through the following situations:
The I don’t want anything to eat and I definitely won’t sit still meal time.
You usually know when you’re in for this one because from the minute your bum touches the seat, it’s back up again. Little miss Z will not sit in that bloody high chair for love nor money. No amount of chip bribery, will coax her back within 2 foot of the table. She wants to be off exploring the new surroundings and not strapped to a sodding chair. The other day for example we went for a Chinese and in the entrance there was a fountain with lots of big bloody fish, so all baby 1 wanted to do was look at these fish and when she was finally fed up with the fish she wanted to climb up and down the steps at the entrance and greet everyone as they came in. Mr TM and I spent the best part of the meal supervising said fish watching and the meet and great whilst the other maned the table, baby 2 and shovelled some food down.
The I only like chips meal time…and maybe ice cream
We order Z a £5 baby meal of something she will always eat at home, probably pasta, out it comes, she starts to tuck in but someone else on the table has ordered chips! That’s it the pasta is now cast aside as dog food and she will only eat chips. We hear ‘ow ow ow’ and saw points furiously at the chips until she gets some. This is a real gripe of mine as I really hate her having chips for dinner, slightly hypocritical if we’re sat there with chips on our plates but I can’t help it, do as I say and all that.
The I’m going to redecorate the restaurant meal time
On the occasions baby 1 does sit and eat aforementioned pasta, which is usually in a
tomato sauce Miss Independant will only feed herself, with her hands. Her face, the high chair, the floor will doubtlessly have a new colour scheme by time she’s done and I spend my time furiously wet wiping after her leaving everything a slight tinge of orange.
The I want a bottle meal time.
Ok so this one isn’t about baby 1 but the generally more eating out friendly baby 2. He (for the time being anyway) is quite happy to sit in his pram, sleep or sit quietly on our lap as we eat, unless our timing has gone to pot. It’s not unheard of that my plate will be put in front of me and little master T starts screaming for his bottle. I then spend the next few minutes warming it up followed by Mr TM cutting my food up like a child and proceed to eat one handed as I feed the baby.
So I’m aware I make it sound like I have a toddler that rules the roost and not the other way around, which isn’t always completely untrue, but at home there are some rules. We sit to the table and eat our dinner together or if the babies eat first she will always sit to the table (or her baby sized table and chairs) to eat. But the dilemma I have when we’re out eating is that I am so aware that there are others dining that I am conscious not to ruin their dinner as well, further I try to keep baby 1 from going into full on meltdown mode and keep the peace as best I can – I’m sure the staff could without my bundle of joy deterring new patrons from frequenting their place of business. So what do you do? Do you pander and walk around the restaurant to keep her quiet, indulge in chip bribery, let her kick off in the restaurant or, God forbid, eat at home?
Do you ever struggle when eating out with the little ones? How do you get round it? Do you avoid eating out or are do you little darlings sit happily and eat with you? I’d love to know.
If you have a #whatwouldyoudo dilemma you would like to share or feature as a guest post I’d love to hear from you. Place feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
See we can all eat together…