Monday, July 23, 2012

going out to dinner with a toddler.

Although it was one of our new year's resolutions to not go out to eat as much, I'm afraid to say... we failed on that one.  Steve & I love going out & eating way better food than I could have dreamed of cooking!  For the first nine months or so of Aubrey's life, going to dinner with her was a breeze.  Made sure we had a bottle, handful of toys, & we were good to go.  No need for a babysitter here! When she turned one-ish, it all went downhill.  Going out with her is more of a chore than a luxury.  It goes a little something like this:

^ This picture was from four months ago.  We don't have time for silly things like pictures while going out to dinner anymore!

  • Walk in, pray there's no wait, tell the hostess, "2 with a high chair, please" or as Steve likes to say, "2 & a half".  

  • Sit down, hand Aubrey her kid's menu & crayons.  Aubrey colors on it for a minute or so, then decides she'd rather color the table.  We encourage her to color on her menu.  She throws the crayons.  She then points to the crayons & wants them back.  We don't give them back because we know exactly what she'll do...

  • Waiter comes, we order our usual drinks: waters with lemon.  I hand Aubrey her sippy so she doesn't get jealous when we get our drinks.  Waiter brings our drinks.  Aubrey immediately starts yelling, "Ice! Ice!" & demands we give her a piece.  If our glass is close enough, she will stick her hand right in & get it herself.  (Note to all waiters of the world: NEVER put a glass in front of a baby, ever!  Or food. I learned this the first day I was a waitress.) When we encourage her to drink from her sippy, she throws it on the ground.

  • We order food very quickly, & start entertaining the princess.  Goldfish crackers, raisins, fruit pouches, books, peek-a-boo, a break from the high chair, etc.  About 5-7 minutes of ok time.  Husband & I try to converse at this time so it's somewhat of a date.

  • Aubrey decides to practice her joyful scream.  It's like she has a contest with herself with how loud she can scream.  We try to distract her from doing this, shushing her, but this only causes her to try to break her personal screech record even more.  Other moms give us empathetic smiles, some people laugh, some stare.  People of the world with no kids!  Please give us a break on this one.  You will be here too one day when (and if) you have kids, & you'll hope people are patient & don't give the side-eye.  And I promise I'll be one of the moms giving an empathetic smile.  

  • Aubrey now has concluded she is sick of every snack we have brought.  Goldfish crackers are tossed.  Raisins are in our water glasses.  We try to discipline her without causing a major scene.  We are glancing at our watches after picking up snacks from floor..

  • The food has arrived!  Aubrey claps.  We immediately start cutting up whatever we ordered so she can start chowing down.  The food is too hot.  We tell her this & she gets upset.  WHY aren't we giving her food already?!  We blow on it, & let her blow on it too.  (Daddy taught her this one recently, whenever we say anything is "careful, hot!" she blows (spits) on it. Pretty cute.)

  • We eat our food fast since she usually finishes before us.  She still beats us to the finish & grows impatient.  Leftover food is thrown to the floor.  We stare down the waiter to bring us our check.

  • We already have our card or cash ready, & hand it right back to the waiter when they bring us the check.  We get all our things together, pick up some chunks of food from the floor, torture wipe Aubrey's face off, & hit the road!

Okay, so it's not always this bad, but she surely was challenging on tonight's date.  I think we are slowly beginning to accept the fact that Aubrey is in a stage where going out to dinner is now a get-a-babysitter-first type occasion.  Which means we will probably not go out as often since we aren't fans of leaving her much.  Which means in a small way, Aubrey is very much helping us with keeping our new year's resolution of not going out to eat as much!

If you are reading this & have a toddler that is an angel at dinner, & does none of the above things listed, then please leave a comment RIGHT THIS INSTANT with your magic tricks.  And if there are no magic tricks & your toddler is just the bee's knees, please don't tell me about it! In fact, nod your head & pretend you have an extremely strong willed, super-active child too to make me feel a little better.  Thanks!  Bon appetit.


  1. My son is soon to be 2, and when we go out to dinner I bring my nook. I downloaded 5 educational apps and one coloring app. It keeps him busy until our food comes. Pinterest has ideas. It gets better. :)

  2. This is exactly how my 14 month old daughter is. I have no suggestions, just an empathetic smile :)

  3. Fisher Price has a new "toy" where you can actually put your iPhone inside so it won't get harmed or scratched in any way. There are 3 free apps you can download that are super kid-friendly (my son just turned 1 and he was very entertained for about 25 minutes) that can be played by touching the screen and turning the toy. I think it was only about $20! We recently used it on a car trip because he gets super sick of being in the carseat and it was amazing! I am sure it would work well in a restaurant too!

  4. We order water in a kids cup with a straw and michael thinks its so great that he gets a drink like us. And that is all my advice haha just know we're all with you on this lol

  5. I don't have any suggestions either. I just wanted to say that you described our dining out experiences to a T! You're not alone :)

  6. I laughed at this post bc we are now entering this phase! The hand in the cup and the screaming contest are Olivias new faves! lol We do the snacks and bring toys but those are "SO boring!"

    I agree some servers are SO dumb!! A couple weeks ago we went out and the server says to us..."careful this plate is hot" and set it DIRECTLY in front of Olivia...Luckily we were quick enough to move it but those squirmy little hands were SO close to grabbing it!

    I have no secret either. We just try to take her to restaurants that are loud enough where she can scream and we aren't embarrassed or we drive around until she falls asleep and then we bring her into the restaurant in her carseat...yes we are THOSE parents! lol

  7. The "kids cup" mentioned above is what we do too! We have a 15 month old and she thinks the cup of milk or water is the greatest ever!

  8. haha i was cracking up reading this because ITS SO TRUE!!

  9. Sounds like a typical dinner with our 17 month old (minus the ice). I sure hope they grow out of it! lol

  10. Oh honey, you are NOT alone!! My nephew Ethan was such an angel at dinners and outings in sit-down places.. the DAY (literally) he turned 3... he turned into a totally different child! He's still as fun and cute as ever, but yes yes yes.. it's not at all like it used to be. He plays with my iphone like he always has, but now it only keeps him occupied for about 5 minutes before yelling for something else to keep him busy.. Oh vay.