Saturday, 5 December 2009

A quiet night out

We mistakenly went out for dinner to a quiet ethnic restaurant last night. It was all my doing. I just had to have Indian - nothing else would do. We weren't thinking. We left the house unprepared. We didn't do our research or carefully plan.

When we arrived, we noticed that we were only the third table in the entire place. I quickly flipped the menu over to find the kids menu. There wasn't one. Our server asked us if we needed a highchair or a booster. Shaune and I looked at each other worriedly and said neither.

You see, recently we packed away the highchair, tried a booster seat for a few weeks and finally gave up when Deaglan would only settle for a dining room chair. Every night it takes a lot of effort, chiding, threats and sometimes louder-than-we-ever-thought-we'd talk-to-our-child telling to get him to sit for even five minutes straight.

So there we were at this very quiet restaurant. The other two tables hosted each a young couple who I swear wore the pronouncement that they would never ever want children like red flags on their backs. I'm not making it up when I say that these people looked like they felt all children were a nuisance. And I'm positive that our presence only certified their feelings were true.

Because Deaglan did not miraculously morph into a cooperative quiet little person. He stayed his usual curious, grabby, I-don't-do-sitting-still self. And Shaune and I became nervous jittery wrecks as if we had brought a bomb into a building without the foggiest clue of how to diffuse it if it went off.

So after I confirmed that there indeed was no children's menu (you may recall some of my posts complaining that Deaglan only eats cheese and cheerios), I asked our server if she had some crayons and a piece of paper. I would have settled for borrowing her pen and unfolding a napkin at that point. Thankfully she had a blank place mat and plastic cup full of broken crayons.

I told Shaune to hurry up and decide on his meal so we could order as soon as the server came back with our drinks. No sense testing Deaglan's limits at a time like this. Unfortunately we didn't have to wait long for him to reach these limits.

I ordered him a plate of steamed basmati rice and some cheese-filled nan bread. I absent-mindedly gave him a spoon to eat the rice with. That's when the concert started. He first jumped off of his chair and began drumming on the chair. As I tried discreetly to grab him he escaped my reach and ran toward a brick wall and learned what a lovely scraping noise the spoon made against it. By this point white rice covered the floor beneath us. I began the chase while Shaune crouched to the floor to pick up the rice. Once I caught up to him, with teeth clenched, I grabbed his arm and suggested we go for a walk to the front of the restaurant to see the Christmas tree.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

His first instinct of course was to grab the garland and beads. I picked him up but this only caused wailing and crying to let him down. Out of breath and pregnant I calmed him and brought him back to the table. Our food had arrived. The server asked if we needed anything else. We'll try the highchair I suggested desperately.

This entire time I was too afraid to look over at the other tables. I didn't want to see their disapproving looks. I did notice however that there was not a single chuckle or awwww so cute directed our way.

We were able to eat a few bites and then just gave up and asked that our food be packaged for home. I always swore I would never be one of those parents who scolds and yells at her kids in public. And I didn't last night but I am seriously re-considering this foolish oath I made.


  1. I raised five kids and the high chair was my best friend. I trained those kids of mine to learn to sit in the high chair from the beginning of the meal, to the end of the meal. I had to, in order to keep my sanity relatively intact.

    I have five grandchildren now, one daughter-in-law lets her son roam around the house with his food and when they go out he is a terror with a capital T. A cute terror though. lol. My other daughter-in-law has two, she is strict about the high chair, but only goes to family friendly restaurants.

    As for family friendly restaurants and keeping the little suckers in the high chair, that only falls into the category of the best laid plans of mice and desperate parents. I remember my second youngest son throwing a fit in a Burger King. He threw a chocolate shake down off the tray of his high chair so hard it hit the floor with such force, the milk shake shot to the ceiling and then showered down on a group of teenagers sitting next to us. Oh man, was I mortified!

    Motherhood, gotta love it.

  2. Kim, I have way too many horror stories of trying to get through a meal at a restaurant. To be honest, I haven't gone to one in years. Jillian hates eating out because she doesn't seem to like ANYTHING. She won't have a fit, but she won't let me sit at the table. We actually roam the parking lot while the rest of the family chow down. I'm always amazed at the families who appear to never have a tough time with little ones at restaurants. Not my luck. Hope you're well, my friend!

  3. I have been there. So many times. My favorite was when my then one year old son put his hand in a bowl of salsa and then dumped it in my lap.

    It does get easier though!

  4. T Rex LOVES eating out. I need to have him talk to Deaglan.

    I have found, though, that I will often take our booster seat/high chair from home and pack his meal in a cooler. It's a lot of work and makes "impromptu" outings difficult but we can usually make it through a meal.

    And we order everything at once in the beginning and get our check then as well - just in case we have to make a speedy exit.

    There are also some restaurants that are more "kid-friendly" than others. This one did not sounds all that "kid-friendly". I also pack playdough in the food cooler - a little something to do while waiting for the food to arrive. That way he's not done eating when we start to eat.

    As far as other patrons - I never care what they think. If they have kids, they understand. If they don't have kids, then generally there won't be any sympathy coming from them.

    I am so sad you had to experience this. At least it makes for good blog fodder, right?

    I hope you are feeling well.

    Check out T Rex's blog - a couple postings ago I put up a photo of him wearing his sweatshirt. Thank you so much!!!

  5. I just think toddlers equal take-out. For your own sanity, if not for the other diners. Babies are easy, but ther was a period of time before the kids could be have in a fairly civilized way that we just didn't eat at "real" restaurants.

  6. Yeah, I have been there my dear. I honestly think, even though Noah is seven, we still pick really loud restaurants or try to sit near the kitchen to avoid such scenes. I hope the food was tasty. ;)


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