Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Not for public consumption

We never go out for dinner with the kids.

Well, maybe “never” is too strong a word. We RARELY go out for dinner with the kids – as in once every 3 or 4 months.

I find it such a hassle and more often than not a disaster and it takes more planning than I care for. Also, I am of the opinion that the only places really suitable for dining out with young kids are “family dining” restaurants and I’m not all that crazy about family dining.

So, in the last 6-9 months I think we have dined out with the kids 3 times:

  • In December, after our family “photo with Santa” we dined at an Albert’s Family Restaurant, and it was a relatively successful and uneventful outing. Boring, even. Boring is good when dining out with kids.
  • In January (?) we went out to the Indian place near our house that has a great buffet. Buffet is key, I think (although, normally buffets gross me out, this one is very good), to a successful dinner with kids because there is no waiting around for your food to arrive, which is usually the killer with a bored three year old. Also key to successfully dining out with kids is having extra, interested and attentive adults with you who do not have kids of their own. This outing was successful because Auntie and Uncle pretty much took over the care and feeding of D. Jr., leaving us to focus on L.E. If I recall, though, I still think L.E. still managed to spill water everywhere.
  • And then, a few nights ago we went to a Denny’s with the kids. And it was the Worst. Episode. Ever.

Now, there was some logic for this outing. I did not want to cook. I don’t much like cooking at the best of times, I had just finished a THREE HOUR YOGA CLASS, I was a bit beat and thought, “Hey, let’s go out.” Also, in two short weeks we are “going on an airplane” for a little mini-vacation where I’m sure we will be dining out lots. It seemed like a good idea to retest the restaurant waters with a much more mobile and demanding baby and a sometimes surly three year old. And, the kids were a bit on edge after a long day, and Daniel wanted “pancakes.” The solution to all of this seemed to be, “Denny’s!”

Things *might* have turned out OK, except that our waitress lost our order. Yup. That was the beginning of the end, I think. So instead of waiting the normal 15 or so minutes for food, we had to wait more than 30 minutes. D. Jr. was a colossal pain in the butt during this time! And then when our glorious food finally came, we were so focused on distributing food and eating and getting on with the show that we simply did not notice that our waitress had placed an OPEN (no lid!!) jar of maple syrup within L.E.’s reach . . . and you see, by the time we did notice this, our dear daughter had poured the contents of said syrup jar ALL OVER HERSELF! She was covered with syrup . . . and happily eating away at her sleeves and whatever else was covered in syrup. The Denny’s high chair was covered in syrup, her cute little running shoes, her clothes, the carpet - everything was covered with syrup. When we took the jar away from her, she burst into tears screaming and upset that we were clearly the meanest parents ever. We were a spectacle and unpleasant distraction and an annoyance to all those around us. Sigh. I really hate when that happens.

It took us half a pack of baby wipes to get things cleaned up enough so that we could even contemplate picking her up and changing her. I held her, right there in the middle of Denny’s, while D. Sr. stripped her down to her diaper, wiped her down with baby wipes and put a new outfit on her. The stickified carpet and highchair we left for the waitress to deal with.
We then finished our meals in about 2 minutes and bid a hasty retreat.

A few things went through my mind as all this was transpiring:

  • $%$#^%$&%$! &*%$#%!!! $#%^%!

  • After months of trying to at least somewhat restrict “sugar” from my baby’s diet, she just ate a bunch of “fake” maple syrup. Whee.

  • Is it us? Do other parents do this better? WTF? This shouldn’t be so hard, right?

  • This is blog-worthy.

  • Mortification. Embarrassment. Poor, poor waitress who has to deal with our disgusting, sticky, treacly aftermath.
I sent Ds Sr. and Jr. to pay for our meal while I “tidied up” and gathered our things. Once we were all in the van, I said something to the effect of, “I hope you tipped well.”

And my hubby replied, “Nope. Our order got lost and she put syrup near the baby. I left her 3 bucks.”

More mortification, more embarrassment, but now mixed with a bit of “YEAH!! You go, hon! It was her fault.” Ok, it wasn’t her fault, but it made me feel better somehow.

Still, we can never eat at that Denny’s again.

And, speaking of public and not so public consumption and, um, dining out with babies, you should go read this. It is very thought-provoking . . . especially the shit-storm of comments. Not surprising, I suppose, that everyone has an opinion on this one.

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At 11:30 AM , Blogger Laura said...

I remember nothing from this post other than the fact that you did yoga for THREE HOURS.


At 11:56 AM , Blogger Momily said...

it was actually a really good class, but 3 hours is a bit much. plus i had my gimpy knee issues . . . but i was still able to do most of the class which i was pretty happy about!

At 8:12 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not just you - dining out with kids at dinnertime past the age of 8 or 9 months is next to impossible. We just do lunch now - it's quicker and a better time of day for junior miss. You have my sympathies with the maple syrup - although I'm sure LE had the time of her life!


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