Dining out with kids

My husband and I love eating out.  Having kids did not change that.  The first night out of the hospital with Patrick we were at our favorite local sushi restaurant.  I wasn’t sure how I would hold up – hello – I just pushed a baby out of me and my nether regions were slightly sore to say the least.  Stitches, squirt bottle…you know how it is, Mommies.  My husband assured me that if we needed to bail, I could hop in the car and he’d get dinner boxed up with our newborn and we could head home.  The contingency plan gave me the confidence to relax and enjoy a meal out.  We did the same thing when Alice was born, but this time we upped the ante and went to a steakhouse.  I checked myself out of the hospital early (Mama wants a nice hot meal!!) and we were all 4 eating dinner together as a little family when Alice was just about a day old.

Eating out with a newborn

I’ve had several friends approach me and ask how I would ever dare enter a restaurant with such a tiny bundle of joy but to be honest; it’s the easiest time to take little ones out.  Right around dinner time when they wake up you change em, feed up, and get your butt to your favorite place to nosh!  As a new Mother you will looove feeling normal again.  You can always let your server know that you may have to jump ship at any moment and to have the check ready on the early side.  It’s amazing how great they “act” at this age, too.  Once you feed them when they’re this young, they’ll probably just go back to sleep!  Keep ’em in a car seat with a blanket over so it’s nice and dark and enjoy your time off!!

These are my favorite blankets for draping since they’re incredibly breathable and are long enough to drape over the whole car seat.

Eating out with toddlers

Toddlers are a trickier bunch.  They want to eat right away, sit on your lap, eat whatever you’re eating even if it’s something they’d swore they’d never place in their mouth again.  I find that distractions along with ordering their food right away will increase your success in an adventure in dining with little ones.

I attached velcro pieces on colored popsicle sticks and have a great toy to make letters or shapes as we wait for our food to be prepared.  Patrick is all about making a few letters together as he’s figuring out how to spell and I’m amazed at how long he’ll play with this – even when his food arrives!

And look – Mama is hands free to enjoy her dinner and drink!!  Coloring kits to the rescue!!

I’ve got my Mommy Manners hat on here.  This is my two cents whenever dining out, ESPECIALLY when you’re at your favorite local watering hole.  Picking up after yourselves is not that hard to do.  Cleaning up crumbs that your kids have spilled will get you great service in the future and it’s known to get us an extra dessert in the past.  Not that we need it, but quick swipe with a wet wipe on the table from your crumb tornadoes is something that I think everyone should do.  It’s also just good manners to show your children to appreciate their food and their server.  Serious pet peeve of mine and I’m stepping off my soapbox now.  😉

Kids won’t always be perfect, either.  You have to remember that they’re not the best at expressing when they’re tired or overstimulated.  The only way I could get through dim sum the other day was to have Alice “help” me eat my food.  She saw me spoon oyster sauce on my bok choy and thought that I should do that for every bite of food I ate.

Not every excursion will be perfect, but they can be manageable.  Cheers!