Last night my husband and I took the girls out for a family outing. We had an errand to run, and then we decided to have family dinner out. In public. Now, given that Goo hasn’t exactly perfected her out-in-public behavior, we always choose exceptionally family-friendly restaurants. Picture a pizza place that is decorated in matchbox cars. That’s our favorite dining out location. Goo actually did quite well until the end. She began having a fit because we wouldn’t let her freely wander the restaurant. I took her out to the car for a makeshift time-out, and all was well with the world. Daddy decided to surprise us all with dessert at a lovely little Italian bakery afterwards. Punkin plopped down on the floor in the middle of the bakery. In a skirt. Goo saw this as the perfect opportunity to tackle her. The chaos that ensued inspired me to give all parents of young
terrorists children some tips on dining out. If you are going to take your little pack of wolves to a restaurant, keep these tips in mind:
- Your child will probably act up. Go in armed and ready. If you head off to the local eatery fantasizing about your little girl in a pinafore, with perfect little ringlets, sitting with her hands folded, you may be sorely disappointed.
- People will judge you. Mostly people without children, or couples with a child under 12 months, who look on with disdain and think, “Ugh, my child will never act like that.” Take heart in the fact that you may have once thought that way, too. And that in about 6 months, they’ll be knocked off their high horse.
- Review restaurant rules before you enter the restaurant. If you tell them that they are expected to stay in their seats, color, and not scream like banshees, it won’t be so shocking when you have to corral your crew back into the booth.
- For the love of God, your sanity, and the people who have already raised their children, don’t go to a fancy restaurant. Save that for date night. Unless you and your significant other also have a hard time behaving in public. Then just avoid them altogether.
- Duct tape is so very handy in a variety of situations. Just saying… What? Like you’ve never thought of it?
- This too shall pass. It gets better, and it gets easier. At least that’s what they tell me.
- Go to a restaurant that brings something edible out as soon as you’re seated. Rolls, tortilla chips and salsa, benadryl. Anything that will feed the hungry tummies and hopefully dissuade them from acting like they were raised by a pack of wolves.
- Practice good manners at home. That’s what we did. The night after the wolves pounced in the restaurant, we reviewed manners at the dinner table, where my husband proceeded to belch actual words while we ate. Which brings me to my next point.
- Set a good example. ‘Nough said.
Follow these helpful tips and you, too, can have the ideal family dining experience. Have I mentioned the benefits to ordering take-out?