This is my first post of 2015, so a big loud HAPPYYYYY NEW YEARRRRR! I pray that thus far, it has been a great start and is filled with promise! For those of you who have made goals, remember to make a plan of action to accompany that goal and make it happen! I also personally know that this new year has brought immense heart ache, tragedy, and strife to many families. And for those of you hurting, I pray that in your midnight hour of pain, that you seek the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In ALL your ways, even in the hard ones, acknowledge HIM, and he WILL direct your path. Hugs and kisses, and prayers of comfort and peace that surpasses all understanding! In Jesus Name, amen! Special acknowledgement to my extended Chicago framily (friends who have become family), I love you!
For those of you reading with children, you know how it is going out to eat at a restaurant with young ones. As a reminder to any new readers, my boys are 6, 3.5, and 17 months. Recent photo below!
My husband decided one evening that he would like to go out to eat, and Red Lobster happens to be close to us, and to our oldest son Jabin, the mention of Red Lobster is like seeing a heavenly cloud of cheddar bay biscuits pop up over his head. So if no one else was excited, I knew our restaurant choice would elicit a snaggle-tooth grin out of him! So off we went, and to say the least, it was a very colorful dining experience as usual.
Over the years, we have learned the DO’S & DON’TS of dining out with the kids that have worked for us! So I would like to share them with you and get your feedback as well, we’re all in this together:)
DO’s & DON’Ts!
- Dine with your kids at a time they would normally eat. If they are not hungry or overly hungry, get ready to be met by all kinds of side eyes and tight lips from other patrons when your kids are banging their forks and knives on the table, chanting “EAT! EAT! EAT!” *this may or may not be a true story*
- Take toys, rattles, iPads and phones for your little ones. That, or be prepared for your husband to hand your baby a crayon to take bites out of…which may or may not elicit a blank “oh no you didn’t ” stare from you.
- If you have a baby that still takes pacifiers or other toys that end up in the mouth, ask for a cup of hot water for a quick and easy way to sterilize for the 36 times your baby throws whatever it is on the floor. FUN!
- Use whatever you got at that table as a distraction! Especially for a teething baby or toddler, we’ve learned that sliced cucumbers or restaurant ice chips are THE BEST! Put one on a spoon and shove that ice in that baby’s mouth as fast as you can without them choking…and its ice, if it got lodged in their throat it’ll melt. *this is an instant where I’m kidding but not kidding? #durp* But If a piece is too big, then bite it. Just do it. lol Provides atleast 20 minutes of quiet time. #winning
- If you have children around the same age, get them the same meal or split different meals between them. Ain’t nobody got time for “I wanted that TOOOOOO!” screeches.
- Be prepared to take a walk with a walking toddler who may get restless. Mental preparation for impending inconvenience is half the battle!
- Make the meal enjoyable and fun, but get out of there as fast as possible! This is not the place to let your kids scream, cry, yell, and bang their heads on the table while you sit on the phone or ignore them and talk to your spouse/date/or whoever. Don’t be that parent. Okay? K. *now I’m laughing*
- Consider looking around the table after you all are finished and pick up some of the debris from the tornado that just touched down. Like, how do forks, knives, spoons, crayons, napkins, & french fries constantly end up under the table?! The server and busboy would appreciate it if you have an extra few minutes
- Try and give that waiter who done dealt with your
badrambunctious kids for an hour their 15% or more tip!
- Make sure you have your fill of patience and handle any melt downs or mishaps with dignity and love. Please don’t be up in there yellin at your kids like you done lost yo’ mind! *this brought out the ebonics*
- Pay attention to your kids, because you never know when one of them may get a funny look on their face, think they have a piece of shrimp caught in their throat, and comes to you for help. They just might throw up all their dinner in your hand and on the floor by your feet, and you will have to not be concerned with the looks of disgust from the jerks at the nearby table, but pat your son’s back and make sure he is ok. This isn’t the time to smack your lips and sigh with embarrassment at the mess that was made. Instead, clean him up best you can, cover up the puke with napkins, and alert the waiter that your son just vomited on the floor. And THEN, watch the relief and sparkle of gratitude jump into your waiter’s eyes when you insist on cleaning it up, and they happily volunteer to get you a trash bag, napkins, and gloves. And then, your son that just puked may grab your phone and take a photo of you while you are scrubbing up said puke. In case you haven’t gathered, this happened to me in real life. Last week.
So, what do you think of this list?! What did I miss? Leave your do’s and don’ts and own funny stories of your experiences with the kiddies, can’t wait to read them and looking forward to seeing other strategies to add to my own Dining Out Survival Guide!