I’ve ventured out to restaurants a few times now with just myself and both kids, and although it’s gone fairly smoothly, they definitely haven’t been relaxing meals. It can be challenging to eat my own meal while keeping them both happy with food and drinks, as well as making sure they behave and stay relatively clean. Going out to eat in general has gotten easier now that Emme is eating food too since it’s pretty easy to keep her busy that way. Overall, I’d say we have pretty well-behaved restaurant kids, but eating out as new parents definitely took some getting used to.
I’ll always remember our first time eating out after becoming parents. I don’t remember how old Reece was, just that he was still a newborn and–in our fuzzy-brained, new parent haze–we would’ve never taken him to a restaurant on our own if my in laws hadn’t suggested it. We worried because he was a very fussy baby, but figured it was safer to go with others so we’d have more help. He fell asleep on the way and we fumbled with the car seat in the restaurant, trying to figure out where to put him while we ate. Fortunately, he slept the whole meal, but I was on edge wondering when he would wake up and need to eat, as newborns tend to do right when their mama sits down in front of a plate of food.
After that shaky, but successful experience, eating out gradually became easier, with a few bumps in the road. Around 14 months old, eating out with our little explorer became difficult enough that we thought we might have to stop for awhile. Fortunately, it was just a phase and, with the help of crayons, little cars and a magna doodle (best restaurant toy ever), Reece once again managed to sit nicely through a whole meal.
Enter kid two. No longer were we scared new parents, so going out to eat wasn’t a problem with both of us. I didn’t purposely avoiding eating out with both kids on my own, but it didn’t end up happening until Emme was about 7 months old. I hadn’t even planned well, so I had no food for her and had to hope she would be happy just watching us eat. It went better than expected and Emme cooperated most of the meal, but I did have to give her bits of our food to keep her happy. Food that I may or may not have put in my mouth first to remove some salt. Oh the things mamas do! 🙂
Since then, I’ve been out to eat a few times with just me and the two kiddos. I’m never quite sure how it will go, especially when one or the other is nearing nap time, and I usually just hope for the best. I now make sure to bring at least puffs for Emme to keep her entertained until the real food comes. She’s been eating solids for long enough now, that I don’t worry as much about salt on the restaurant food, although I do try to minimize it by bringing things from home. I’ve found a ripe pear to be an easy option for bringing along and she loves it. I’m always sitting a little on edge trying to keep the craziness in check and I breathe a sigh of relief when we’ve made it through the meal. I’ll report back when this mischievous little girl starts walking and isn’t so entertained with the novelty of eating real food anymore.