I have memories of when we had Miss K – she was about 9 months old, well around there. It was the crawling stage, not quite walking but definitely not sitting.
We woke up one Saturday morning with a twinkle in our eyes and the hubster suggested we go to our local coffee shop for a breakfast. Thinking it was a fabulous idea, I imagined us sitting at the table chatting and laughing while sipping elegantly on our Americano’s with not a drop of food on my top.
To make a short story long, we sat down, we ordered coffees and breakfast and then reality hit making us get out of the restaurant in record time. When I think back to that day it haunts me. This was the first and almost last experience of taking a baby to a restaurant. Oh the naivety in thinking life would just carry on where we left off.
Miss K managed to sit in the chair for a whole 5 minutes and then decided she needed to be set free to lick and explore chairs and especially the floor throughout the restaurant. It was that day that I perfected the art of inhaling a meal. (Not proud of this at all). Thank goodness it was still early in the morning so we managed to leave relatively unscathed, our table not so much.
My anxiety level was a healthy 8. Needless to say it was a very long time before the hubster wanted to be in public eating /relaxing with Miss K again.
The point I am getting tois that while I am only now able to slightly relax at restaurants, the hubster chooses Spur (yes for the kids area) as his go to place for a family outing. I, on the other hand do not just choose based on the play area available although this does pull a big draw card. I need a place with good coffee that has child friendly décor and a good vibe, so when my girls start their obligatory screaming “whispers” and eating soup-with-a-fork table manners I need to feel secure that my anxiety levels can remain a cautious 6.
A general rule of thumb is if there is a play area and/or a kids menu then a cheerful sorry to the patrons around me is all I need to calm down to a slow panic and not fuss too much that my kids are loudly and enthusiastically telling me for the millionth time they burped “oops sorry!”. It is always lovely to tip the childminder and waitron if they have gone over and above to making it a joyful experience (as experiences go).
When the hubster and I go to a restaurant without our monsters/snotflickers (insert you collective name for your children), we have a few unspoken rules to calm our excited selves. These are, especially if we cannot get away from the kid friendly eateries, to not sit near the kiddie area and to make sure we have a certain look of disdain at parents not being able to control their children.
For now, I shall happily stick to drive throughs… by myself.