Eating Out With a Toddler…Why do we Bother??!

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Meals Out and Toddlers = Not a Good Mix!

The question I pose here is the following: Why do I continually think it is a good idea to eat out with our two year old? Every time we have a horrific meal out, I swear to mr d that we will never, ever, EVER do it again. It just isn’t worth it and a waste of money. Yet something in my brain forgets said incident and a few weeks later I think it’s a good idea to eat out again. He’ll be ok. We’ll take toys, we’ll take the iPad. Being a parent is tough!

Normal life with a toddler!?

In answer to my question, I bother because I like to cling to a slither of hope that we can maintain some sort of normal lifestyle with a toddler! A bit like working!

Mr d and I used to eat out a lot pre-b. Didn’t everyone before they had a child?! At least once a week. So when b came along, we vowed not to be parents that hide away at home, fearful to go out – haha!

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To be fair to b, he is sometimes great. And I guess that is also why I still bother. I try and focus on the times we went out and he sat well, he ate well and he had good table manners. Last night was not one of those moments.

We rocked up to our favourite family pub around half 4. Early enough for it to not be too busy. They split the pub up well in terms of if you arrive with a kid, you get seated in one section and if you arrive without a kid, you get seated in the adult section. It isn’t specifically an adult section, but whenever we’ve been without b, we always sit in that bit and enjoy a nice kid-free evening.

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Seated in the child section

Anyways, so yesterday, thank goodness, we were seated in the child section. It was all going well. I got b a grown up glass of water and a straw and we ordered our food. We did the obligatory colouring and there is a little play section (think small, with mirrors and those beady things you get at the doctors). B was having a little look over there when it was clear he needed a poo – yes we are still at the beginning of potty training but I refuse to stay in all the time. Mr d took b to the loo and it required a whole pants change. Oh well, no drama. All sorted. Although I wanted the floor to open when b went back to the play area and announced really loudly to a mum and her younger little girl, “I did a poo poo in my pants!”. Lovely. Poo Patrol is out in full force!

And so it goes downhill…

So our food arrived and this is where it started to go downhill. B decided he wasn’t hungry at all. Instead he thought it would be hilarious to do the following, all within quick succession: Blow bubbles in his drink. Stick his fork in his drink. Eat ketchup and mayo from the little square packets. Squidge his fork in to his veggies. Flick them across the table…and the list goes on.

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time to leave the chair area

After failing to distract him with iPad/phone/toys and after refusing to listen to mummy and daddy, mr d carried a screaming toddler outside to have a little chat. Now I am a super slow eater and I really, really tried to speed up at this point. Aware that we may leave at any moment haha. Mr d brought b back in and he’d calmed down. We always find removing him from the situation and talking to him, away from the attention of others, kind of resets him.

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At this point the pub had gotten quite busy with lots of other families and kids. B seemed ok for a few minutes until he spotted a boy in the play bit with a Thomas toy.

Thomas Gate

B wanted this toy and he wasn’t up for negotiation. Several minutes of trying to tell him that no, it wasn’t his toy and no, he couldn’t have it, resulted in him standing there and literally letting rip with the loudest, ear piercing scream I’ve ever heard. It was beyond embarrassing and pretty much everyone turned to us with their faces scrunched up in disgust. Of course their kids never act up in public right 😉 So that was it, meal over and mr d carried b off to the car while mummy finished her sandwich on her own. And it was bliss, five minutes of peace and quiet!

We are never eating out again

So there, don’t let my experience put you off. But that is IT – we are never eating out, ever again…until I forget about this incident!

Have you had a nightmare time eating out with your little one? Lot’s of things are very different once you have kids…sleep = non existent, travel = from Havana to Haven and work = well that’s where I get my “me” time 😉

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  1. I can still only manage McDonald\’s and my eldest is 7. I\’ve wasted so much time and money trying to bring them anywhere else so I\’ve given up for now. Too stressful ☺

  2. When our girls were small, we would give them dinner at home at the usual time, then just order a snack or dessert to be served at the same time as our meal. Tired, hungry kids are never fun, but kids eating icecream are pretty happy.

  3. It does get easier, honestly! We go out and actually enjoy our meals, (most of the time!), now. I guess it\’s a little like labour, so many people swear blind they will never have another child and then they mysteriously forget it all until they\’re back in the delivery room swearing! 😉 #bigpinklink

  4. Oh lovely that sounds awful, I would feel completely aware of everyone else looking at me, but it must have been lovely to have your dinner in peace. You\’ve given me a vision of the future with this blog post (ha ha!) Claire x #bigpinklink

  5. I hear you!! This was us on Sunday morning. \”Let\’s go to Frankie & Bennies for breakfast\” we said. \”The kids like it there, it\’ll be fun to have breakfast out\” we said. Cue the little man screeching like a banshee from the second we sat down. He would not bend to go in his high chair. He would not eat his breakfast. He did not want a drink. He DID want to stick his fingers in ketchup and wipe them all over the table (and me). He wanted THAT BALLOOOON! In a fit of desperation he got said balloon. He repeatedly hit his now traumatised parents over the head with the balloon whilst continuing to screen and rigidly object to his high chair. We went with your technique and removed him from the restaurant. We each took it in turns to wolf down our (now cold) breakfast while the other one wrestled with the screaming boy and peered through the window longingly. Never again!! Sorry you had a dining disaster but I\’m kind of glad it\’s not just us!
    #DreamTeam xx

  6. I always equate toddler antics to childbirth. It\’s not long after giving birth that you forget all the pain and discomfort you have gone through as you fall madly in love with your little bundle of joy. When toddlers are cute they are absolutely adorable and thereby lulling us into a false sense of security. When the tots play up in public it can be truly mortifying but, if it\’s any comfort, they\’re not tots forever:-) x #DreamTeam

  7. It\’s a hard one. It\’s difficult dealing with acting up in public but if you don\’t eat out 1) Cabin Fever! and 2) they don\’t get to practice eating in public.

    We tend to go places that understand that when toddlers are part of the dinner group they get fed first with food that is not hotter than lava. Taking it turns can help too! In the early days we ordered one meal so one of us could eat while the other looked after cub and once done order the next meal and swap!

    #Dream Team

  8. Haaa! I read the title and replied \’I know, Whyyy!!??\’ It\’s fair to say I can understand where you\’re coming from. It always feels a bit like Russian roulette. – we just can\’t tell whether it will be a sociable, civilised affair or a whirlpool of stress. Still we keep doing it. I didn\’t realise some people didn\’t go out while potty training…I might employ that tactic! Thank you for sharing on #FamilyFun

  9. I wrote a post similar to this following a months Ho,I day and inevitably copious amounts of eating out, with a toddler and a baby. Stress-ful. At first we started downgrading where we ate, nice restaurants a no go! You are so not alone, but the other day I ate at the swish Marco Pierre Whites and there was a family eating with id say a 4/5 year old and a 6 year old, so THERE IS HOPE! I Cling to that xx #familyfun

  10. This definitely rings true to me as we have a 2 year old boy who isnt a fan of going out. I would say about half the times we go out it ends about like this. I think your right about why we forget. I think sometimes I just dont want to have to cook and clean up. Better luck next time!#abrandnewday #triballove #bigpinklink

  11. For most of the two\’s , my wife refused to take ours anywhere in public. This sounds terrible, but I found sports bars to be the best place to take her if I wanted to stop for lunch somewhere. Lots of loud TVs everywhere to distract her as I ate. The few times we went to a real diner I made sure I knew what I wanted to order a head of time to speed things up. Biggest problem was when music was playing and she decided to dance #familyfun

  12. We too struggle to want to eat out with our little monkey. Sometimes she\’s an angel but we are always waiting for her to decide something is wrong and tantrum or get bored. I\’ve just linked up a blog about the best dining experience we\’ve had as a family at a pop up kinder café. I think they should be compulsory in every town! #familyfun

  13. we\’re still managing to take our 11 month old for meals out. I can handle it if the high chairs are good. Well done for getting in and out without the management forcing you out! Only joking, I think we always see out own kids as the worst kids in the room sometimes, I bet there has been worse there! Thanks for sharing with #abrandnewday

  14. 🙂 Someone told me it would get better, but Little Button is 3 and we still have this. No matter how tempting the food, the entertainment, whether its empty or full, there is always a scene to be had. In the beginning I used to say… never again. But my new tactic is that we are going to keep trying. Great idea about bringing the iPad, I am going to test this out with our next eating out venture. #DreamTeam

  15. Oh dear! Haha, the good news is it can\’t really get more difficult. I guess you can only really keep trying and hope for the best. And it\’s horrible getting the stink eye from other parents when your child is acting up, because theirs are obviously all angels. I hope you get to eat out with a happy toddler soon. (: x

  16. oh gosh Adam did a poo in his pants once when we were out and it was everywhere!! Nightmare! Sometimes it is hard enough having kids behave at our home dinner table let alone taking them out in public lol. Awesome post #stayclassy

  17. Ha ha ha! I still feel this way about eating out with my girls – they\’re 5 and 7 so we\’re getting a bit better with what they\’ll eat and how well they sit at the table. We still have full glasses of water spilled everywhere and fights over \”I want what she\’s eating!\” and some nights I just can\’t stand it. We also found when my eldest was younger that the take-her-outside-to-reset technique worked (most of the time.) I enjoyed your post – well written!

  18. Oh no it was all going so well! This does scare me a bit for later on when my son is a toddler, but it seems like you handled it well anyway. I should probably take advantage of the fact that he sleeps in the pram when we go out. It\’s good that you know removing him from the situation and talking to him is kind of like a reset button. : ) Although you had to leave, I think you handled it well. Screw all those judgy parents, as if that has never happened to them?! Thanks for sharing with #StayClassy!

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