Eating out with a one year old is great . . . provided you don’t actually want to eat. Or relax in any way.
So if you are actually adventurous enough to go out to eat with your child, you can probably relate to the following post! If you are one of those sensible people who get a babysitter and eat out alone without your children, then you can read this smugly, knowing this does not apply to you! And if you have not yet taken your one year old out for a meal then after reading this you may decide it’s easier to just stay at home with a takeaway and Netflix!
So the first stage of this “event” is getting a table. If you have been as bold as to take a buggy with you to the restaurant prepare to be looked at by staff with disdain at this social faux pas. This ‘social faux pas’ which you most probably spent about 6 months choosing and spent a month’s wages paying for, but yeah don’t worry just shove it in a corner somewhere the staff tell you to thats fine. Then you will have to wait while the staff hum and hey over “where to put you” so you don’t block the entire restaurant with a highchair which they have provided and probably contains food from the last mini diner, which your child will definitely try and eat!
You and your partner will then race to clear all items on the table to the furthest point from your child so they cant grab them! Etiquette of where each piece of cutlery, your glass etc should be positioned go out the window as you construct a Jenga pile of cutlery, napkins, menus and other tableware. Your one year old will probably be pretty peeved (AKA bloody furious) that you have taken away the knife they were looking forward to putting in their mouth and the fork they wanted to drop repeatedly on the floor 12 times. They will communicate this to you by arching their back, throwing their head back and letting out a noise which can only be described as a constipated cat taking a shit.
Then you will spend the next 10 minutes frantically pulling things out of your baby change bag, like a manic Mary Poppins on crack, in an attempt to keep your little cherub amused. At which point the server will come and ask if you’re ready to order. Given the fact that you haven’t even had a chance to look at the menu, the normal reply would be “can you give us another minute please?” but since this will only lengthen the time till your tiny dictator gets their food, which you hope will keep them amused for a short while, you just choose anything off the menu and a large wine!! The wine will help the rest of this event, trust me!!
While you are trying to order for yourself and your mini person, u can expect them to try and touch your server, ALOT. This is awkward for everyone except your mini person who doesn’t give a shit about the awkwardness they are creating, they just want to touch the server god dammit! The server will say “its ok” even though its not and you will try and get them to stop, but if you try too much then its also awkward, like you think your baby is going to catch some disease off the server or something. You don’t want them to think YOU mind your child touching them! So its just a big awkward pretence of you pretending you don’t mind and them pretending they don’t mind when EVERYONE minds except your one year old who is now dangerously close to touching their crotch area! For the love of god why are you touching people??!!!!
So everyones food arrives and your child naturally doesn’t want anything you’ve ordered for them but views everyone else’s food as an, ‘all you can eat buffet’!! You spend all your time cutting yours and your partner’s food into, tiny person, bitesize pieces while your meal of chicken nuggets and beans (ordered for said child) go cold.
You’ve hardly eaten a thing but managed to drink your large wine, which has gone to your head quicker than you really intended but is pleasantly blurring out the anxiety of this whole eating out situation!
Dessert is out the question as the boss has had enough of sitting in their highchair and anyway the diners next to you (sans kids) are making it very clear you’ve outstayed your welcome!
You attempt to leave your table without slipping on the array of chewed up and spat out food on the floor surrounding the highchair. Apologising to the staff for the mess. You don’t feel quite as embarrassed as you would have if it weren’t for the wine, bonus!!
Then you leave. Your wallet considerably lighter, your stomach not much fuller. Feeling notably less enthusiastic than when you left for dinner.
You go home and have some toast.
Maybe a takeaway and Netflix next time!
Thanks for reading!