If you have children and you like to eat, chances are you might find yourself out at a public eating establishment, otherwise known as a restaurant. Now, you go there, as do other people, for a dining experience in which other people make the food, possibly bring you the food and do the dishes. You pay for the experience as much as the food. And while I really enjoy eating out without my children, I sometimes have to bring want to bring my children along.
I have tried to raise my 4-yr-old to understand the basic etiquette of eating out. If you stare too closely, you will likely be grossed out – but as long as you just give us a sweeping glance, you will (with hope) see a child who knows to stay in her seat, to say please and not to yell or throw (much). I’ve worked hard – it’s been a trying 4 years. She’d love nothing more than to run amuck around that new, exciting area called a restaurant. After all, nothing is more stimulating to a child than a new environment. Am I right?
Anyway, kids. In restaurants. Not my favorite thing to do. But it is my job to parent them. To teach them that just as we are paying for the dining experience, so are the rest of the fine folks gathered at that spot.
Which leads me to the other day. Dining with an 18-month-old. Totally different ball-game. I’m in the trenches,man. I’ll take the 4-yr-old out any day. The toddler is a different story.
Today, we went to check out the new Uptown Valpo Cafe. Good food, great service and then there was my kid. She tried, bless her, she tried. But she just couldn’t resist some chair re-arranging, a tantrum, a quick stroll around a few tables and maybe a squeal or two before our food came. But after that, she settled in. She loved the focaccia cheese bread (and *ahem* so did I).
Just as I was getting a little exasperated, she finished her food, we shuffled out of there and headed back to the car. The battle had been fought, I would indeed live to see another day, another restaurant. In fact, she hadn’t embarrassed me so bad this time -I actually felt I could return to this restaurant!
But, just as we were pulling out, I realized I left my to-go food there. But that is where it remained as I will fight the toddler/restaurant battle another day.