Nobody tells you to go out to eat as often as you can for the first 6 month of your child’s life, because that’s pretty much your window of opportunity until your baby has learned to tie his or her shoes.
Dining out with a toddler is all around awful. Now, I’m not including McDonalds in this category, because I don’t consider a place with an indoor jungle gym someplace that I generally enjoy. My daughters refer to it as "Old McDonalds", which kinda makes you think…
Anyway, most parents think that with some careful planning things will generally be okay. The most organized moms bring lots of things to entertain their tot: favorite toys, books, crayons, even ordering as soon as you sit down to lessen the "wait time" for your precious little one. But usually, by the end of the meal, you’re offering them equal packets and mini jellies, your I Pad, cell phone…anything to get them to sit still for 7 minutes or so in order to wolf down your food.
Before our most recent trip to the local diner, I took lots of time before hand to talk about what our experience would be like in order to prepare them for a successful meal. We discussed why manners are important and how polite people behave at restaurants, we rehearsed what we would eat, how we would talk to the waitress, where we would sit, and what would happen if we had to go to the bathroom.
I felt really prepared and confident that we would have a nice family night out. I forgot, however, to actually talk about who the waitress is, so upon entering the diner, my two year old walked up to the first person she encountered, which happened to be a 90 year old man with a walker, and proudly announced that she would like some chocolate milk.
There’s always next time.