Going Out

I have a family that likes to go out to eat. My mom works her ass off all day, and while she can cook and is not bad at it, she often just doesn’t. That puts her and my dad in restaurants quite a bit and we often get invited.

I also have a local aunt, uncle and two cousins. When there’s a birthday, we tend to head to a restaurant. There’s not so many of us that the group is unmanageable, and we all live sort of on opposite ends of things, so it’s easier to just pick a restaurant and meet in the middle after we all get off of work.

This has been our thing for years. Years and years.

Enter Charlotte.

My cousins are adults and don’t have kids, so it’s been a long time since there were any little ones in this part of my family. I hate to say it, but Charlotte really complicates things for us.

We don’t have the kind of kid you want to take to a restaurant. We have the kind of kid who is incapable of sitting for longer than it takes to eat a few bites of some kind of chicken. She also does not do restaurant high chairs, so we have to sit in a booth and someone has to try to contain her. When it’s just us and my parents, my dad will inhale his dinner and then take her outside to play.

There’s nothing wrong with Charlotte. She is just 21 months old. She has the attention span of a mosquito, the energy of a Red Bull factory, and the grace of a stampede of buffalo.

Going to a restaurant with her is Not. Fun.

Tonight, my family is getting together for my cousin’s birthday. I really want to go. We hardly ever get to see them all, and I would love for them to be able to spend some time with Charlotte. But that means taking Charlotte to a restaurant close to the cusp of bedtime. And there will be a group of us, so things will take a while. Also, my dad will not be there to entertain her, and much as my mom and my aunt try, they’re not him. It’s just not ideal. At all.

Catch doesn’t think we should go, and my gut says she’s right. Hell, my brain even says she’s right. I think everyone within a 100-mile radius heard her hour-long tantrum last night and that’s par for the course the last few days. Who in their right mind takes a kid who is that grouchy (teething) to a freaking restaurant? No one.

But I’m sad, because it’s family. And this is what we do. I love them, and I want to share this little girl with them, but I also don’t need to subject everyone to my kicking, screaming, food throwing, out of control, teething toddler. Catch and I do not need the stress or the judgement of people who a) don’t have kids or b) haven’t had a two year old in 3 decades.

It sucks.



12 thoughts on “Going Out

  1. It does suck, but it’s temporary. You go,leave Charlotte at home, have fun, see your family and actually enjoy them! In a year or two she will be mature enough to handle something like that, and you can all go together 🙂

  2. It is a phase. It will get better. It may take longer than the average kid, or she may learn to focus on something like coloring one day and make it easy-peasy suddenly out of nowhere. Darwin has been developing a noticeably longer attention span in the past maybe 3 months, and it has made things like eating out so much more doable. For now. And Linnea can’t walk yet, so we’re in a sweet spot that I’m waiting to totally implode.

    In like, five years, when we can get the kids in the car and you can have Charlotte in a restaurant, I vote for an Oregon/California/Washington blogger party to celebrate.

  3. That does suck and I’m sorry. If we go out it is somewhere super kid friendly or with a big plan. We have to go to a fundraiser thing next week and are already prepping for it. You are making the right choice.

  4. …yeah. We’ve been doing a lot of switching off and/or formulating escape plans (i.e., we all go but decide in advance which mom is bringing the kid(s) home for bedtime before the festivities end). I’m sorry you had to miss your cousin’s celebration.

  5. My little dude is much like this! I wouldn’t risk it so close to bedtime with a teething baby. However if you disclosed that info before had and made sure everyone knew you may need to scamper should the situation arise. I don’t think it’s a bad to have to depart early. You can ask your server for Charolette’s food early. And mention you may possibly need your food to go. Or just stick around for apps. Obviously this isn’t appropriate for every restaurant and also depends on the effort you have to put in getting to and from so your home in time for bed! Coming from a former server.

  6. Boy do I know this struggle. We’ve avoided restaurants almost completely for about 10 months. Two months shy of three we are just now braving it again. It does get better, but you know your kid and what I’ve learned the hard way is to trust your mother’s intuition over pleasing others. It’s hard with family because you want to go out for the rituals and celebrations, but for me they are all memorable for the wrong reasons. Like the time he was given burning hot chicken fingers that were completely raw and I had to walk around the parking lot with a hangry, melting down toddler while everyone ate. All you get is war stories to swap lol.

    • Also, I am envious of toddlers who sit in highchairs/strollers/shopping carts. That must be nice. We have to get the booths too, but it was never fun to be the parent sitting next to him.

      • Oh my gosh–the shopping cart/stroller/high chair thing. I am always blown away when I see a toddler just merrily sitting there. Like–wait? They do that???? Lol

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