There was never a worry of where to find a spot to change a diaper or to feed their baby.
I am not one of these women.
So the first time my husband and I took our son to a restaurant he was over a year old and we were having brunch with our family. It turned out to be easier than we expected. He was in a good mood having so many familiar faces around him and it being the morning meant that he was well fed and not tired. We figured out that this was the key to making dining out with a small child.
We recently got a little more adventurous. We took out son out to dinner with some friends to a restaurant that required a cattle-like waiting line and a very busy seating area. It too was better than we expected. He was getting attention of other restaurant patrons while we were waiting in line, like all kids love.
At the table we had friends who love kids but have none themselves. So he got to sit on their laps and play with and eat bread. It was one way to take some of the strain off of us. Since it was an Italian food restaurant, we were very simply able to share our food with our son.
I’m sure that he loved feeling like the grown-ups because he was eating like us. So after gaining some confidence we tried to take our son out to a restaurant for lunch with just the two of us. Again, taking our son out during the day proved advantageous. He was in a good enough mood to enjoy looking at all the lights, and tables and people. We ended up getting a visit from a little girl at another table who just wanted to say hi to the baby. Since our son is in daycare, he really appreciated seeing someone closer to his size and age.
He also had fun playing with the crayons and scribbling all over his paper menu. My husband turned to me and said "who ever decided to have crayons at tables for kids at restaurants was a genius" which I wholly agreed with. We both admit that it certainly keeps children amused and it allows us to interact with our son in a positive way.
Admittedly there is a lot of having to move breakable, sharp and spillable objects from his reaching area, but that is usual with kids anyways. But the crayons kept his attention enough that the other things were not as fun. So now we've gained more confidence in respect to eating at restaurants with a small child that we will see where our next dinner adventure will be. --- Lisa Wlodarski