Kids and restaurants. Does it work? Ever?
Can fine dining + crayons = a relaxed calm family night out?
Wherever you stand on that issue, if you do there are some things that will definitely, definitely happen.
Hopefully, it will not be as bad as it was for the family who faced a defilement charge from a Darwin restaurant against messy kids who left their prawn heads under the table.
I am about to embark on a family holiday overseas. It is going to involve several long-haul plane flights, jet lag and many, many restaurants. I am stuck right now in a form of suspended disbelief. Fooling myself into thinking it is going to be three weeks of sightseeing, new tastes and experiences.
I’m having a laugh, right?
But people try. People dine out with their kids all the time in good restaurants. I hear them, I see them. I trust them.
Kids should learn to sit still. Youngsters have to taste all sorts of flavours. My child has a sophisticated palate. We dine at Rockpool all the time with Amery and Chauncey.
The truth is it’s a guaranteed f**ing disaster and here’s why.
Stage 1: Optimism:
You can do this. Armed and ready. Bags packed.
Sorry to say but the days of a just a sparkly clutch, a lippy and a credit card are long gone. It’s a travel bag filled with clothing changes, extra nappies, wipes, lotions and towels on one arm while on the other is a bag of “distractions.”
If you are really organised, you are the type with one of those portable fold out plastic high-chair thingies that neatly latch on to your upholstered dining chair.
Bad luck if you happen to frequent those super trendy diners with booths, though.
Stage 2: The battle plan.
It’s about briefing the troops. Preparing them for the entrenchment ahead. Arming them with the tools to survive.
“If you get out of your seat, there will be no Ipad for a week. And remember, no spitting food out on your plate.”
Stage 3: Feeding the troops.
Which camp are you in? The restaurants shouldn’t-have-children’s-menus-as they-need-to-expand-their-palates-camp? Or are you with the just-give-them-fish-and-chips-or-spag -bol-to-keep-them-quiet mob?
This is too cute not to share. Babies eating lemons for the first time. Post continues after video:
Stage 4: The wait.
And the wait, and the wait.
If you have actually gone the whole five-hatted route you might be lucky enough to get bread (artisan of course), and more bread, and more bread for your little ones.
There’s a temptation to embody your own mother and tell them not to eat too much or they will have no room for dinner, and then there is the temptation to just shut the f**k up and let them gorge because at least they aren’t moaning about how hungry they are.
TIME is of the essence. Bring it, people.
Stage 5: Distraction.
You are prepared for tonight aren’t you? Armed, ready and equipped with whatever these kidlets might need to get through the meal.