Dining with Kids

Tonight I took the girls to dinner at a restaurant by myself. I knew what I was getting myself into, but I just didn’t want to cook a meal at home and clean up after it, so I talked to Ellie and Piper about it advance and they were in a good place. Ellie is at the age where she can relatively behave herself, minus the fact that she still feels the need to yell everything she says, a la her uncle Chad – love you Chad! We went to the local Mexican restaurant we’ve been to many times because that’s where they said they wanted to go. Overall, it was just fine – I can’t complain. But the whole experience got me thinking – why don’t they have a playbook for servers for handling tables with young kids? I know we’re not the only ones – I see them everywhere we go. Normally parents aren’t brave or dumb enough to go by themselves with two kids under four, but I think there some tactics servers could use to make it a more pleasant experience for everyone, including themselves. I want to make sure to include the fact that I served tables for many years, basically from when I was 18 to somewhere around 23 or 24, so I get it. No one ever told me back them what to do when I get parents with young kids in. I wish I would have had some sort of training or playbook for those types of situations. If I were to make one, it would go a little something like this:

  • Bring a stack of napkins pronto
  • If there’s a kid under 1 or 1 and a half, bring a spoon and a straw for them to play with – a paper or plastic cup with ice cubes isn’t a bad idea either
  • Remove the condiment section altogether – let me know you’re doing it and that you’re happy to leave anything I need
  • Have something at the table for the kids to munch on as soon as possible – Mexican restaurants are good at this
  • It’s ok to talk to the kids – they have voices and can speak
  • Fill their drink cup half full – I have yet to encounter a restaurant with kids cups that are too small
  • Don’t set a sharp knife or a scalding hot plate right in front of my child, not to mention my glass of wine or cocktail – it will only result in more work for you
  • If there are toys or coloring things or anything else around to keep their attention, bring it. We went to an Italian restaurant recently that brought a little thing of pizza dough for the girls to play with – effing brilliant!

That’s it. I think most of these things are relatively easy, especially if it’s a slow night, which it usually is when us parents come to dine at an ungodly early hour. Like I said, I’ve been in your shoes you hard working servers – this just might help you survive my toddlers a little easier and would almost certainly result in more dinero in your pocket.

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Are we Crazy?

Update: Brian took Piper to Children’s this morning and they don’t see a break on the X-ray at all. It sounds like the fuzzy X-ray from Pediatric Associates was inaccurate and she doesn’t need a cast. Seems weird, but I’m super thankful!

There are two reasons I ask this question:

I feel like it’s a new kind of crazy when:

  1. You’ve got two toddlers
  2. Your husband is going on a 10 day vacation in 4.5 weeks, and
  3. You still decide together that it makes a ton of sense to squeeze in a kitchen renovation before the trip

I will say we did a pretty good job of putting together a thorough renovation schedule and budget. So far, we’ve stuck on schedule and while we’ve gone over budget on a couple of things, a couple of things came in under budget. The only variable we didn’t taken into consideration is life. Brian’s been very busy at work, which of course is great. It just makes doing some of the work a little more challenging.

This brings me to my second question of craziness. We took the girls to the park yesterday and Piper was climbing a ladder and fell. She’s always been such a daredevil and it’s always made me nervous. I’ve gotten used to her way and she’s always held her own. Still, I was standing right next to the play toy at the park as she climbed the ladder because it was a little scary. When she fell, I thought she was going to be fine, but she didn’t really bounce back up. I climbed in and picked her up and after I held her and she calmed down, I set her down to walk. But she couldn’t. And it makes me want. to. cry. Since it was about 4 or 5 pm, we brought the girls home, fed them, bathed them and put them to bed. We were thinking a good night’s sleep would help it heal, but she was no better this morning. I took her to the doctor this morning and the unbelievable became reality: she broke her foot. I must say I know I did nothing wrong, but I feel a bit like a failure. Is that just parenthood? It’s so irrational (a.k.a. crazy), but it is the case regardless. The doctor put her foot in a stint and we’re going to Children’s to have it casted tomorrow. What makes me feel better is her demeanor. For the most part she doesn’t act like anything is wrong. It’s only when she tries to walk on it that she’s in pain. Other than that she seems pretty happy and normal.

Of course the first thing Piper did in the car on the ride home from the doctor was try to take the bandage off. Evidence here:    

And if you’re interested in the renovation thus far, here is one of me hand staining our island cabinets: 

And our new floors being installed – notice the still awesome neon yellow light coming through the front door glass: 

And the demo: 1st is slightly before, 2nd is halfway through the demo, 3rd is when everything was taken out.

And me cutting open the wall between the kitchen and the living room: 

Brian and I cleaning up all the sawdust insulation that came down from the attic when we pulled the ceiling off:

Me swinging the sledgehammer during demo: