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.
I often think what a wonderful life it would be to wake up and essentially be responsible for playing, eating, sleeping and pooping myself every once it awhile. There’s not a lot required of a tiny little baby and sometimes it’s nice to fantasize about going back to that place. In our adult lives, we of course are responsible for many things and once the babe comes around, the responsibility increases exponentially. Sometimes the responsibilities are tough and stressful and sometimes they’re fun. Sometimes a lot of fun ends up being exhausting too, right?
For instance, this week has been so amazing. Tuesday Brian and I celebrated our two year anniversary. We did the White Moustache Urban Adventure. It was an amazing night of going from one unique restaurant in our fine city to the next. We started at Island Soul in Columbia City, where we had some amazing jerk chicken and seafood fritters with a nice dark rum ginger mojito. From there we moved to St. Cloud in Madrona. We noshed on some parmesan crusted pork tenderloin and washed it down with some Syrah. At the next stop, Grub on Queen Anne, we had a seafood medley with another glass of red wine. Finally we ended our night at Hot Cakes in Ballard, where we shared a dark chocolate hot cake with whiskey caramel and vanilla ice cream and some port. Oh it was fun to bounce around the city like DINKS again!
Wednesday night we stayed in (thank goodness), Thursday Jonathan and Devon came over for dinner, and Friday we had Friendsgiving at John and Mols’. Saturday came around and we went to the grocery store to get stuff for Thanksgiving. We headed out to go to Ethan’s 1 year birthday party and sat in traffic for 45 minutes before we even got to I-90! Since we had a Christmas party in a few hours, we figured by the time we would get to the party we’d have to turn around and come back, so we ended up canceling. We felt (and I still feel) really bad. From there we dropped Ellie off with Jenna and Ryan and headed out to the Blue Nile Christmas Party. That was fun while it lasted, but we had to head home early because Ellie was refusing a bottle and going down. It was still a great night and so much fun.
Then today we did a family portrait session out in the [light] rain and then hosted PEPS at our house. Ahhh…time to breathe please. A lot of fun, but still A LOT of going going going! All this running around, and the whole while Ellie is just growing like crazy and showing more and more of her personality every day. She’s started doing things we say, such as bouncing when she’s standing and turning the pages in her book when we’re reading. A couple of weeks ago I got a glimpse of her mimicking with dad, making the scrunchy face.
Here are a few pics of the cute PEPS babes tonight.