Mommy and I try to get out to dinner at least once a week. You know, to feel normal. To catch a whiff of the still-lingering musk of our former selves.
It’s become like driving a ’97 Honda and wondering why it doesn’t smell like new car anymore. Going out to eat with Baby is the equivalent of that new-car spray at the car wash for 75 cents. Like everything else these days, it is not the same, nor as simple as we’d like it to be, but we have learned a couple things.
First off, I’m sorry to report your options are limited. You can’t really go anywhere nice or classy. ‘Yes, I’ll start with the steelhead roe and rutabaga. And would you mind warming this bottle for me?’ Doesn’t work. You also can’t go anywhere hip or trendy, as those have quickly become synonymous with “kid unfriendly.” ‘Can you please turn the music down? Little one’s sleeping.’ Yeah, that's not gonna fly.
Wherever you go, there needs to be plenty of seating, because the minute you step out of the house, you are on the clock. So it also can’t be very popular (i.e. good), because there can only be minimal waiting to be seated.
Unless, of course, the force is strong with you:
Waiter: ‘The wait is ninety minutes, sir.’
You: (Weird hand gesture) ‘I don’t need to wait ninety minutes.’
Waiter:‘Yes, you don’t need to wait ninety minutes.’
You: (Same weird gesture) ‘In fact, you have a table for me right now.’
Waiter: ‘In fact, I believe a table just opened up right by the window. Move along.’
But assuming your inner Obi-wan is tapped out, you will need a better strategy.
Like a desert vacation or a particularly diabolical miniature golf hole, it really all comes down to planning. It’s not the pinnacle of romance, but going out to eat with Baby can be painless and even fun in its own right. Just be sure to follow the rules:
1. Go early. Endear yourself to the 5:00 crowd. Sure, the service can be erratic, but you will get a good table for sure. This incurs less trepidation about waiters, busboys, floor managers and patrons stepping on, kicking or otherwise knocking your sprout about.
2. Feed Baby right before you go. Less chance of an “incident” this way. But if there is an incident, you can take comfort in the fact that nobody is there anyway!
3. Take the scenic route to the restaurant. Sure, I’m generalizing, but like most dogs, babies love the car. It’s an excellent soothing device, and hopefully the car ride will knock him out.
4. Get a high chair. Even if Baby’s not ready to properly utilize it, flip it over and your car seat should rest in there perfectly. Oh, the secrets of parenthood. Welcome to the club.