Tuesday, May 25

The Old Navy Mom messed me up real good:

Recently we had a date night at The Cheese Cake Factory.
The three of us.....
It was probably the 5Th time we've gone to a restaurant together past 6:00pm.
Conrad's bed time has been pushed back a bit and Dustin got home early on Friday, so we were able to go out together
(for the 5Th time ever!) Seriously.
Our son is usually in bed by 6:30ish which means we eat at home on a regular basis.

I'm not into family dining. I don't enjoy it. I don't prefer it, I don't like baby-sitting my kid at a restaurant and trying to juggle everything at once. I don't like keeping him civil while the childless couple next to us rolls their eyes at my loud heathen child who screams and throws stuff. I should get used to it and learn how to like it though. I get that part. Conrad needs to learn how to be a civil "restaurant goer". My kid does throw crap on the floor and I HATE it! He's a very bad restaurant "goer". He has a lot to learn, and unfortunately, WE HAVE TO TEACH HIM! Just because something is "hard" doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. Like weaning him from the Binky (baby steps). I just look at dates out of the house as times of relaxation and when Conrad is out with us I get anxiety and
I'm NEVER relaxed.

(My son had already had his bath and was in his Pj's.....
just in case we had to leave in a mad dash and he wanted to go ni-night. I'm a freak.)
Back before I was pregnant I saw this mom at Old Navy with her screaming toddler, (I haven't been able to forget about her.) Everyone was staring, baby was flailing out of it's stroller, and she just kept saying
"I know it's nap time, but Mommy wants to look!
We're almost done sweetie, almost done!"
I wanted to grab the crap she had in her cart and say
"Give your kid it's nap for god sakes!" UGH!

I totally believe in militant schedules. I think schedules and consistence keep kids happy (just as long as they aren't teething, sick, and all is well in the world. Not even my militant schedule can save me from a bad day, and I know this! But it helps.) I know that my son has 2 gaps in the day when I can take him out of the house in between his naps, and he eats at the same time everyday as well, so there aren't any surprises. It's boring, it's monotonous, and it's rather inconvenient at times (getting up and just going anywhere anytime whether my son likes it or not-he should just deal with it and learn how to "roll with the punches" so I can get my tasks done or stay out as late as I want.....etc.) I don't agree with this mentality, and although you can't quite help it at times, consistency has been my best friend. I want my toddler to be in a good mood when we're in public. And if he's had a good nap and food in his belly, he's usually pretty good.

God forbid I judge another mom and her parenting style, but I really feel like the O.N.M was being unfair to her toddler (but what did I know. I was childless at the time, so I should shut my trap!) The Old Navy Mom is what freaks me out if we go off of schedule. I won't be her. I won't do it. Even if it means I have to suffer and become a friggin' hermit who never goes anywhere! The Old Navy Mom has kept me cooped up in my home when my baby has been in a pissy mood. The Old Navy lady ruined going in public for me.

OK, I'm done now.

BUT, our "family date night" was a success. I tried not to scarf my meal down in one big bite and I didn't ask the waiter for the bill right when he brought us our food (just in case Conrad lost his shit and needed to go home right away! I usually do this anytime we're out with him). I chilled out and tried to be cool about it. But honestly, I'm not a fan of dates with the baby. Sorry dude.

Please tell me I'm not the only parent who doesn't like taking their baby to restaurants?!

The two of us trying to stay calm and collected
as our son threw silver ware on the ground:
Do we look like happy parents or what?!

To keep him happy, I brought my secret weapon. Marshmallows. Every time he had that look in his eye, and started to squirm in his high chair, I just plopped a few more colorful, sugary-low-in-nutrition-content- marshmallows in front of him and he wasn't a crazy man for a few precious minutes of dining-pleasure.
Do what you gotta' do.

What are your secret weapons for
an enjoyable dinner experience with your rug rat?


  1. We haven't tried marshmallows yet, I am totally going to though!

    The twins are obsessed with straws lately- so that is our new secret weapon. If we ever need 10 minutes we just get them a kids cup with a straw in it and we are golden! It doesn't even matter what is in the cup they just l.o.v.e. sipping the straw:)

  2. Anonymous25 May, 2010

    Taking the kids to dinner doesn't come close to a date night. You have to vigilantly be one step ahead of a potential meltdown or annoying, attention-getting behavior. Kids get bored and all that. Now especially with Daniel, the adventure is more unpredictable, but unless my resolve is spent, I try not to let that hinder me (unless it's destined for failure--e.g. naptime, etc.). He wants to be constantly bounced or patted or stood up to stretch his chubby legs. It's not exactly relaxing, but if I really need to get out with friends or not cook dinner, sometimes it's worth it. The marshmellow strategy is a good one. Sophie likes stickers and coloring. When she was smaller snacks were key. It evolves.

    PS: Your salad looks yummy.

  3. you have such a cute little family! and i love the name Conrad!

    my parents were always so good at going on a date every Friday night, but not until I was about 14 so they had a built in babysitter :)


  4. We pretty much use the same method. Some food that we know he'd love and calm him down and a toy of some sort like a car he can roll on the table/high chair or a book. I don't think he's had a tantrum yet in a restaurant but man have I dealt with some at the mall and the children's museum that left me with tunnel vision and sweating due to embarrassment. I think he knows at this point to not come between mom and her food experience. But shopping...lets just say if I need to shop for myself, he stays at home with dad. Everybody wins that way anyway (the boys of my life hate shopping).

  5. I'm totally there with you. I avoid going out to eat at all costs. It's just not worth it. What's the point of paying for a sit down meal if you're just stressed out the whole time??? Claire is finally at the age where she'll just sit and color but Faye is out of control. She's screaming and throwing food... sooo not cool. And with Faye nothing works to keep her occupied. So we just don't really eat out. Give it a few years and it'll be fun again I'm sure.

    And that salad looks good. Makes me hungry!

  6. I'm with you on the schedule and I don't push it and take my little man out past his bed time or during nap time. It just isn't worth the anxiety that I feel.

    But, for the times we are out and he is getting cranky, he quiets right down if I give him a teething biscuit (he is still a little tyke) or a cup to play with.

  7. though it is a rather trying experience at times olivia is usually pretty good in restaurants. i was never one to have her on a strict schedule because i wanted her to be able to go out when i needed to go out and still be okay. and for the most part, it works out perfectly!
    she will nap at home, as well as on the go. i think she just got used to it. i would never, EVER be like that O.N.M. though...is that woman nuts?! if your kid is screaming, crying for a nap...for goodness sakes TAKE THEM HOME! some people...

    anyway, she has totally come to that age though where she doesn't like to sit still in a high chair for to long so my secret weapon has been raisins! those little, snack size, boxes of raisins. they keep her busy forever as she pulls them out one by one and she LOVES them.

  8. In the 10 months since my daughter was born, I totally believe that you gotta do what you gotta do.

    Love the blog! I'm following now :-)

  9. thanks for your input ladies.

    i think the biggest plus or reason that we needed to have a good game plan as far as how our son's day went (militant schedule.) was that before he was on one, my friends would ask if i wanted to go to lunch, and I'd be like "Oh shoot, the baby just fell asleep, I can't go!" or I'd say "I don't know when he's going to go down for his nap so lets just play it by ear!" and then we'd never get together because there wasn't anything solid-there wasn't any routine yet and it used to drive dustin and I CRAZY.

    Anyway. I'd like to have a kid who would just fall asleep in a stroller for his afternoon nap and allow me to browse the mall instead of wanting his bed. He's kind of particular to his bed.

    I like hearing all of your opinions though and the little tricks you use. I'd just about give him ANYTHING short of a knife to shut him up while i eat.

    and erin, that salad was a-mazing, but i should have ordered a burger. it didn't fill me up AT all. I feel like I'm eating like a teen age boy now that i'm training again.

  10. I am not a mom yet but I hope when I become one that I will be more in tune to my child's needs than the old navy mom. I think you need to have balance but at the same time I want to give my child what they need you know?


  11. I stick to my schedule too. Now that my oldest won't take naps, and my youngest only takes one nap a day... sometimes I can get away with going somewhere during an off hour, where a year ago, it was impossible. This isn't anything I EVER do alone though. I'll only risk it when I've got my husband with me. The one time I tried without him, the biggest meltdown in the world happened, and a complete stranger had to lift my kicking and screaming 3 year old into the stroller for me, while I lugged my 30 pound 1 year old around on my hip a half a mile straight to the car.


    Nobody wants to be the Old Navy Mom.

  12. YAY!! I thought I was crazy. Hubs and I and fam went out last week and one of us was outside with our little dude the ENTIRE time. Not happening again for awhile.

    I'm so happy I'm not the only one who like routine and works around my kid. I had a kidless friend tell me the other day "You let your kid run your life too much. He's a BABY." Exactly he is a baby that doesn't understand "no" or have restaurant manners :).

    Thanks for this post!

  13. PS. When did you go on a schedule? When can you? My lil guys 3 months and I feel like I don't want to do anything until after he eats or sleeps or... well I'm kinda a hermit now ;D

  14. I started letting him "cry it out" and taught him now to sleep around 6 months. We tried a little earlier around 4 but he still needed to get up once or twice a night to eat.

    I think being a hermit is ok.

  15. haha he is adorable!! That marshmellow does look yummy!


  16. You're beautiful. I love reading your updates.

    Left you an award on my blog!


  17. I know what you mean... been there done that. Hahaha! I remember those days when we had to take the babies to dinners out... I have a bag filled with goodies and toys to keep them occupied. I survived... now the boys are in their teens.

    Your baby is so adorable. xoxo

  18. thank you, for being sensitive to the O.N.M. issue! it's got to be so frustrating.. i manage a restaurant and the parents who just ignore what their kids are doing drive us all up the wall! we're pretty understanding when it comes to food on the floor and yelling though- they are kids, after all!

  19. you know, i like the IDEA of being able to go out for a family dinner, but i'm with you... it absolutely SUCKS. so much for relaxation and fun... when jude is with us, zachary and i usually end up arguing from the stress of being "those parents" (to the kidless couples, anyway) as jude screams, squeals, and tosses his bits of bread or cereal onto the floor for the completely-pissed-off-at-having-been-given-a-table-with-a-baby waiter/ress to clean up after our departure. so, cheers to you for an actual enjoyable experience. i'm glad you guys got to have a nice night out with bebe in tow :)