Monday, November 4, 2013

Out to Eat with a Baby?

Do you fall into the category of definitely leave the baby at home or don't go out to eat OR of course the baby is going out to eat and if they cry, well they cry? Or maybe you fall somewhere in-between depending on the situation.

I'll never forget the first time we took our son out to eat and he screamed uncontrollably in a very nice restaurant, and while it was five years ago, I'll never ever forget it. We left with boxed food.

Last weekend my husband wanted to go out to dinner and he wanted me to pick the place but gave his opinion first, which was great with me as long as the baby seemed to cooperate. It's family friendly but it's a nicer than a kid-friendly place. I planned on nursing right before we left so she would be fed, changed, and comfortable - hopefully sleeping through our meal. 

Things don't always go as planned. I nursed her, changed her diaper, and was hoping on the short ride to town she'd fall asleep. No such luck but she was calm and playing with toys. We walked into the restaurant and asked for a both to slide her into - we only waited like five minutes for a table, in part because we decided we'd do a 5:00 p.m. dinner, a little early for a Saturday night but we'd miss the crowd. The baby started to fuss with her toy and kick her feet like she was upset so I looked to my husband and said "this may not work." 

I don't like my children to cry/scream at a restaurant (well at all, but babies will be babies) because I don't want someone else's dinner ruined because of me or my kids. Now if it's someone else's children, I don't mind. I look at it like things happen, babies cry, the parents want to eat out and they don't have a choice but to bring their child. They won't ruin my time and actually, it would bother the mom and dad much more than me, I've been there and I understand. 

Anyway, the host took us to our table and the car seat wouldn't fit in the booth so we placed her on the back part of the table and pulled the shade hoping she'd fall asleep. As you can imagine, she didn't. She started to cry a little louder, not a meltdown but crying harder. Of course we were trying to entertain her with toys, cover her with a blanket, take the blanket off, shush her, rock the seat, all those things you try to do. I said we should probably just go and forget it but my husband wanted to wait and see, he thought she'd calm down. We ordered and she stopped, maybe we could do this. 

The waitress was phenomenal and brought our salads right away but the baby started to cry again, the table behind my husband wasn't happy with us. The woman in her booth seat thrust herself against the back of the seat to push at my husband, then turned around and gave me horrible looks. Well that's all it took for me to really get upset. I stood with the seat and swayed her hoping I could get her to fall asleep while my husband tried to eat his salad and wait for our waitress to ask her to just box our dinners. Because the woman kept turning to look at me and my husband with hatefulness I was becoming more upset and when my husband stood to switch me so I could eat my salad, I was too worked up to eat. With tears in my eyes I said I'd walk to the vehicle and wait for him to come out. The waitress and host came back to say it was okay and we should stay, but I couldn't. They even told my husband that if the baby stopped we could come back in and they'd re-plate our food. (So very nice.) 

When my husband stood to leave the woman gave him a mean look and huffed at him several times so he acknowledged her by asking if she had a problem, what was her problem, and then mentioned something about "like she never had kids or heard kids cry." He was upset because he knew I was in tears so I can't imagine his tone was pleasant. She turned her head and refused to acknowledge my husband spoke to her at all. 

Please keep in mind that I was in the vehicle at 5:22 p.m. 

We brought our food home and had a nice dinner together. It's just sometimes nice to go out to a restaurant to eat, we don't do it often and thought we'd try. I don't want to ruin someone else's experience but if you don't try, you'll never know. I'm not sure what the nasty customer would have preferred we do - in my opinion, other than the tears, I think we handled the situation the best for the other patrons. 

Do you go out to eat with little ones, and what has been your experience if they cry or scream? I'd love to hear from you. 

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