There was a time when having dinner at a restaurant with Baby H in tow was a cake walk. We just had to take the well-fed H around for a walk and she would doze off in her pram giving ample of dinner-time to us. These days its an adventure cum ordeal loaded with embarrassment. But who cares? All parents have been there done that. So, during many of such adventurous trips to restaurants, I observed that every set of parent has a different way to manage the kid and enjoy their meal. Here’s a low down. Do read & share you fall in which category?
1. Those who take turn: These kind of parents prefer to enjoying the food even if it means to eat alone. After all, there’s no better company than your own self. So, when papa gorges upon his chicken tikka, mommy takes the baby for a stroll and when it’s mommy’s time to dig into her lasagna, Papa walks out with the baby. Simple and sorted.
2. One man / woman army – In this lot, either of the two parents is usually taking charge of the hyper-active toddler. From managing the tantrums to feeding the picky eater as you gulp down your favourite dish – all is done by one of the two. Dad becomes a usual victim in such a scenario as mom conveniently escapes saying that “I handle the kid everyday when you go to work.” (Overheard someone ;))
3. The control freak (That’s me) – These parents try to keep continuous watch and control on what their kid is up to, though they very well know that nothing can stop their hyper-active toddler. Sorry and excuse-me become their favourite phrases, while ‘no’ is every second word they speak during the meal. They try their best to keep the child engaged in food / cutlery / napkins / tissues / toys / bribe (read phone) without causing any trouble to the fellow diners and the hotel staff.
4. The care-free lot: This group of parents are either blessed with a carefree nature or have transgressed to this category after failing miserably at being control freaks. They just give a damn to what the kids are up to and just concentrate on what they are at the restaurant for – eating. While their kids have gala time spilling water, throwing things in the air, sometimes at fellow diners, calling out at waiters, tearing tissue papers, throwing food around, worse – jump out of the high-chair, the parents eat. (Baby H can do all that if I set her free. It’s getting so tough to control her that soon I’ll shift to this category).
5. Nanny please: These parents find solace in the dear nanny, who takes care of the baby while they enjoy a hearty meal quickly and join the baby again.
6. Picture perfect family: This looks like a dream come true for parents of toddlers but there exist parents who are blessed with quite toddlers. These kids sit in their high-chairs with napkins tucked and enjoy a hearty meal with their parents. Someone pinch me please!
7. Lucky, smart, romantic parents: Lucky because for being such parents you need to have a trusted someone at home. Romantic because, these parents make it a point to sneak out for a dinner date / mid-night coffee / movie outing leaving the kid behind with the trusted someone.
This post doesn’t comment on anyone’s style of parenting nor propagates a particular style. This is just an observation.
How do you handle your kid when eating out? In which category do you all? Do leave a comment & share your experience.