First Child – Plan dinner outings at least 24 hours in advance. Time naps so baby will be happy during dinner outing. If naps don’t work as planned, re-evaluate ideas at 4:30 and abandon outing if baby is having a rough day.
Second Child – Baby is having a rough day and doesn’t sleep in the baby carrier as hoped while walking around a local festival. Head back to the car at 4:30 and THEN decide it’s a great opportunity to go out to dinner.
First Child – Select a restaurant that you know to be kid-friendly. Arrive early to avoid having to wait for a table.
Second Child – Brainstorm restaurant options while driving through town. Take a chance on outdoor seating at 5:30 on a Saturday during the first beautiful day of the year. Score! Tuck sleeping baby (FINALLY!) in his car seat into a shady corner.
First Child – load diaper bag with snacks, toys, and other entertainment.
Second Child – scrounge around and discover a chew toy buried at the bottom of the diaper bag. Use carrot sticks and celery as alternate entertainment.
First Child – Bring props and cleaner so small child can sit in a high chair.
Second Child – Realize at the end of dinner that we could have asked for a high chair. No need. Dad’s lap works fine.
First Child – Lament the fact that going out to dinner is such a production.
Second Child – Apologize to Scott that dinner out is so hectic. His response, “How would this be different that eating at home?”
First Child – Spend dinner hour uptight about whether the outing is working or not. Order first thing that looks decent on the menu and eat meal at breakneck speed to get out the door before baby has a meltdown. Very little actual conversations between adults.
Second Child – Realize that kids antics probably won’t bother anybody with all the other restaurant noise. Leisurely sip beer and enjoy sandwiches while retrieving dropped toy and carrots off the floor. Take compliment from other diner that kids are so well behaved. Enjoy heavenly relief to walk back in the house and realize there won’t be any dinner dishes after the kids go to bed. Ahhhh…