We were in
Nevertheless, our friends, like many first time parents, were frazzled. I introduced them to the idea of how to eat out, and they were so liberated by the simplest of concepts.
The reason it’s hard to eat out with young kids is that they don’t sit still and they don’t like to wait. The eating part isn’t so bad. It’s the waiting-for-the-food part that leads to mayhem and beaded sweat on your upper lip. So, Mara and I long ago came upon a simple solution: we place the order from home.
We have the menus of our favorite restaurants at home, and when we do want to go out to eat, one of us becomes the waiter and collects everyone’s order. We call the restaurant, and place the order. The restaurant inevitably asks “Will this be for take out or delivery?” and we say, “We’re eating there. We’re coming with kids, so we want to have the food ready when we get there.” They understand. They are soooo thankful. After all, they don’t want our kids sitting idle for 20 minutes waiting for the food to arrive, because, well, they won’t be sitting idle. They’ll be shooting spitballs, making toothpick forts, spilling water, torturing one another by looking at each other, dropping silverware, wasting napkins, and commenting way too loudly about the wads of chewing gum stuck under the tables. So the restaurant loves that we call ahead. We walk in, they whisk the food out as we pull out our chairs, we eat, and go home with minimal disruption to anyone’s sunny disposition.
That’s all. Nothing earth-shattering. Very easy. Call ahead and order so the food is ready when you get there. It’s a way to reclaim your dignity… sort of… or maybe not really. After all, you’re still carrying a diaper-bag and wearing a “dad badge” – that patch of dried drool on your shirt.