Sunday, 12 October 2014

Eating out with toddlers. The Dream v The Reality.

"Let's go out for food!" you suggest to your other half. He looks scared. He frowns, brow furrowed showing concern and says in no uncertain terms "not a f*cking chance". But "this time" you say "this time it will be different!". Trying to convince both him, and yourself, that going out to somewhere vaguely nice to eat with toddlers is a good idea.

You're wrong. It isn't. It is one of life's most foolish endeavours that will end up in screaming (you and them), crying (potentially everyone including the waitress), shouting (standard) and of course a whole heap of money wasted, as food is thrown to the floor or shoved up noses. Here is your guide to eating out with toddlers. The dream V (shudder) the reality...

Venue
The dream: You enter a little country pub on a Sunday lunchtime for a nice roast, a glass of wine (not for the children before you call social services) and a chat about work, preschool and life in general.

The reality: The country pub is rammed. With couples. Who don't take too kindly to your girl needing a wee every three seconds and shoving past them and your boy doing 'the scream'. You know the one. The one that is so high pitched and so loud you jump and say "f*ck!" and then look like the worlds worst Mother. Again.

I would NEVER use my phone to placate my children said no mother ever

The Menu
The dream: A three course menu. Consisting of pate for starter. A succulent beef Sunday roast and then maybe a cheese board to end with. 

The reality: THEY DON'T SERVE CHIPS!!! Panic sets in! Who doesn't serve chips? WHO? You ask for the nearest thing to 'a chip'. The frazzled waitress bring out a single potato wedge the size of half a potato, covered in sea salt and only served with garlic mayonnaise in like a weird dead posh cup. Both children start 'the scream' but replacing the word scream with 'chiiiippppppsssssss!'. You pull a half eaten bag of Wotsits out of the baby bag and sigh.

The Waiting
The dream: Food will be served promptly. With starters arriving roughly five minutes after you order. 

The reality: "How long does it take to make bloody garlic bread?!" you angrily whisper to your other half 15 minutes after you have ordered. A 15 minute wait is reasonable but with two tots? It seems an eteeeeeeeernity. They wriggle. They talk loudly. They have broken all the free wax crayons. They start to eat said broken free wax crayons. You start to weep internally whilst considering complaining. But don't. As you're very, very British. You resort to your IPhone and that weird Kinder Egg lady.

The Food's Arrival
The dream: Yummy warm food served on kooky shabby chic plates you wish you owned. 

The reality: Your meal is brought out first. Your kids immediately begin to ask where their food is. Loudly. Manically. Their food arrives? And it is as hot as the sun. No hotter. Hotter than the sun. You say "be careful it's hot!". They ignore you and screech "hot hot hot hot!" whilst trying to consume their one over sized potato wedge. A shabby chic plate gets smashed. Then you remember why you don't own such things and eat off plastic Poundworld Frozen ones. 

The Pudding
The dream: The worlds biggest knickerbocker glory.

The reality: The worlds biggest knickerbocker glory. The dream meets the reality when you realise your toddler has only consumed a mere quarter of one over sized potato wedge and therefore is STARVING. So you fill them up with a giant ice cream. Well it's dairy right? That's good for you! 

Sometimes we go to Mc Donalds. These are happy, happy days
The Conclusion
Save the hassle, save the time, save your money and more importantly? Save your sanity. Go to the only food establishment on earth that kids love with all their hearts...McDONALDS!* See their smiley, happy faces. Aces.

*This post is in no way shape or form sponsored by McDonalds. If it was? I would dine on nuggets for A MONTH! 

46 comments:

  1. This made me laugh a lot!! Spot on especially the country pub... I had to breast feed in the toilet recently as we seated right by the bar!! Xx

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  2. Yep!!!!! We don't eat out anymore for all of the above reasons! Twins + restaurants = me weeping and needing a lot of wine!!! Maybe one day? Brilliant as always (obvs) Jess x x

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    1. Oh god with twins would make me have a breakdown! x

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  3. Eating out with toddlers is hell. I would rather stay at home! x

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  4. I always remember the sheer hell of eating out with toddlers and when there's not enough high chairs!

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    1. Like when there is one. FOR THE WHOLE PUB! I hate that x

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  5. Haha, we had this dilemma tonight. Hubby, "I fancy eating out!" Me, "not a cat in hells chance, the kids been ill all weekend, and there's no way he's going to sit nicely, whilst we tuck into dinner. Get your arse home from the pub and put my tea on!" Even he had to agree I had a point! Hubby is currently I'm the kitchen making roast beef :) xx

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  6. We stopped eating out for about a year when Charlie was a toddler. We definitely are approaching that stage with the girls. The main issue is also - they rarely have enough space to dump a double puschairs and have two spare highchairs! We are -that- family. Throw BLW into it and we should be barred...

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    1. Ha I always feel like that family too when we turn up somewhere like the Clampetts x

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  7. I've posted to a similar theme before - basically just don't. I can think of much better ways to spend £50! ;) x

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    1. I could buy a whole new outfit for that! x

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  8. Oh my. This is so frigging true. It hurts a bit to read... Great stuff! X

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  9. We went to Wagamamas yesterday. Within minutes of sitting down and ordering Buster realised he didn't have the swords to his ninja turtle, which caused a FULL ON screaming, wailing meltdown. He wouldn't stop. My husband confessed he'd left the swords at home to save him losing them. So it was ALL his fault. We sat in angry silence, Buster screamed 'I can't stop CRY-ING' a lot, everyone wished we were at home. SPOT. ON.

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    1. Of course it was your husbands fault. Who wouldn't take swords out with you to eat? NO-ONE x

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  10. This is why we stopped going to restaurants 2 1/2 months ago (bar one trip to McDonalds). It was always so tense and we'd get home exhausted. We went to Pizza Express today, and it was the first meal out that has been easy. Kids colouring, then eating their food. No shouting, crying or food being hurled across the room. It can happen, it really can!

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  11. Its my dream to open a restaurant where you can take a toddler and not feel so stressed. Eating out is hard work if it wasn't for mr tumble and faithful peppa we would have never gone put again what did people shop before smart phones!

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    1. I don't want to think about life before smart phones. Horrif x

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  12. We ate out today, it was okay? No screaming but plenty of moaning and no food consumed by Lacey, although she did ask to get out of her seat so she could "fluff her sister"? Oh and there was a spilled drink!

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    1. What pray tell is fluffing her sister??? x

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  13. Ha oh hun. I had to chuckle. Especially the hot bit! Seriously people, kids food does not need to go on a hot plate!!! Xxx

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  14. Ohhh the wait!!! Why oh why do they take so long. Z is usually wanting to do laps around the restaurant by the time the food actually arrives.

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    1. Sigh...why the long ruddy never ending wait? x

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  15. Haha - it is Gabe's birthday today so we are eating out but going to a Carvery - instant roast dinners (and veg so you are actually a splendid mum). I'd like to tell you it gets easier but it erm... doesn't xx

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  16. So funny, we had the exact same conversation yesterday when I took my eldest two to Nandos. My 12 year old turned to me and said "I have no idea why anyone would take young children out to a restaurant". Yes darling, we learnt that too - very early on! x

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  17. TOTALLY agree with all of the above!

    When my oldest 2 were young there were no smart phones / tablets etc - so I always made sure I had crayons / paper / books etc - now with the little 2 (and the older ones who are 9 and 11) it's

    How many ipads and phones can we squash in a bag?
    Can we have a table near a plug for a charger?
    Have you got headphones?
    Please turn 'Peppa Pig' down?
    Don't dip the phone in the ketchup?
    etc etc!!!

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    1. Ha ha ha don't dip the phone in the ketchup made me laugh! x

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  18. Ha! Exactly right. I *hate* going anywhere with J unless it's MacDonald's. It's the only place I know he will consume the whole of his meal. The chips have to be skinny fries, not chips; we have a whole new level of fussy when kids start making preferences over the width of chip FFS. I was nodding and laughing throughout the whole of that post. Perfectly written and captured.

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    1. Thanks! The frie v the chip is a hot discussion in our house. The sods. IT IS ALL THE SAME JUST EAT IT! x

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  19. Lol, great post - so very true! We always find our food comes out first and isn't that hot whereas the kids' food is incandescent when it comes out and then we have to wait forever before they can eat any of it. Sometimes it is just easier to go to McDonalds and get a Happy Meal. We ended up eating in McDonalds a lot when we went to France - it seemed to be the only place you could eat out that actually had high chairs available.

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    1. And in France? They do booze in McDonalds. Amazing x

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  20. That sounds like a very familiar story, in fact I think there are lots of situations in parenting where the dream and the reality are quite different. Long gone are our posh restaurant days; it is family friendly all the way. If it isn't instant or a buffet, there has to be colouring or we are out of there.

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  21. Spot on! We have the iPad charged and primed for any meal out. Now we have a screaming baby on a highchair to add to the mix.

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    1. Oh good god. Screaming baby is horrible! x

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  22. Ha ha. Must be a nightmare with 2, one's hard enough. When we were on holiday the other week we ate out every night. The first night took sooooo long to arrive. N could be heard across the whole pub asking every 2 minutes 'where's my food?' 'why's it taking so long?' 'when's the man bringing the food? for about 25 minutes. The OH had ordered a start which with a child you just don't do unless you're sharing it with them!

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    1. My hub would do the same and then wonder why my kids were screaming to eat his food! What is wrong with men sometimes??? x

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  23. We don't often eat out I must say. The last time was father's day. C is fine and M is just about managable. I'll try again soon, (maybe)!

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    1. Oh your two sound good at it! Defo try again x

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