The first time, we decided to “brave” dining out with our new family of 4, was at 6 weeks postpartum. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
We went to a Chinese buffet. A huge Chinese buffet with lots of booths and fried foods and lights and desserts and noise. Lots of noise. It was, we believed, the perfect “set up.” It was what we assumed would be most fitting outing for a family of two adults, a toddler, and a newborn. The noise, we rationalized, would drown out our crying newborn. The propensity of most at Chinese buffets, or any buffets for that matter, to stuff themselves to capacity, then laugh, laugh at themselves and the news and anything else to make room for dessert would make most forget they we were even there.
We could be invisible.
We went to the buffet and things were going smoothly until our newborn decided she was tired and didn’t want to sleep in the carseat that we planned to use as her bed. Yeah. Things went down hill from there and went even further down when our toddler decided that the nuggets from the buffet could be used as balls.
We got stares. We got laughs. We became “the parents” that everyone else pities.
It was hard, but we did it. We ate less then we would have otherwise, but we did it.
Since that occasion, we hadn’t gone out to eat at a restaurant as a family.
But, tonight we did. We went to that same buffet and this time, there were no tears or nugget throws. It was a good night.
If you are a parent, how do you manage outings with small children?