what it is like to eat in a nice restaurant…illustrated with crappy pictures™

Every so often our extended family convinces us to eat in a nice restaurant. All of us. With the kids.  Every time we say "Yes" and then give ourselves a reassuring pep talk that goes something like this:

"Hey, the kids are older now, it will be easier than last time. Nothing to worry about. This time it will be different!"  And so we go.  

Like last weekend.

So we get seated and the baby decides that he is NOT going in the highchair.

He decides this loudly.

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Already I'm sweating.  I nervously look around the restaurant to see if there are other kids.  There are a few so we aren't the only ones.  Just the only loud ones.  I promise crayons and he sits.

Because of his reaction I'm unprepared and he manages to grab a fork and a plate.

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He nearly hits my husband in the head, who is already talking to his brother. Thankfully, I get it back before anything breaks.

 

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Once I've cleared the baby zone on the table I direct my attention to my four year old who has been patiently waiting for crayons.

I get out some crayons and paper and the menus arrive.

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I don't actually get to open my menu because I'm playing the game of baby drop the crayon and mama will pick it up.  I have to pick it up because if I don't he says, "UH OH!  CRAYON!" repeatedly with a sad face and the whole restaurant looks at me expectantly.

So I open the menu when the waitress arrives and I order something quickly.  I also order a glass of wine.

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My glass of wine arrives and I savor it for five whole seconds.  The kids are occupied and happy.  Wow! It really is different this time!

Until my four year old has decided he has had enough of crayons. Does he want a book? No. A toy? No. He shields everything I have in my mama bag arsenal. I'm out.  I need backup.

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So I throw daggers at the back of my husband's head with my eyes.  He feels them.  He turns his attention to our four year old.  

We switch spots.  

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Usually, my husband is very good at coming up with things to keep the little ones entertained.  This time however, I'm not sure what he is up to.

Until I see that he is folding a paper airplane. 

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A paper airplane.  In the hands of a four year old.  In a nice restaurant.  

 

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Before I can stop it, it is in the air.  His throw combined with my husband's (now apparent) skill at paper airplane crafting and it glides across the restaurant.

And hits a lady on the back of her head.

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It startles her and she turns to look at us with that half smirk, half dissappointed in society look on her face. I apologize but all I really want to do is point at my husband and say, "he did it".

Fortunately, the waitress is heading to our table with appetizers.

Now a good, career server understands the concept of the clear space on a table that is the baby zone. It is there for a reason, that reason being that the baby will grab everything within his reach. An experienced server knows not to put spillable, sharp, fragile or hot things directly within the parameters of a cleared baby zone.

Our waitress is not a career server. 

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So when she plops the piping hot basket of fries down directly in front of him in the clear baby zone, I am ready to run interference and I push it farther away.

Now these fries are seriously hot.  Too hot for the kids.  But they are hungry. Fries!  Now!

So I blow on one.  The speed of which I can cool these things down is not fast enough for the kids. Hungry! More fries! Now!  

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So my mother-in-law helps out with the cooling.

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Meanwhile, all the men are doing this:

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And soon the fries have cooled on their own so I stop blowing on them and can actually eat some.

But they are gone.

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This is okay though, because the waitress arrives with my entrée!  I can eat!  

Until…

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followed immediately by…

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Yes, they filled up on lemonade and fries. It was a necessary diversion at the time but now it has backfired.  They are done already and ready to go.  

Fortunately, the rest of the family helps out and the baby is passed from lap to lap and the four year old circles the table chatting with everyone.

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Everyone tells me to "go ahead and eat" while they entertain the kids.

I feel bad though, knowing that their food is getting cold so I inhale the food as fast as I can.

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I don't actually taste it.  I finish as fast as possible and take the kids back from whomever's food is getting cold.  

Finally, it is over.  Receipts have been signed and we are walking out the door. I wonder if the whole restaurant breathes a sigh of relief as we leave.  I certainly do.

On the way to the car, someone suggests doing it again soon.  They say they had a great time.

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And I always say "Yes!"

Because, you know, next time it will be different!

 

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155 Responses to what it is like to eat in a nice restaurant…illustrated with crappy pictures™

  1. Miriam says:

    I’ve sooooooo been there! Eventually it *will* be different, I promise.

    • minu says:

      I have so been here before….except i had a husband who never felt my daggers….and carried on like he was a bachelor :-(((

      • MiG says:

        Did he want the kid/s or were you insisting?

      • Brenda says:

        Ive been there as a parent of 2 and now grandparent of 8. The parent role in nailed in the above story and you do feel as every eye is on you and inlaws brains are wondering “what in the world, we are paying for this”/ But believe me that’s not what Im thinking. Regardless of behavior, I am looking around hoping everyone there sees my precious ones and every move they make is oh so precious! So relax and enjoy things change way too fast!

      • Jess says:

        My mother threatened to beat us if we weren’t dead silent during dinner. It worked for her, poeple gave us kids money everytime we went out ’cause they thought we were so well mannered. We just did it out of fear at first then for the money.

      • Kelly says:

        SAME HERE!!! What is WITH men??? They just don’t get it!

  2. Michelle says:

    As a new parent and a former employee of a nice restaurant, I can absolutely relate to this! Well done….hilarious!!!

  3. bahahaha I love these! Keep up the great writing, it’s like reading the days of my ife! :p

  4. Teri says:

    wow. perfectly captured. i never knew i what an awesome speed eater i was until my two boys brought out my potential…ah, the hidden talents of motherhood.

  5. KC says:

    I’m totally on this with you. We just don’t go to restaurants with toddlers. Thanks for making me laugh. I needed it after being awake for an hour and half int he middle of the night with a toddler who had turned her mommy detector up to 10 so that any time I thought she was asleep and shifted my weight to leave the room, she would wake up and scream mama! Needless to say she did not sleep in…Thanks for the laugh!

  6. Kelly says:

    I love the drawing of the baby’s looooong arms – they totally do extend them that way!

    And seriously with the servers – how do they not know NOT to put things in front of the baby? I had one set my coffee right in front of my little one the other day… :p

    As always, you are awesome – thank you. :D

    • pkjane says:

      Many servers are single and/or young and/or have not spent much time around small children. It is the server’s job to bring you what you order. It’s your job as a parent to make sure you notice what is put near your child and to promptly remove anything that might harm your child.

      • dawn says:

        So… it’s the parents’ responsibility to be on guard for young single servers who are interested only in performing the bare minimum their job requires rather than applying common sense to a situation. Got it.

        • bearcat says:

          Actually, yeah. It’s a clear spot. Most people specifically clear a spot because that exactly is where they want their food put, especially an appetizer that everyone is eating. Some restaurants train servers about the baby zone, but not very many and it’s hard to tell whether there’s a baby zone or not sometimes.

          I’ve been yelled at and subsequently tipped less for not serving the baby his/her food like I would an adult instead opting to put it outside the baby zone. Silly me for thinking parents wanted control over what their kid has access to. Can’t have it both ways, peeps.

      • Wa says:

        You’re kidding, right? I was a waitress for a loooong time before I had kids and am now a mom, so I definitely know both sides of this situation. It’s NOT hard and is common sense to do what I used to do: approach the table with the food and say brightly to mom/dad, “Where would you like me to put this?” Takes 2 seconds and everyone’s happy, rather than taking the holier-than-thou, “It’s YOUR problem/job” attitude. Seriously. It’s a SERVICE industry. If you’re not interested in doing simple things to work with the customer to make sure he/she is having a pleasant dining experience (rather than slinging their hot food wherever it’s convenient for you), maybe you shouldn’t be out front. If you find yourself regularly grumbling about low tips, you might want to take a look in the mirror…

        • Jen says:

          I’ve been in the service industry as a single person and of course I’ve been on the other end as a parent with small children. It’s common sense to protect children. Just about everyone does this naturally. Your job is to make the customer’s life as easy as possible, that’s why they are spending a week’s worth of grocery money at your restaurant. I’ve never heard of anyone being upset that a server didn’t put hot food in front of a small child. Don’t get your knickers in a bunch and use common sense. Golly.

        • Kelly says:

          I know!!!

  7. Jamye says:

    Totally know the feeling of eating cold food at record breaking speeds. Eating is now just something I have to do to live, no longer taste the food for enjoyment. lol

    Love your stories…its like I am there with you! You make something that in the moment is so nerve racking, hilarious. So sad and true its funny. I find myself looking forward to the next story.

    Keep up the good work and I am serious…you need to compile these into a book!

  8. notaparentonpurpose says:

    We are relieved when you leave. I go to nice restaurants to avoid screaming kids. Stick to Chucky Cheese, please.. or get a sitter and enjoy your meal with us.

    • SJ says:

      I know you stated this way back in 2011, but you’re ridiculously annoying. If you want to avoid kids at a restaurant then fork out the money and go somewhere nic-er. I love when people like you put on the snooty face at Applebee’s. It makes me laugh.

    • mc cool says:

      kids are part of the public, and always will be. if you can’t handle the public, you might as well stay in your house. you will never be able to control the public

    • Lindsay says:

      Why are you reading a parenting blog if you don’t have children (and most likely don’t like them either…)? Just to belittle those of us who do have our own tiny humans I suspect.

    • Kelly says:

      It’s people like you that I broadcast my children’s wild behavior to. I LOVE to make you guys writhe uncomfortably because my child is having a good time.

  9. Jonah Lisa says:

    What’s with the purple muumuu, Amber? Do some laundry for Pete’s sake.

  10. Ashley says:

    You know, you can’t really ‘avoid’ children unless you plan on going to an 18+ joint. If people don’t bring their children to restaurants and train them in proper behavior when they are young, what’s to stop them from turning into rude, obnoxious young adults. You know, the kind who are too snooty and self centered to laugh a little and continue enjoying their meal when some mama and daddy bring their kids to a nice restaurant? I don’t care if the restaurant notices my presence or my children’s. It’s a good experience for them.

    Once again, absolutely hilarious. I loved it! The part about the server is sooo true! Last time we went out i swear the girl was trying to see if the baby could be faster than us. She literally put EVERY plate down jn the baby zone. Lol. I wish I wasn’t on my phone so I could share it with my friends!

    • Tasha says:

      K, but if you’re going to take a kid to a restaurant, you have to actually do some of that teaching. I feel like every time I eat out, someone’s kid is screaming just because they can while their parents chat along as if they can’t hear or this is not their child. If they really won’t calm down, the responsible, decent thing to do, I mean, MODEL FOR YOUR KID, is to take it outside until it can behave.

      • Karen says:

        Ha. ‘it.’ That’s hilarious. I mean, really…

      • Bitsy says:

        AMEN! My best friend regularly took her youngest as an infant to Morton’s (our favorite Pre & obviously post children) he learned at a very young age to behave like a human child and not an obnoxious animal….all 3 kids did. She had an arsenal of activities to keep them entertained. We went earlier (5pm) with the littles to offend less. But yes, they were taught by ALL adults present and now they are the few children I can stand to be around….also attributed to a couple that WANTED kids. It’s amazing to me that the teachers and nannies are expected to raise kids. Our parents didn’t do that, I don’t know why my generation (35-45) are so lax when I know we weren’t raised that way!

        • Danielle says:

          Bitsy, your comment made me LOL :)

          You should know that the karma of motherhood means that you will be blessed with hyperemesis gravidarum, 2 weeks past your due date in summer with a colicky baby who has reflux. By the time your LO is around the 4 month sleep regression mark, you will have a dream montage with all the snarky comments you made prior baby, and then in a fit of terror, you will realise that your child is going to ‘one of those’ that people don’t want to be around.

      • mc cool says:

        never tell a parent how to be a parent… NEVER

      • Dan says:

        Agreed.

  11. Kirstie Farrar says:

    I love you. You are drawing my life. You just need to add one more kid……

  12. Sarah J says:

    I HATE going to restaurants with the in-laws!!!!!!! First, they don’t understand 7PM bedtime, especially if the kids haven’t had naps. Second, NO ONE helps me out. They are all too self absorbed eating, drinking and being merry, including my husband. No one occupies the toddler or pays attention to him until he is screaming their names.
    Then, we always get the waitress that brings the kids’ food last. So now, they are all so focused on their food when the toddler finally gets his that they can’t even stop to help him cut his food or get him any ketchup. 90%, if not more, of my meal ends up in a to go box in hopes of being able to eat when we get home. Most of what is missing was probably eaten by the toddler while waiting on his food. Oh but wait! I can’t eat when we get home because it’s bedtime so I’m S.O.L.
    The best example of just how oblivious they all are is right after baby #2 was born. I had a c-section, which means no heavy lifting for 4-6 weeks. I was wearing the baby in a carrier in case he got hungry. The toddler was potty training (not ideal timing, but he was ready) and had to go. I was the only one at the table that heard him… he wasn’t even sitting by me. I told him to tell Daddy, but Daddy was too engrossed to hear.
    So the 3 of us trekked across the restaurant to the bathroom. I had to lift him up to potty because the toilets are always too tall and then lift him to wash his hands. No one had noticed we were gone until we got back. My MIL said, “If you would have told me where you were going, I would have come along to help! You aren’t supposed to be lifting!” Seriously? Where the hell did she think we were going, to the kitchen to help cook?!

    • Mo says:

      Geez Sarah. Have you learned to communicate yet? Divorced? Still playing the martyr card? For gosh sakes, speak up. Ask for help. If you never ask, people are forced to assume & generally assume to stay out of your way.

  13. Candice says:

    I completely agree! Amber has a gift, I think!

  14. Candice says:

    Wow, seriously? I think that we’ll all be relieved when *you* leave after that comment. Why are you here, anyway, if you don’t like kids?

    Kids scream and whine. It’s part of who they are, and even the best parents deal with it on some level. Apparently, some childless adults are just as whiny.

    Sorry for the snarkiness, but I just get way too aggravated by immature people who seem to believe the world is made for their own enjoyment and anything that takes away from their pleasure is a waste of space.

    • Bitsy says:

      We are here bc we adore Amber. I think a different opinion/viewpoint is a great way to learn different takes on a particular topic.
      I have no problem with kids, they are our future. They don’t know any better until they are taught…it kills me how many people have kids that could care less about parenting…the world isn’t made for your enjoyment and anything that takes away from your pleasure is a waste of space too!!!We all have to get along.
      Why should ANYONE have to be miserable, enduring a screaming child? I know one instance where a screaming child (one of my 12 kids…best friend’s daughter) was acting CRAZY. She was taken outside, calmed down & told she had to use her manners(behave) or go home. Once inside, entrees arrived she flipped her wig. Was promptly picked up, left with dad while the rest of us stayed. (good kids stayed with mom).
      Next time we went out again about. Week later she acted like she just came from Emily Post’s school for 3 year olds….and never been a problem since.
      And I am the 1st person to walk by a table and compliment the littles and parents for being so pleasant while out for dinner, It shows parents that actually parent!!!

  15. Jill says:

    hilarious as usual!! I have never tasted a meal I’ve eaten while out with the kids…eat.as.fast.as.you.can and get the hell out of there! LOL!

  16. luvs2read says:

    Ahhh…LOL…so, so true! I only have one, but she IS a handful! Don’t forget to add drawings of the spilled food in the highchair and on the floor under the table. The baby zone is HILARIOUS!

  17. ww says:

    been. there. love it!

  18. Penina says:

    Ahh… memories!

    You could try places with play areas, too, if you have some in your town. But that still requires adults to do 20-minute guard duty trade-offs while the others eat. I also found *some* family-run restaurants are owned by child-friendly owners whose kids will romp with yours, and who know how to carry a tray of food quite gracefully over and around some serious Kid Action.

  19. d'Arcy says:

    Isn’t it funny how even when you are making hilarious comics about parenthood, people STILL inundate you with their advice and opinions? Your comics are amazing. I agree, a book is in order. :)

  20. Amber says:

    Hey now, my purple muumuu is my mom uniform. Don’t knock the muumuu!

  21. Kelly says:

    You have described our outings to resturants exactly – the baby zone, servers aware of said baby zone, wine, inhaling your food, apologizing for kid behavior, the crayon pick-up game, filling up on snacks before the meal (MY hubs always want to have their meal put in first and I’m like, are you kidding??? are you new???) and, especially, the sweating part. Yeah, let’s do that again. I love to pay for anxiety and stress. I love your blog! Keep up the good work!

  22. Scott Elkin says:

    This is so damn timely, you have no idea!

  23. Murasaki says:

    Ha ha!
    I say just go and enjoy it, try to keep it short and hope like hell the baby doesnt do a big sloppy poo because nice restaurant toilets never have change tables.
    I find booby on tap is a good way to occupy baby. You just have to order something you can eat one handed – not steak!
    We go to restaurants at lunch time too. That way you can enjoy a nice meal and snooty toots that dont think children should be allowed to breath their air (but will expect them to wipe their bums in the nursing home) can like it or lump it! Its lunchtime! Cheaper too.

  24. Chloe says:

    Oh I loved this, and so true! It’s funny how a situation so stressful to mums can be so much fun for everyone else. It is getting easier for us with a 3.5 and 5.5 year old. Although the little one is still a bit trying. But then we only ever go to places that are specifically not fancy because we can’t deal with the stress, even now.

  25. Hailey says:

    notaparentonpurpose – You’re special.

  26. Amanda says:

    Seriously, are you stalking me? Because that was like a scene from my life right down to the throwing daggers at the back of your husband’s head.

    Please, please give this woman a book deal.

  27. AmberS says:

    You clearly have a gift. Who knew that your artistic medium would be crappy pictures?

    As for us, the second to last time we took our kids to a restaurant, it WAS different. We got cocky. We took them to another restaurant not that long after, thinking maybe they were finally old enough. We got schooled. Probably not a shocker, in retrospect.

  28. Emma says:

    You are brilliant – I think you are about to have a serious following if you keep this up! Thankyou for making me laugh out loud!!

  29. Becky Oh says:

    Please keep going with this! I’ve got 4 kids at home.. ages 9 months, 4, 6 and 14… and these posts are priceless!

  30. Alison says:

    Too bad us moms are never dining together at the same time and place – it would certainly alleviate some pressure!

    I’ve just discovered your blog and am an instant fan. You really capture the madness and joy of parenting young ones. Bravo! Looking forward to your next post.

    Alison
    I’ve just started documenting my transition from working, breadwinner mother to stay at home mom. Hope you take a read!
    http://theidentityofme.blogspot.com/

  31. WordyDoodles says:

    Amber, I heart you and your ‘crappy pictures ™.’ I especially love the first one (ha, I almost called it a photo!) with the baby sticking his leg out, trying to avoid sitting in the highchair!! We are right there with you, lady.

  32. dana says:

    i LOVE this!

    lilfamily13.blogspot.com

  33. AngieWestminister says:

    OMFG this is so funny and right on that I nearly peed my pants. Please don’t ever stop doing these.

  34. Chris says:

    Fabulous. And did the lemonade by chance have strawberries in it? :) And notaparentonpurpose . . . I dont believe that . . . if you’re here I’m sad for you because a kid with hot fries would be your dream.

    My favourite part was what the men were doing while the shit was hitting the fan.

  35. Valerie says:

    Hilarious!! I didn’t realize how fast I eat as a mom until I went out with a friend and she wasn’t halfway done when I had finished everything on my plate!! Taste, what is that?! So so funny!!

  36. Shan says:

    Oh my god. I know this was supposed to be funny… and it was… but I have been there too often. Maybe when my kids are older I’ll look back and laugh (that’s what *I* keep telling myself).

    Oh, and it wasn’t my husband building a paper airplane for our older daughter (age 3), it was Gramma and Grampy teaching her how to blow the wrapper off straws (okay, that part was funny, but apparently not to an elderly couple nearby).

  37. Alex says:

    LOL! I love your art (the writing and the pictures) :)

    We had a great time at the Texas Roadhouse (we went to one in WI) because it’s “nice” enough for grown ups and works well for kids. It’s not a really nice restaurant, it’s a steak place/sports bar. BUT, they have the servers do line-dancing in the aisles and you’re supposed to throw your peanut shells on the ground. That means my kid can be loud and throw stuff on the floor and nobody cares! Yeah!!! The decor includes stuffed armadillos, horse saddles, fake cacti, etc which can be amusing for a toddler or preschooler to look at while you wait for the food or as a mid-meal break.

  38. Pingugirl says:

    you always have a gem somewhere in there. or multiple ones. this time it’s the picture of ‘the baby zone’ that I love. the long moving arms are great!

  39. Suzanne says:

    This is my life. Except double to 4 year old to be my 4 year old and 3 year old.

  40. Sara says:

    Amber you must’ve been stalking me, cos this is what happened last time we went out… ;)

    Seriously, well done, you are so witty and I looove your Crappy Pictures :)

  41. Gillian says:

    i love this comic.
    I dont mind seeing kids in restraunts, even before i was a mom. I mean yes its a pain, when the parents just ignore there screaming kids and let them throw food or misbehave. but i feel for those moms that try there hardest to get there kid to behave. restraunts are defiantely a pick your battles zone.
    I say enjoy this time. try not to over stress, and make best of a night out.
    Excellent job!

  42. LJP says:

    I love this :) We are lucky in our local branch of Pizza Express of all places. They are friendly, tolerant etc., and we always try and go when it opens so we are usually first in and have our starters when the next people arrive!

  43. Erin says:

    Hilarious! I’m sure most parents relate, the ones that don’t drug their kids (at least, that’s what I tell myself) ;) I love your writing style and the illustrations are genius! I look forward to reading more.

  44. StorkStories says:

    My favorite is the daggers at hubbys head!

  45. I only have one, so it *is* different for me. Easier. I am on the verge of two and this frightens me.
    We go into a fancy restaurant. My son sits (sort of). People glare at us for bringing in a 4 year old (or less) to a multi-course wine tasting dinner at a gourmet restaurant. His seat is cheaper because it doesn’t have wine, only milk and apple juice. and it’s cheaper to bring him than get a sitter.
    He eats well, only declaring (slightly too loud) how he likes this or that or doesn’t want to eat this and why (usually not a rude thing…something along the lines of “I don’t like leaves”). I have a small toy in my purse that he plays with on and off. In the coffee course before dessert we go outside for a minute to race up and down the sidewalk. Then back to eat something exotic like peach puff pastry with sabayon–which he gobbles.
    I will miss this.
    Even though I never get to eat anything at these (and so get quite drunk) because the 4 year old eats not only HIS food but mine too. Leaving me with just the wine.

  46. mummyoftwomunchkins says:

    Oh my gosh. Every single one of my experiences eating out has been covered by your lovely illustrations above. Yes to the baby with a mile long radius of reaching distance, the father ignoring the children to talk to his brothers and him receiving daggers to the back of his head, me having to deal with both kids at the same time, and scoff down whatever I ordered off the menu that I had 30 seconds to scan because the kids have gotten antsy within the 40 mins it takes for our food to come out! So hilarious (in hindsight of course), I love it.
    The other thing i regularly experience is at all you can eat places – where my husband will go for broke within the first 20 minutes (while Im organsing and feeding the kids) and be “stuffed” by the time I’m starting my first plate… lol

  47. MaW says:

    I have absolutely no recollection of getting crayons or anything to play with at a restaurant when I was little.

    It’s entirely probable of course that my parents couldn’t afford to go to restaurants when I was little, but I would also suspect that they didn’t want to. They would sometimes go out, which was when Granddad and Grandma came to look after us, which I loved when I was small because Granddad would give me a bath and ‘fly’ me around wrapped in my towel afterwards.

    The earliest visits to restaurants that I do remember involved having to sit there and behave myself, just like at home.

    Being the kind of child I was, I also remember being horrified that my cousin would just get up and wander around and nobody said a word. Although Mum would watch disapprovingly!

    There’s an argument for taking kids to restaurants to help them learn the relevant social skills, but there seems to be little merit in that when they’re young, especially if they’ve not got home table manners sorted out yet.

    Going to fancy restaurants specifically is probably a bad idea for you as a parent. Why? Because you worry about it too much. Why do something that you know is just going to stress you out? You’re not going to appreciate your meal, so you’re wasting money too. A family that gets offended by such practical considerations deserves a reality check.

    Hey, can you tell I’m a childless gay introvert?

  48. mishka says:

    all my family live overseas,babisitter not an option as kids just doesnt want to stay with anybody,so we do have 3 kid sunder 6 now but we never stop our life and stop going to restoraunts.its get challenging sometimes,but ithink all restoraunt owner have to understand food for kids have to be priorety and it would really avoid all noise if they bring fast not with our main meals but before. also we are blessedin New Zealand ppl more childrens friendly and alot of restoraunts have baskets with toys or even little playground.hey smarter even in eastern europe in better restoraunts they offer free babysitter:)for those who doesnt like kids noise you should beter go to bar not restoraunt to avoid us.pity on your boring quit life. and i want to say thank you who actually understand that its good to go out as a family and doesnt make a big deal if kids make somenoise. eventually they are used to be in such places and now my son who is 6 can order his meal, ask for extra sauce, take his siblings to toilet,ask if meal is ready all by himself.

  49. It’s been awhile, but I could have written this back in the day. Sadly, even at ages 9 and 12, mine aren’t all that more pleasant to go out to eat with.

  50. Aunt LoLo says:

    I get the strangest feeling that I wrote this. I MUST have written this. THIS. IS. MY. LIFE.

    *sigh*

    Next time will be different. Right???!

  51. Fiona says:

    That is way too familiar(especially with having 2 young boys) but I love to hear it in such a funny way! Love the pictures!

  52. Steve says:

    OMG. word for word. happens every time. thank you for making us feel less alone. ;)

  53. As a parent who braved the world of dim sum with two kids last Sunday, I approve this message. :-)

    I also blogged about it here (http://bit.ly/nNcdUA) so hopefully more wait staff who aren’t yet “career servers” will know to avoid the zone!

  54. Michelle says:

    I SOOO know how you feel!! Going out with MY parents is nice but not his family. His brother and mom ignore the kids and engross DH in conversation. We have 3 girls and, along with the things pointed out in the post, I’m the only one “allowed” to take the big 2 to the potty because the mens rooms are “gross”. >:-/

  55. Michelle says:

    LOVE this!! How do servers NOT know that if the only open space on a table is in front of a baby/child it doesn’t mean that the food “goes there”?? UGH!!

  56. Emma says:

    Thanks for making me laugh out loud again! I blogged about your post quoting you and I pinched a crappy picture. I linked back so I hope it’s ok.

  57. HeatherB says:

    The accuracy is uncanny. Were you hiding in the shadows during our recent attempt? Now we only go to places that have attached play centers and we sit closest to its door so that when our houligans (I mean children) bop another kid on the head we can jump in and stop further bloodshed. :)

  58. Nannette says:

    The thing is…when our kids were small…we didn’t eat at fine restaurants. Not only could we not afford them, or a babysitter, we also knew better. It just doesn’t work. It really lowered the stress level of raising two children. Local chinese, Burger King, and Pizza Hut. We didn’t get to taste real food again until they grew up and left the house! Now the bottle of wine, the fine dining, all get savored the way it should be. LOL

  59. MinnesotaGal says:

    Peeing my pants laughing (that happens a lot these days since giving birth…) But this post was so, so true to life! Thanks for the laugh!

  60. hahahahahahaha! Ooops. Sorry. Not funny. Frustrating. …ha…haha…HAHAHHAhA!

  61. righthook38 says:

    Great post! I love the illustrations. Keep up the good work.

    I must say, I was fortunate enough to have pretty well behaved children when they were little, so I never had that problem. But I’m quite confident that I will eat my words soon, as my son is now a teen and my daughter is dangerously close to becoming one. If her attitude becomes anything like mine was at 15, I’m screwed!!

  62. this made me soooo happy. I can’t even describe. The part where the men are all eating the fries? I snorted aloud. Pure brilliance. Now I’m jealous, but still, so happy. Bravo!

  63. Liza says:

    I like to bite the ends off the fries and blow through them :)

  64. Eryn says:

    This is wonderful! My mother still talks about how she didn’t eat a hamburger while it was still hot for like 47,000 years & I’m 30.

    My father? Doesn’t have a clue what she’s referring to.

    • Flor says:

      I have a clue about al
      the people you are
      following and somebody
      wont see you til she is
      47.What is this about
      Are you waseting money
      and stressing more the
      people I met are you doing
      in the wrong way shall
      we just welcome every.one
      to the great exibition I think
      is quick and less comicated
      less work for everyone

  65. Nadia says:

    Ha! Consider yourself lucky. I have to go through this with twin babies! LOL (but not really LOL)

  66. Anna says:

    ha ha ha! so true, my hubby still doesn’t get why i dont like taking the kids with us out to eat,and our eldest son’s almost 8!

  67. Heather B says:

    OMG its like you took the words right out of my head! And I only have one…

  68. Marlo says:

    Oh my gosh-I am crying with laughter! Did you follow me around with a camera last night? This was my dinner exactly. The only thing you missed was my 3 1/2 year old crapping his pants there!

  69. Diana says:

    I want to say my husband and I have laughed so hard, til we cried over many of these posts. The little details, like the sweating in anxiety… you captured it! And the pictures are perfect!

    For all the people dragging down the comments… I don’t get it. I get the feeling that advice is not being sought with these posts or feedback about raising children.

    Thanks for making parenthood, esp. motherhood, a funny shared experience.

  70. mockingbirdgrrl@gmail.com says:

    Having just discovered you I am going through your archives with amazement – it’s like you are inside my head – you describe scenarios like this one with such accuracy it’s like you were sitting there next to me at my birthday dinner with the kids last week! Your strips are refreshingly honest and hilarious – love it.

  71. Elizabeth V. says:

    The only thing missing to make this exactly like my last meal out was having to double the tip due to the enormous amount of smashed food under the high chair! ;)

  72. Baldrz says:

    What crappy drawings? They must be hiding behind the photos of my family at dinner.

  73. daruni says:

    Just found this blog and reading it while my 6 months old sleeping, it is really great to read. Thanks for sharing and make me smile, big one.

  74. Christine says:

    Just read this…I can only add that our adventure involved taking home a full serving of Chicken Parm in the diaper bag…not in a takeout container…straight in the diaper bag. Ours was not an experienced server either and the table was so small my dear son could reach almost anywhere. (We did eat the leftovers)

  75. Brenda says:

    The other night my husband and 2 boys (3 and 4) are eating a Mexican restaurant. We are in Texas so eating outside on the patio is still possible even in the winter. We do this because if they get loud maybe no one will care. Hopefully. And we are eating. I’m enjoying my margarita, my 4 year old is coloring. My 3 year old is standing up in the booth. The back of the booth happens to be a planter (outside, remember?) and there is another booth on the other side. Well I’m sitting there clueless when a woman comes and tells me that my child just picked up gravel from the planter and threw it over…. and it landed in their food. O.M.G. let me die of embarrassment. We paid for their food…. and will likely do take out until we recover from the trauma. LOL!

  76. Linda says:

    I have to remember too, that the fancier the restaurant, the longer the (is it intentionally timed?) delay between “seated” and “served” – and there’s only so many crackers in that package! HA!
    I laughed out loud at the plane!! Totally fantastic! Great skills! HAHAHAHA!
    Thank you!
    :0)

  77. amelia says:

    Yep, and this is why we have learned to stick to family friendly restaurants that are well known for their kids’ menu. The best was when we decided to go out with a few other families with 2 year olds….One big table, 8 adults, 5 hungry toddlers….whose idea was this anyway?

  78. Leanne says:

    Oh my gosh! I shoot daggers at the back of my husband’s head all the time! You tell the best stories! I guess life is that much funnier in pictures! You seriously have a gift!

  79. kat says:

    As a mom of a 13 month old and a 3 year old, my solution is the wonderful world of smartphones. Plop my darling 3 year old in her chair with bread and a movie on my iphone and she’s at least entertained for an hour. i call it my secret weapon after she’s bored of “reading” the menu, asking for water in her wine glass etc. hey, i’m entitled to go out for dinner and she gets to watch whatever she wants on the phone (plus her games). and don’t be bothered with others staring at you. always remind those evil eyes that unless they were spawned from pods, they were once pesky children too. bon appetit!

  80. Annette says:

    We JUST came home from having dinner at a nice restaurant with our 4 1/2 and 3 year old boys and almost 2 year old daughter. You captured it perfectly.

  81. Jenny says:

    Oh, yes, the son beaning some starched biddy in the hairspray with a piece of broccoli. Same child stuffing everything he could reach into his soda cup (we let him, it kept him busy.) Youngest daughter dislocating her own elbow when she grabbed my sleeve to tell me she needed the potty, that was fun!
    The things you had to do for distraction before smartphones! Making straw-paper worms, paper menu origami, balancing forks (best with older kids.) DON’T teach kids to use their spoons for a catapult! Ever!!!
    A good one distractor for everyone is to fold paper napkin-rings in half long-way, tear strips partly through, then unfold and make into a ring again. Flick ‘em, throw ‘em, whatever, they almost never go into other people’s tables. They do end up in sodas a lot, though!

  82. Jenny says:

    I forgot to add – we got in the habit of leaving really big tips to apologize for the mess, and haven’t gotten out of it yet /:

  83. Emily says:

    1. Great blog entry–very funny, and the simplistic, childlike drawings added to the effect. In this context, I don’t think your artwork could be called “crappy,” because it complements the subject matter.

    2. I read somewhere that, if you want to teach your kids to behave in restaurants, it helps to have “practice” fancy dinners at home. Have you ever done that?

  84. Jessie says:

    Good one dear! I am laughing my heart out reading your post. It reminds me so much of my family whenever we go to these Hamptons wedding venues.

  85. michelle dunajcik says:

    So, True!!!! And why can they not understand that if you are going out to eat it should have a game room or fast service. I stopped ordering dinners for about 3 years. appetizers only or I just order it to go. The older adults in our life still didn’t get the picture. try vacation with a group of formal eaters. Breakfast out (2 hours), Lunch out (one hour later because we started at 9 and ended at 11, so it’s lunch before nap at noon) takes 1 hour or more and then dinner (fancy restaurant at 5-7) No kid wants to spend 5 hours a day in a high chair. Hell, I don’t want to spend 5 hours eating a day.

  86. Sayantani banerjee says:

    I am a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugeee fan of yours…amazing stuff…keep it up :)

  87. Kbee says:

    So. Fricken. FUNNY.

    Thank you for reminding me, once again, why my husband will need to take on an additional wife before we entertain the thought of baby #2.

  88. Cheryl says:

    Oh, my, this is perfect! We just came back from a two-week trip to Florence, Italy, with our 22 month old and our 2 1/2 month old. Restaurants! Ha! Eating. Didn’t happen much. And then we had a very long wedding to attend..thanks for making me laugh.

  89. ChewyMomma says:

    Hahahahaha!!! I love this. I also love knowing that we’re not the only ones who live that experience. Seriously, I think we might be living the same life.
    Best part…how long that baby’s arms are, and the picture of you trying to get the baby into the highchair. XD
    Well done. These are always great.

  90. Ruth says:

    When my son was around 22 months old we went to a restaurant. We were all sitting in a booth eating. He decides to take off his shoe and throw it. It landed in the booth behind us. Thank goodness it was a lady with kids herself so she totally understood. I was so embarrassed. I’m so thankful that it didn’t land on their table or in their food.

  91. Sami says:

    Trick is to order then take the kids back out to the car for a drive, meanwhile your partner will phone when the food is served! Eat and run is the only way to go!

  92. Chandra says:

    Wow, your stuff is absolutely fantastic. And, all I gotta say is that for any complete ass-hole losers who are making negative posts…one day you’ll get what’s coming. Your arm will fall off, you will lose an eye, and your pet will die a slow death – all in the same day that you find out you are PREGNANT!!! Life is such a bitch sometimes…good luck with that.

  93. DianeMargaret says:

    I love it when the waitress hands our 2 year old a menu. REALLY? What do you think she’s going to do with that? Even if it’s a children’s menu, SHE isn’t going to order for herself yet! This is the one thing my hubby doesn’t get yet…I now have to read TWO menus and pick TWO meals…DON’T TELL HER WE’RE READY TO ORDER!!! That is MY decision, not his!
    Other than that, having been in the military (so he’s properly trained in it) he tends to be a speed eater, so he’s done LONG before me even before our DD came along. So as SOON as the food comes, he quickly eats while I cut and cool all the baby’s food. By the time it’s all done and she’s finally really interested in eating…he’s done and we switch places so I can sit and enjoy my meal!!!
    I love him!
    Even if she starts to fuss and make noise…he takes her outside or walks her around the restaurant to show her stuff until she’s happy again!
    I love him!
    He tells me, at that point, to just relax and eat…but I order the check and doggie bags while continuing to eat anyway.
    Did I mention how much I love him? LOL

  94. Eveline says:

    This looks familiar :))) but there’s an essential element missing: toilet time. The concept of a number 1 or 2 as code is unusual where I come from, so it’s not uncommon to hear my 4 yr old shout across the table: I have to poo!!!!

    Luckily we live in turkey and people understand english…

  95. Jessica says:

    I will never forget the time when my little one was starting to sit up in a highchair on his own. We decided to go to Olive Garden since we had a gift card. Usually, I avoid social situations in which I feel I will not be able to cope with but hey.. it’s FREE food! So we went and we have a young waitress seat us and take our drink order. We ask for breadsticks and a dish of alfredo sauce (I dip my bread in the alfredo when I feel like not caring about my diet for that day). She comes with the bread and alfredo sauce and I kid you not, she places the piping hot alfredo sauce DIRECTLY in front of our son. I felt bad later but at the times I frustratingly said “Seriously? Right in front of the baby?”

  96. Steph says:

    I especially loved the LONG arms that Crappy Baby had, and the daggers to your husband’s head lmao …. love your work!

  97. Lindsay says:

    My mascara is running, I laughed so hard! This is my life, every single time we go out. Thank you so much for posting; this made my day! (Especially knowing that I’m not alone!)

  98. MrsKumi says:

    I need to have this post come up every Saturday morning so I can remember NOT to make an attempt too soon. For some inexplicable reason, I think THIS is the night when we can eat out as a family.

  99. Beth says:

    This is MY family. Baby screams so much Daddy takes her outside. Middle child (girl) has to go potty. Mommy has the two big ones. He is 6, too big to go in the women’s room, too little to stay at the table. He has to come. Mom has to let the waiter know we’ll be right back, mom takes both kids to the Restroom. Boy has to stand outside the door. Daughter takes forever. Boy is mad that he had to leave the “game phone” on pause. Finally sit down at the table… again… baby becomes an octopus when it is time to sit… Now oldest child has to go potty. Baby starts up screaming, back outside for her and another fabulous trip to the restroom for me…

  100. XOXO says:

    Ahh the joys of not having kids. None of this sounds remotely appealing. Why bother going out? The whole time it doesn’t sound like the mother enjoyed any of it, was too busy fretting with the kids to even talk to anyone or listen to any conversation. It just sounds like a big hassle with very little joy in return. I could see it being more enjoyable after the kids are maybe 6 or 7 when they can actually sit quietly and understand not to shriek at the top of their lungs or play with everything on the table. Anything under 6 just sounds so stressful, esp with a baby/toddler. No thanks none for me.

  101. audre says:

    Story of my life!! Lucky for me, I found these awesome crayon catcher things that hook on to the highchair so they won’t fall or get lost. I have also gotten my 2 year old a leap pad with movies and head phones for occasions like this… Maybe not the best parenting strategy to sedate your child with movies at the dinner table…but it works dammit! I get to chew my food and taste it sometimes!

  102. Kim P says:

    I have 4 daughters. My oldest is 30 and my youngest is 25 now but I can still remember the very first time we took our oldest to a fancy restaurant. She was just about a year old. It was already a little late when we got there, it took forever for our food to arrive, and it didn’t take long for our daughter to get cranky. Just about the time our food was being placed on the table, she started crying. My husband, trying to be funny (yea right), said, just loud enough for everyone else in the restaurant to hear, “Stop acting like your mother”. With the exception of our crying daughter, there was absolute silence in the restaurant. Then, in unison, everyone else, and I do mean everyone else, in the restaurant said, “ohhhhhhh”, because they knew at that moment he was dead meat. We ate, we left, and once our daughter fell asleep in the car, we spent the rest of the night in complete silence. For some reason, insanity on my part obviously, we are still married.

  103. Liah says:

    Yay! It does get better. My baby is 5 now and he can usually make it through an entire meal without a major issue. I don’t get to eat leisurely but I do get to sit and eat.

  104. Linda Mechel says:

    I was recently at a restaurant where the server served all of the adults first and then served the kids. Needless to say the kids weren’t happy. By the time there food got there and we “blew” on it and cut it up out food was icy cold.

  105. katy says:

    i just sent the picture of you staring daggers at your husband to my husband because it so accurately sums up my emotions towards him on every outing for about 7 years. and i’m pretty sure that he’s been the catalyst for items being thrown at other diners, too! fortunately, our kids are a bit older now and it is NOTHING like this anymore. really, it does get better!

  106. Whenever I think of having kids”someday” someone, somewhere on the Internets talks me off the ledge. Love the drawings! First time looker, my blogger friend posted the link and I’m hooked

  107. Flor says:

    Your post are too upseting if you want to write smthg
    nice be clever and stop waseting my time too
    if you are writting here is for your own good not mine as far as
    I can see. Many people have met long ago most oc them within
    few months because that is what you want so keep it clean
    if you want that way be happy.

  108. LOL! At the first few pics of the husband’s head turned talking, having fun, oblivious to what is going on.

  109. Louise says:

    Just rereading this post – it’s brilliant! I just wanted to say that when I was visiting my sister in Johannesburg, she took me to a restaurant that had a big play area for children and STAFF to look after them, so you could eat in peace! Most of the seating was in view of the play area so you could also keep an eye on them. We has a leisurely brunch, drank our coffee while it was HOT and my son appeared at intervals to have a drink or a quick bite. Lovely.

    Of course, trying to get him to leave was another story…

  110. Crystal David says:

    LUNCH!! I’m a single mom with four kids. My youngest are 1 & 2… when walking into a restaurant they grow 2-4 additional arms… each.. I have learned to bring them out to eat during lunch hours. Its not as busy. Sometimes its cheaper. And no one makes faces at us if the children decide to sing songs til our food arrives.

  111. Melissa says:

    One word…twins.

  112. Danielle says:

    Love this! We went out for breakfast over the weekend with a couple friends who were in town (who don’t have kids). I should have forwarded this to them when they asked how come my family didn’t want to do dinner :)

  113. kate says:

    I just discovered your blog and I love it! I do want to share one thought, as a person who doesn’t have kids yet but is planning to try in a few years. when I’m at family gatherings (specifically reunions or Thanksgiving), I’m there to see everyone– adults, teenagers, children, toddlers, and infants. I’m not saying you should assume that everyone at the table is willing to give your child 100% of their attention the entire time, but please don’t assume that you have to rush through your own meal in order to “relieve” the family members of their baby-watching. I love being able to hold my nieces or nephews or cousins, or play with them, because I only get to see them about two or three times a year.

  114. Tara says:

    There’s something to be said about taking your kids out to eat to “teach” them proper manners. Parents taking their kids out and pretty much ignoring them while they run amok in the restaurant is an entirely different deal. And this goes for any store on the planet. There is nothing you need at Costco that is more important than dealing with whatever melt down your child is having. Lunch at Applebees shouldn’t trump a nap your 2 year old needs. Too many people do not parent their children. Too many people is raising snarky disrespectful children. Notice I didn’t say ALL parents. But too many parents. I am a parent. I have three kids ranging from 18 years old to 6 months old. So I’m not speaking out of turn. In 18 years of raising my kids, I’ve never had a kid melt down in public. I’ve never had a child running around a restaurant irritating other patrons. We take regular naps. We are home for bedtime. We take snacks along. We redirect our little ones immediately. Parent your kids people. It’s that simple.

  115. I’ve been known to pay right after ordering (because who knows when kid is ready!!), and also to leave with half my food in a takeaway bag. But when husband and I are out together, we have definitely lived through the situation you described! I could have been crying tears from laughter (or maybe it was hysterical sadness, I’m not actually sure). Usually one of us (husband) eats first and leaves with devilish!toddler, while the other (me) finishes in a hurry, inhaling the cooling food under the critical eyes of the other restaurant guests.
    I mean, my toddler behaves like an angel at the table and never makes a mess or throws food, and he eats like a normal person… just is finished after five minutes and wants “UP! OUT!”. :-/

  116. jax says:

    I am crying at work reading this. Tissue in hand, trying to be more quiet….
    I wonder if you were spying on us this past Sunday. Why is it so funny here but while it was happening, I was horrified.
    Love it

  117. Maggie says:

    Oh wow! This is as if I had drawn all this! Plus, I really draw kind of like that which will be even more plausible. You’re my soul mate.

  118. lilziny says:

    Lol at inhaling the food.

  119. Showtime says:

    Hubby and I were laughing so hard we could barely breathe. You almost made our children (3, 3 and under) orphans because we almost died laughing. He thought the fries part, the airplane part, and the wife shooting dagger part was hysterical.

  120. Jen says:

    Yes! yes! yes! I think my kids feel mama is nervous about the situation and get even more crazy sometimes. And this mama in the comic and the majority of us mama’s are trying! The parents that are annoying are the ones that just ignore the kids and let them get down and run around and scream and just keep eating oblivious. This mama was clearly pulling all her mama tricks. You do train your kids to be polite and have manners, but the younger ones don’t always have it down right away, hence the practice. And taking them outside to talk to them when they are screaming is good, but it doesn’t always work with a younger baby who just doesn’t get why we are there in the first place and then your in and out of the restaurant so many times you mine as well just grab your food and eat in the car while you wait for everyone else to finish. Kids have to grow up and learn and that is a messy process. My husband wants to help, but he definitely has trouble picking up on my darts sometimes. haha! You get him and his huge chatty family together and it’s almost impossible to get his attention. Normally another sister-in-law will see my darts aimed at him and will help me flag him down to help me. haha! That’s why I enjoy eating with my side of the family better. We are quieter and the adults are less chaotic so I can get hubby’s attention easier. haha!

  121. Rachel says:

    I always cringe when I see kids but lots of them are well behaved. I understand kids acting like kids- talking to people at the table is fine as is little games and coloring. What I can’t stand is when kids SCREAM and the parents do squat about it.
    My best experience was when I was at a middle of the road restaurant and a 4 ish year old had a melt down. Mom took him outside, no biggie-at that age it happens, but when he came back in he apologized to all the tables on the way to his own table. We all said we forgave him of course!

  122. Ian Wrigley says:

    It may have been said already, but in the first frames even the plates are laughing. LOL LOL LOL LOL is what I see from the place settings :D

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