Eating out before children was one of my husband and I’s favourite things to do. A yummy meal that has been cooked for you and can then be enjoyed with a favourite beverage (in hubby’s case wine, and in mine hot chocolate!) is just bliss.
Eating out following children, particularly the twins has become more tricky, mainly from a financial sense as it is a costly treat and one we don’t have the luxury of any more, and also due to logistics of high chairs, entertainment, children’s menu availability and venue.
Obviously when we go out we want to eat someone who is child friendly but we don’t always want chicken nugget and chips, sometimes we want a proper meal. We also think it is really important that the children learn what is expected at the dinner table and see it as fun family quality time.
If we go out just the five of us, it can sometimes be hard due to the fact that hubby and I have to share ourselves around three toddlers that still need help with feeding, and chopping up meals, cannot entertain themselves independently yet and so want your attention and additionally have the patience of a nat, so waiting for a meal is like waiting for Christmas time again in their eyes..it might as well be years!
We have not let all this put us off, and we still go out. I still an often very conscious of noise levels, but then my husband tells me to sit back and look around, and my three toddlers are all sat in seats, they all eat really well and they all use their manner (ok, maybe prompted at times) and they are happy with the entertainment provided. They may not have a mute button, but actually they are very good considering.
This weekend we went out to an Italian chain called Prezzo’s for my brother birthday. We were so impressed by it. We are very organised now when it comes to eating out, and we ensure the table is set up with two high chairs, as BBcan now sit in a seat, I ensured I have magic doodle boards in my bag, that keep them very entertained and this prevents the dropping of colouring pencils and pens, and we order the kids food when we order the drinks. This means the kids meals come out, as we order our starter or main and we can get them mostly fed without our food getting cold and them being starving and having to wait longer. It works perfectly and the kids once finished are happy to nibble on garlic bread or try some of our food. It is a great way to get them testing. This weekend the twins tried calamari!
The size of the pizza that turned up for BBwas massive and would have done both him and me. The spaghetti Bolognese the twins shared was delicious and a hefty portion and both meals came with half a pizza sized piece of garlic bread. This was finished off with chocolate ice cream and a babychino (which they felt very grown up with) all for under six pounds a set meal!
Little Madam did lower the tone when she did this…
But then I can’t really blame her, as a chocoholic myself I would have been tempted!
As we left we made our usual apologies to the people dining around us. One lady eating with her daughter said they had made their meal and had been a delight which made me very proud, but also said we should not apologise as they have to learn how to eat out. She told us to enjoy it, as they would be 23 (her daughter’s age) before we know it, and we certainly intend too!