Out To Eat With Toddlers

Rudy Mae

What our lunch started out as. Aw, look at these little angels…

Sammy G

Now, you might read this title and wonder if this is going to be a post with helpful tips and ideas about going out to eat with little ones. Oh no. This is exactly the opposite. This is me asking anyone, no, begging anyone, for their helpful tips and ideas.

My best friend Raven lives an hour away so we try to get together at least once a month. That is at best and does not usually happen. We are both extremely busy and often have conflicting schedules. So when we do finally make it happen, we like to have fun and often will do a quick lunch out with the girls. Now, the older they are getting, the more difficult this is becoming. Rudy Mae is 21 months and Sammy G is nearing 18 months. They absolutely do not want to be in highchairs. They do not want to keep a reasonable volume. They do not want to eat what we order. For both Raven and myself, these little stinkers are our third child. We have done it all before. However, both of us have nearly a 10 year age gap between the girls and their next sibling. So maybe we’ve forgotten the little things, but whatever we’re doing is not working. And we ARE ‘doing’. We’ve tried:

  • preventative measures such as bringing along a little snack while they waited for food.
  • After that was gone, ordering them a little snacky to continue to hold them over.
  • drawing, coloring, playing…
  • taking them out of their seats and letting them sit on our laps.
  • letting them walk around a little bit to get their energy out.
  • etc, etc, etc…

I really do not want to have to say “Well, we are just going to have to wait until they are a bit older to continue going out to eat with them.” We barely ever get to see each other, we have been best friends for over 20 years, and I really cherish the time I get with them. Of course, we do not HAVE to eat out, I realize this, but it is just a fun little thing that we really enjoy. If it really came down to it, we would temporarily pause this custom and start back up after they are a little older.

For now, though, if anybody has any amazing A-HA! ideas, please let me know. We could use all the help we could get.

What our lunch started to turn into.

What our lunch started to turn into.

Bashing drinks. General crankiness. Trying to explore away from us.

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Complete Again

I do not think it will ever be possible to put into words the way it felt to have the boys gone for over two months, or even more so, the way it felt when Caleab, Rudy Mae, and I saw them again for the first time.

For about two and a half weeks now the boys have been home and things have never been better. If Caleab and I were able to get anything beneficial out of the boys being gone for so long, it’s that we both had true realizations about life with the boys. We had many a good conversation while they were away. We talked about never taking them being with us for granted. We talked about no matter what, giving our all in encouragement and support. We have always been that way, but after a while sometimes, life becomes routine, and you might forget to really take a moment and truly from the bottom of your heart talk to your children about, well, anything; making sure to tell them how proud you are of them at every opportunity. We talked about our levels of patience. We talked about remembering they are children and explaining things thoroughly when needed. We talked about ways to help them grow to be more responsible, ultimately starting a chore regiment and planning on sticking to it for once, and an allowance, which they have never had in their 13 and 10 years of living.

The moment we were reunited, our enhanced way of thinking and parenting began immediately and I am certain that it has affected the boys’ behavior. They will always have their moments, but I promise you, they are both being more responsible and more respectful than Caleab and I have yet experienced.

And this is all from the parental views. You cannot even begin to imagine how having her brothers back has affected Rudy Mae. The three of them are all more in love than ever and as a parent it just really makes your heart hurt with love.

The first moment that Rudy saw Calum. (The boys were so excited, they could not even wait for us to unload from the car; they ran out of the house as soon as we pulled up. Thank goodness I had my camera ready.)

The first moment Rudy saw Ziven.

So happy to be together. (She might be feeling a little squashed though, haha.)

We have plenty of things that frustrate me: our financial situation, our job situations, our living situation. I have not thought about a single one of them since the boys have been back. I am so in love with my life right now. I know what true joy deep in your heart is.

Dirty Walks Part One

Caleab and I have arranged our work schedules so that we have a few less hours than your typical 80 hour pay period but this way, one of us is always home with Rudy Mae and we do not have to have anybody or any place watch her. This was very important to us and so we were willing to lose a few hours and work completely opposite schedules to make it happen. One of the toughest parts about this is how Caleab and I don’t get to see each other very much. We make the most of it and still keep our love alive and kicking, and of course as much as it hurts, the old line “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is quite true. Once in a while we will get a special treat like yesterday, where he was off due to the holiday and I did not have to go in until 830p.

Of course, though, this heat is being stubbornly absurd and we had to work around that. Once again, we tried for a ‘beat-the-heat’ morning walk, which did not really beat anything since it was sweltering already. We still loved every second of it, maybe especially because Caleab and I got to do the walk together with Rudy, and more so for her, maybe especially because she got to play in the dirt, one of her newest loves.

Waiting on the porch for Dad to come out.

The sunglasses arm pinched her little finger.

Trying to master the porch stairs, with my help.

Let’s go!

Father/daughter.

The area Rudy decided to make our play place.

Dirt, rocks, twigs, leaves, bugs, etc.

Rudy is very particular with her kisses. Ask her for one, there is a high chance you will not get one. Wait for her to kiss you on her own, and it makes you want to cry with love.

Dig, dig, dig, explore, share, learn.

She was very intently studying every piece of nature she picked up.

Dirty, pebble-y little knees.

She was very excited to show her dad something, whatever it was she was holding.

I don’t even remember what I was saying, but I was talking to Caleab and said the word “cute” about something, and once I said “cute” she did this tilt-her-head and smile softly thing; I was dying laughing! What a ham!

Leaves and twigs were still abundant on the ground from our recent storms.

We were trying to wrangle her into the shade to be as cool as possible, which didn’t work very well. She likes to walk where SHE wants.