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.

Short Trip to the Parents

Enough about having to part with the boys, I know!, but I just need to mention it right quick to explain why I was at my parents’ house. To drive 2 and 1/2 hours with the baby in the car to drop the boys off to their other set of grandparents who were going to drive them out to Minnesota, I really felt like I wanted to not just turn right back around and drive home. I wanted to feel like I could justify that kind of a drive with something a little more upbeat and lengthy. Five minutes at a gas station holding back tears did not seem worth the drive. As soon as I had all the plans set in stone with the boys’ grandparents and knew that we were going to be meeting at a gas station just minutes from my parents’ house, I called my mom and asked her if Rudy Mae and I could spend Thursday and Friday with her (Caleab could not get out of work and I just happened to be off those two days). Of course, she was game and more than excited. A short, random trip up north does not get to happen often, so we tried to make the most of it. And of course, I took plenty of photographs.

A strawberry plant in my parents’ garden.

A hiding gnome.

Line drying the bedding that Rudy Mae and I were to sleep on.

An odd looking fungus that Rudy Mae was peering at with me, if you notice her two little hands supporting her crouch.

Harry the Dog and Rudy Mae are always best friends when we visit. It reminds me of the ‘Carl’ books.

Fresh herbs, an awesome cast iron plant stand, and a watering can.

Beauty was all around us.

I could have taken photographs for the longest time in my parents’ backyard. There was inspiration everywhere I looked. It was a beautiful day back there.

My mom brought an old doll down for Rudy Mae to play with.

Eating lunch at the island.

She is starting to be very silly when I take her picture.

Finding food she dropped is like finding new food :)

Getting pedicures!

My lovely Aunt Karen and wonderful Mama.

Rudy Mae, who was sitting on my lap the entire time I was getting a pedicure, found her swimsuit in the diaper bag and insisted on it being put on. It was a very relaxing pedicure.

Mom, Aunt Karen, Lillian, and me.

We spotted Lillian air-drying her newly polished nails out the car window and had a giggle.

Poor girl was carted around all Thursday and Friday. She probably hated the car so much in those 36 hours.

Moma, Mama, and the bebe.

My Aunt Jacque and Rudy Mae, after a nice Mexican lunch with as much familia that could make it.

Lillian, Parker, Natalie, and Aunt Karen. We were all sitting around chatting for a while after the food was gone.

Tia Mary, Mom, Aunt Jacque holding Rudy Mae. Tia Mary had brought cookies for everyone after we ate. Delicious.

We talked about books, movies, television, and more. I really enjoyed lunch and the time with my family.

Caleab’s brother Courtney’s wife, and my friend for years and years before I ever even met Caleab, Lynn, and her daughter Vivian stopped over for a quick visit before I had to get back on the road to Yellow Springs.

Rudy Mae and Vivian played in my parents’ backyard for quite some time, pretty happy to see each other.

Rudelle Mae.

It was very surprising to me to see Rudy sitting in the grass. She couldn’t stand to touch it for the longest time.

Rudy Mae, 15 months, Vivian Louise, 12.5 months. Cousins 10.5 weeks apart.

Vivian didn’t want to be in the chair anymore, but Rudy Mae was quite comfortable and stayed put for a while.

As I drove back to Yellow Springs without the incessant talking and video game noise of my boys, the silence was overwhelming and depressing. Rudy Mae was fast asleep within 3 minutes of starting the drive and I felt terribly alone. I put on envelopingly beautiful classical music and instead of wallowing in the quiet, I cherished it. I thought about the positives the summer would bring the boys and soaked in the incredible landscape. I started to feel so much better and actually enjoyed the rest of my drive. It was an indescribably beautiful day.