I’m those people. You know, the ones who take their cute but rambunctious children into public places. My kids go to pretty nice restaurants with me and sometimes throw jello onto the carpeted floor.
I don’t know why they put us on carpet. Honestly, it’s poor planning on their part. I do not “allow” my kids to drop their food. Mostly since it’s rarely accidental, but also because, come on. They can climb onto end tables, unload the dishwasher and navigate dog doors and stairs. I’m pretty sure they can stop dropping their tomatoes and saying “uh oh.” The reality of raising people, even little ones, is that regardless of what is allowed, they often break the rules. The floor gets covered in crap (not literally) and I feel guilt and sweat beading on my brow.
I don’t know what to do about it. I refuse to only eat at McDonald’s (my kids will happily eat calamari or chicken mcnuggets) and sometimes I need to eat out. That means the floor gets gross. The kids are sticky and the table is smeared with whatever they are having. They also somehow finagle their way out of the “safety” of the germy restaurant high chairs and stand up every single time. And I’m always surprised when they do.
Really, they’re good kids, especially in public. Cormac stares at people and Clara waves and smiles at whoever will make eye contact with her. They’re likable. We still get, “Are they twins?” regularly, but I know that will decrease in frequency as time goes on. We are less of a sideshow every day.
But we are a mess. I don’t know what to do about the jello on the carpet. I curb it to the best of my ability, but toddlers are disasters. We are generous tippers and if it’s terrible I pick up the big parts, but the guilt is always there.
We have never had to leave a restaurant because of their behavior, but I know that day is coming.
What do you do? How do you handle toddlerhood in public eateries?