Toddlers in restaurants

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?

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No Comments

  1. Kayla Fletcher -  February 3, 2013 - 6:34 pm

    Elijah is normally so good when we go out to eat. There’s been a few times where he gets fussy and I just normally walk him around and talk to him telling him he’s gotta be good in the restaurant etc etc. Obviously he’s 16 months old but so far it works for us. I’m sure a day will come though!

  2. Susan S -  February 3, 2013 - 8:02 pm

    I think you are doing what you can do. And you are teaching your children to eat in nice restaurants while they are little, so they will be ‘able’ to do it when they are a bit older and less cute to other patrons.

    If the restaurants have high chairs, they are expecting toddlers.

  3. Heather P. -  February 3, 2013 - 9:11 pm

    I too bring my toddler to restaurants. He is very well behaved as well, so never had to worry about it. It gets me when patents just let their children run around and throw their food. UGH!

  4. Laura -  February 4, 2013 - 11:25 am

    Personally I think if someone cant handle my toddler in public they are the ones that need to leave, unless I know something is seriously wrong with my daughter and I should be the one leaving. As for the food, I always pile our plates and whatever else neatly and make sure no garbage is on table but it on the dirty dishes, If there are no dishes i just put all garbage in one spot. As for the floor. I clean it, and carpet drives me nuts. I pick up what I can and well I tip well…But I also remind myself this is their job if I do their job completely, they may not have a job. So I clean to what I can where it doesnt look like we are horrible slobs. but there is always still a little work to be done after we leave.

  5. Nicole -  February 7, 2013 - 7:01 pm

    How do you handle the high chair situation? I want to start venturing out but we need two high chairs to contain the twins.

  6. Brianna dupuy -  February 15, 2013 - 10:04 pm

    Hi Jess…
    Mason drives me crazy in restaurants! But really, its not him, it’s people around us who I let get to me. I find myself worrying about disturbing the workers, and the customers, but then I also know that this is what happens with kids. I just try to remember that this is a very tiny season in Mason’s life, and in our life as his parents. Sure I need to regain some sort of control, but he’s learning how to be in public, so it’s all part of the process. Someday sooner then we know, it will be so different, and we’ll know what all those people meant when they tell us to enjoy it. 😉 It will be gone before we know it.

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