## Friday, April 12, 2019

### Eating Out with Kids: It's an Adventure!

It's always an adventure when you take four kids out to eat at a restaurant.

As we entered, the host asked us, "How many?" It's a simple question. Unfortunately, the answer isn't quite as easy. I'm never sure which one of these to go with:

1. "There are six of us."--this answer is simple and true, but it lacks the basic information that a large percentage of those six might end up flinging food across the room.

2. "There are two adults and four kids."--now we are forcing the host to do math. Also, this answer doesn't take into account the wide-ranging age difference between the kids and how that will effect the dining experience for all involved. And there's the question of how many kid menus will be needed.
 Kid menus: Fewer pages; more crayons.
3. "There are four of us, plus two kids."--this makes the two younger children seem less important than the two older ones. It also makes the two older children seem like adults. (They are not.) (Despite what they might think.)

4. "There are two adults, two big kids, and two little kids."--and a partridge in a pear tree.

5. "There are two adults, a nine year-old, a six year-old, a two year-old, and an eleven-month old."--this is a good way to totally confuse the host. But, this is how we introduce the family at the movie theater or anywhere else that charges kids differently based on age.

6. "There are six of us, but two will be in high chairs."--this is the one we went with this time. It was only partially confusing.

Unfortunately, the host heard that as "four people and two high chairs," so he directed us to a table with four chairs around it and room for only four people. Apparently he didn't think the kids in the two high chairs needed access to the table.

Eventually he found us a table for six, pulled a couple of chairs away, and tried to put the two high chairs next to each other, not realizing there must be an adult between the two high chairs at all times.

The table for six was the perfect size for us. Or at least it should have been. If we each had a sixth of the table we would have been fine. But, an eleven month-old baby has a tendency to grab anything he can reach, ranging from salsa, soda, salt shaker, straws, spoons, forks, and/or knives. So, in order to keep things out of his reach, the rest of us had to scrunch together, giving him almost half of the table to himself.
 You would think he can't reach any of his brother's french fries. You would be wrong.
It's a little-known fact that babies can reach up to three times farther than their body length.

When they brought our food to us, the server warned our older children, "The plate is very hot!" Then he told the two year-old, "Your plate is not hot. You can touch it." This was true. However, the food on the plate was very hot, as she promptly discovered when she flung a steaming hot french fry into her mouth.

If it's such a hassle to take the kids out to eat, you may wonder: why even bother? That's easy. We have to wrangle the children at dinner whether we eat out or at home, but at the restaurant we don't have to cook and we don't have to do dishes. Sometimes it's just nice to let somebody else clean up the french fries off of the floor.

Edited from a post originally published on 4/11/2017.