Before having my daughter I had zero experience with babies and very little interaction with little kids. I had never changed a diaper or wiped a snotty nose. In fact, I didn’t even like kids to be honest. I had no idea what to do with them. I still don’t. One thing about being a new parent though, you learn fast!
One of the things that always impressed me was seeing parents out at restaurants with their babies and toddlers. They would just be sitting there like normal human beings having a meal while the child was in a high chair or asleep in a pram. This fascinated me because it seemed so out of reach. A is amazing but taking her out when she was a baby was out of the question. This tiny tot can (almost) shatter glass with her screams. She has a set of lungs that would make any opera singer proud. We tried. We really did. It usually ended with us breaking into a cold sweat, paying the bill early and leaving two cups of barely touched coffee behind.
Then she turned two. I realized that we were doing her and ourselves a disservice by avoiding public eateries. I mean, yes it’s traumatizing having to apologize to the people next to you for the fork that flew their way but how else would she learn how to behave in public? And how else would WE learn to be together as a family?
I started taking her to the restaurant next door for breakfast once a week. It’s relatively quiet on weekdays and did I mention it’s right next door? Perfect for a quick exit. Do you know what happened? She surprised me the way she always does. My little madam sat in her chair, looked at the menu, ate her food and even asked for a cup of tea. She thanked the waitress and made a good friend. She exceeded all my expectations and all she needed was the chance.
We go out much more as a family now and there’s ups and downs like with all kids but our breakfast dates are so special to me. I love listening to her chatter away in a mix of English and baby talk. I love how she thanks the waitress for bringing her food and gets excited every time her teapot and teacup arrive. Being a stay at home mum I sometimes forget to live in the moment. I get so busy with chores or teaching her that I don’t slow down to appreciate the small things. Our dates are a way for me to stop and just enjoy being with my favorite little person.
Next on my list of things to tackle…family vacations!