Monday, February 1, 2010

Sometimes it's Better Not to Ask

For some strange reason I often ask Michael what he wants for dinner. I don't know why. He always answers dinosaur noodles or nothing. But, I keep asking hoping that maybe he'll ask for grilled chicken, potatoes, and green beans. Yeah right.

So, I asked him on Saturday and I actually got a different response. "I want to go to a restaurant."

Oh. You do?

The first thing that came to mind was the really bad night last fall when we tried to take Michael out to dinner. The night when I had to inhale my food while Andy kept Michael from tearing the place apart. The night when Andy carried his untouched meal out in a box while I hauled Michael out in a foot ball clutch. The night when Andy and I swore never to take Michael out to dinner again.

I asked Michael if he was sure he didn't want dinosaur noodles. Nope. Restaurant.

Andy and I exchanged looks. Are we really crazy enough to give this another try?

Why yes, yes we are.

Don't worry, we didn't go completely insane. We decided to go to Panera, which has pretty low dinner traffic and is easy to leave in a pinch if necessary.

Michael was pretty good. He did stand up on the seat a few times, but if that's the worst he does, I'm happy. He even ate some of his dinner too, which was even more impressive. Overall, it was a decent evening out. When we were done eating, we even had enough energy left to head to the mall for a little while. I might even be willing to do it again some time.

Later in the evening I was thinking about how difficult Michael can be when we take him out. I was trying to think of times when I've seen other people's 3 year olds making a scene, but I couldn't. I was feeling like a lousy parent until I though a little harder. It's true that I don't see many 3 year olds making scenes, but the more I thought about it, I realized that I don't see a lot of 3 year olds out at all. Maybe the only difference between me and other parents is that I'm crazy enough to try and take my 3 year old out.

9 comments:

Beth said...

If it makes you feel any better, we hardly ever take the boys out to eat. It's just never a good scene. They have a thing against staying in their chairs, and Seth no longer eats at restaurants at all. So we only rarely attempt it, and usually, it's just better for everyone if we stay home.

Karen said...

You make an excellent point about not seeing 3 year olds out. I have been taking Michael out recently with me and have been pleasantly surprised at the results. I am sure that there will still be bad scenes but I feel like we have turned a corner. And right around that corner are those times with Katie!

DesiDVM said...

Okay, huge jinx coming...but I get the sense with all of our little guys that maybe they're calming down a bit on some of the 3-year-old foolishness. J used to be TERRIBLE at restaurants, standing up, trying to crawl under the table, knocking stuff over, throwing sugar packets around, making a racket and generally embarassing us. We took him out to Red Robin a couple of weeks ago when a friend was in town and it was amazing the difference - not only was he super well-behaved, he actually ATE ALL OF HIS FOOD. And he's picky just like Michael. Will wonders never cease...

Stacey said...

I think there is something to that, but I also think our minds tend to filter out "bad" behavior in other kids when the behavior isn't really all that bad.

I know when Cole was in t-ball class I spent the first day thinking there was something horribly wrong with my child who moved too much and didn't follow directions very well. Then the next day I decided to watch another child as if he/she were my own. That child seemed just as "off" from this perspective.

Mama Mia said...

B goes out to restaurants at least twice a week, and has FOREVER..but we bring a backpack loaded w/ things for him to play w/ and healthy snacks for him to eat while we wait. We also tell the waitstaff that we DON"T want his dnner early b/c after he eats he is done and wants to get up. So he eats w/ us, then if he eats well, I pull a surprise dessert out of my bag...
Heres to more meals out!!

Mel said...

I agree with Desi, that it seems (knock hard on wood) that our 3.75s are settling down a bit. And Analese also LOVES Red Robin! Basically any restaurant with mac n cheese on the menu. I don't know why I bother asking her what she wants to eat, either. It is either mac n cheese, animal mac n cheese, or shells n cheese.....

Steph said...

Sounds like a success. We take Cooper out now and then, and it's only in the last month that he has EVER ordered anything other than chicken nuggets and french fries. He branched out on our first visit to a Red Robin by total surprise and ordered mac and cheese and apples. I almost fell off my chair. And, he ate it. Something must be in the water.

Julie said...

I say keep trying with the restaurants. We eat out every Friday night and Lana does great. She hasn't always done great, but she has learned how to behave in restaurants, what is expected of her, and now she enjoys it and behaves so well. It helps that she likes to eat, but even so, we bring crayons and paper or a doodle board and we always request her food comes with the rest of ours. I think the more you do it, the better Michael will be. Of course, do it when he is agreeable, not when he has the 3.5 year old crazies--LOL!

LauraC said...

Dude, we have avoided ANY restaurants where we can't get things quickly packed up since um, FOREVER. It is one of those remaining things that I have envy of with one-baby people. We still frequently go out to eat but I bring along iphone and ipod touch to entertain them so we can eat.

I just get so freaking tired of eating in, doing dishes by myself that I keep taking them out even at times I know I should not. Thus the times where Nate has screamed at me in public!