We, as a family, are dining in

Published 10:02 pm Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It was several weeks ago when we, as a family, made an important decision. We, as a family, decided we were no longer going out to eat Sundays after church.

There were several reasons. The first was our desire to cut back on calories. The second was our desire to cut back on spending. The third was our desire to maintain our sanity.

As the parent of just about any toddler will tell you, managing a little one in a restaurant is a challenge. The best-behaved child in the world (not mine, by the way) seems to go crazy at any food establishment where you don’t have to pump your own ketchup.

This anti-dining out sentiment lasted for several weeks, and we, as a family, all found the experiment to be a success. It takes a little planning, but it was nice to be able to come home, enjoy a nice peaceful lunch, and then head out to run any errands we needed to do.

And then came Sunday. We had a lot of things we had to get done after church and wanted to be able to stop somewhere, grab something quick and then leave. The decision was made to stop at a popular steak house, one we’ve had some success with at the past, mainly because it’s usually pretty loud and no one notices if Sutton goes bananas.

We arrived at the restaurant and were fortunate enough to be seated adjacent to a family with a toddler in a highchair. This was good, as they managed to entertain each other at least long enough for us to get our drinks. We placed our orders, and the food arrived quickly. We fed Sutton, who had managed not to throw, yell or basically come unglued during our visit. Greg and I ate our food at a reasonable pace, with me even managing to use a knife and a fork, something I’ve yet to master while fending off a 20-month old.

When we got up to leave, we inspected the floor, only have to pickup one stray tomato.

It was a success.

“See?” I said. “It’s possible. Maybe we can start going out to eat again.”

Greg just looked at me and then he said, “I can count on one hand the entire number of times my family went out to eat when I was a child. And two of those times, “dining out” meant eating at Jack’s.”

Perhaps he’s right. Perhaps it’s not just that dining out with a toddler is hard. Perhaps it’s just not a good idea to get her more accustomed to waitresses than eating at home.

We, as a family, think he’s probably right.