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My Toddler and Restaurants Don’t Mix

Several months ago, Casey and I left my favorite restaurant in Indiana swearing that we were done going out to eat with Vivi. We had had enough and all the people who had been sitting in the restaurant that night had also had enough.

One thing that comes with picking up and moving across the country away from family is more nights out with the kids. We don’t have parents who live around the corner where we can drop the kids off for the night. We don’t have sisters or brothers down the street or across town who can stop in and watch the kids while we take a night out.

We do have friends who live in Indiana, however, and when I write “we” I really mean “Casey,” who are willing to help out to give us an occasional night out. While we’re awfully thankful for those friends who give us that little break from the little people in our lives, we can’t ask them to help us out on a weekly or even monthly basis. That means Addie and Vivi have come along for 99% of our dates.

Bringing Addie along isn’t so bad. Addie will sit there and eat her food and have some normal conversations with us. She’ll even be sure not to smear her macaroni and cheese across the top of her forehead. Vivi on the other hand is a terrible date-night dinner companion.

Several months ago, we took Vivi to Squealers. Ribs are my favorite meat food and nobody seems to do ribs as well as Squealers. So when we go to Squealers I’m all business.

That night as soon as the nice waitress brought my ribs out Vivi demanded to sit on my lap. Have you ever tried to eat ribs with a toddler on your lap? It wasn’t easy. Casey quickly finished her meal and then tried to take Vivi from me, but Vivi wasn’t going to have any of that. Vivi had decided that nobody else would be allowed to hold her, and if anybody challenged her on that little decision, she was going to show everybody around how long she could hold her breath. Then she was going to erupt and pop everybody’s ear drums.

Eventually Casey convinced Vivi to walk around the restaurant with her so I could try to enjoy at least a portion of my meal. After the other people in the restaurant started giving Vivi and Casey dirty stares, we packed our stuff, walked out of the restaurant, and declared ourselves done taking Vivi out to eat with us.

That declaration lasted for about 48 hours.

This past weekend we uttered another one of those declarations and this one may stick.

We arrived at the restaurant and got our table after a 20-minute wait. The waitress had a highchair waiting for Vivi before we got to the table. I put Vivi in the highchair and she immediately stopped breathing and began preparing to let out a glass shattering scream. I quickly took Vivi out of the highchair and sat her on my lap—which was exactly what she wanted in the first place.

There Vivi sat until our food came. Right as our waiter was bringing our food to us, Vivi quickly stood up on my lap and grabbed Casey’s water and spilled it all over the table.  The waiter had to immediately turn around with our food and gather other waiters to help us clean the water from our table.

Once the water was cleaned up the waiter set our food down and we began to eat. Vivi chomped down her mandarin oranges in about 15 seconds flat. She helped herself to two dinner rolls and had them devoured in about 2 minutes time and then she was done and demanding ice from my water glass. Instead of asking me for ice, Vivi reached across my plate and stuck her sticky dirty hand in my ice water and pulled out a big chunk of ice.

There I sat with my toddler chomping on ice with the water from the melting ice dripping into my lap. I did my best to eat my steak while Vivi sat on my lap. (FYI–it is incredibly difficult to cut a steak with a steak knife while holding a toddler.) Casey tried to take Vivi from me so I could eat my steak, but Vivi was not going to obey.

After we gave up, we gathered our stuff, walked out of the restaurant, and vowed we were done going out to eat with Vivi.

Read more about my family on Moosh in Indy or follow me on Twitter!

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