We do try and eat out with the boys, we like eating out and I think it’s important to introduce them to new foods and new situations. Little Monkey is a dream to dine out with; he will choose a good table, peruse the menu, take full advantage of the coloured pencils and activity sheets and try everything on his plate. It hasn’t always been such a delight though; I remember the days of one of us ordering for everyone while the other took him outside for a walk until the food arrived, or plying him with breadsticks or raisins in an attempt to stop him from throwing the salt shaker at the diners next to us – kids just aren’t good at waiting for food.
Little Panda is especially bad. He will shout and scream and wrestle himself Houdini-style out of his high chair and bolt off through a restaurant at lightning speed. He will smack and throw things and after 4 minutes and 25 seconds of sitting down we’re both thinking ‘seriously, why did we bother?’
I vowed never to be ‘that parent’ who gives their child a phone or tablet to amuse them while we ate out. No, my children would sit nicely and enjoy family time together and not need a screen to distract them from flinging cutlery at every passing waiter. Yep. Those parents are crap parents.
In other, unrelated news, the boys got an iPod Touch each for Christmas (second-hand old style ones) not connected to wifi but loaded with apps to keep them amused in the car and errrm, y’know, other times when one might need to keep two small people amused and distracted from flinging cutlery at people. I can sense my ‘Mother Of The Year’ award winging its way to me.
I have to say though, something magical happens when we walk through the doors of Nando’s.
Oh, I know, it’s Nando’s and before you spit your latte out in disgust that I’m using ‘Nando’s’ and ‘restaurant’ in the same blog, their hummus is amazing and I like chicken. And it’s better than McDonalds.
Anyway, we’ve tried this a few times and assumed it to be a fluke every time. We go in, we sit down, the kids respectfully share the coloured pencils, we order, the food comes and they eat it. Nothing is thrown or spilt or spat out or dropped or smushed up. It all gets eaten and then we leave. We don’t even go that often that I can say they’re well trained. We go maybe 4/5 times a year.
It’s a phenomenon and I’m not willing to knock the planet off its axis by trying to work out why they behave so well; I’ll just cross my fingers and hope that it’s a trend that will spread to other places. I will complement the staff at Nando’s, Leigh though. Their restaurant is always sparkling clean, the food comes out super-fast and they’re polite. What more can you want?