Kids’ Night Out

Chris and I have enjoyed several date nights lately.  With the flurry of the holidays and my birthday came several opportunities for us to sneak out together.  Evie and Mack were feeling a little left out, so we planned a family date night last night.  I put on some makeup, Evie wore a dress and we ordered chianti and kiddie cocktails.  It was so special and fun.

It drives me crazy when people complain about kids in restaurants (and on airplanes…and libraries…and graduation ceremonies).  The common complaint I hear goes something like, “Those kids need to learn how to behave in a restaurant!!”  Well…DUH…what do you think I’m doing by taking them to restaurants?!  I’m teaching them how to behave in a restaurant! As any parent of a toddler will tell you, cordial and civil behavior is not instinctual – it is learned through example and gentle correction.

At least a few times a month we take the kids out to eat.  However, we are very mindful of when and where we take them. We finish our meal by 6:45, well before the “cool” people are out for dinner.  And, we carefully choose places that will kindly accommodate our boisterous brood.  Our absolute favorite place here in the city is Club Lago.  Its owned by two brothers with small children of their own, so they welcome us with open arms.  Even the regulars sitting belly-up to the bar smile at us and chat with the kids. We know we can enjoy a wonderful Italian dinner there without wanting to hide under the tablecloth.

I think we all need to remember that we were kids once, too.  And, as kids we probably annoyed some adults on more that a few occasions.  If you find yourself feeling frustrated and bothered by typical childhood behavior, then consider it payment for the torment you inflicted decades ago!

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6 Comments for this entry

  1. I completely agree with you! How are we supposed to raise children who are polite and courteous in restaurants/libraries/church if we don’t take them? I am always amazed at how people complain about their rude teenagers and then realize that they shun from taking them places because of it. Clearly, they NEED to be in more public arenas to be socially rewarded, or unrewarded, not just at home with parents who put up with it too much.
    We have to get over our own perceived embarrassment in order to teach them well.

  2. I worked as a server in a variety of restaurants for many years. I found that as a server if you can work with the families and children to make them feel welcome, every comes out ahead. Other diners appreciate great kids, the parents appreciate your effort. It turns out to be a win win deal : )

  3. Katie says:

    We love eating out as a family too and love that Betsy is learning how to act in social settings. I’m always impressed by how she’s excited to be out and rises to the occasion. We’ve found that brunch is especially fun – Betsy is better rested and its generally a bit less expensive so we can visit some nicer restaurants without ruining the budget (sola is our favorite here in the city).

    • This is GianCarlo from Club Lago. The staff at Sola has always been great with our children. My brother and I love having children at the Lago. It’s a shame that more restaurants don’t have the same attitude.

  4. Mana says:

    Now I know why you were all absolutely beaming in those photos you posted on FB. You were so proud of the kids and they were thrilled to be invited out on a date night. Thanks for your words of wisdom Maureen. We seniors benefit more than you know from your reminders about what really matters !

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