JK has been really busy between work projects and school. So, last week, he was telling Monica that he was done a big project, and done school for the week, so we could do something fun as a family the next day. He asked what she would like to do, and she replied, "I want to go to a restaurant."
We were a
little puzzled, since we really don't go out to eat as a family. We'll grab the occasional slice of pizza while we're out at the mall; but, sit-down restaurant outings are usually reserved for JK and I as date nights, sans kids.
We told her ok, thinking she might forget about it. But she woke up the following morning and spent the better part of the day talking
about going to the restaurant....how she wanted to order off of the menu,
place her order with a waiter, and hear the specials of the day. It was
SO cute. We talked about what she might want to eat, how we need to
behave in a restaurant, table manners, etc. throughout the day. I
asked if she wanted to go for pizza (JK had suggested Pizza Hut) and she
said, "NO, A RESTAURANT." Apparently pizza doesn't qualify as a real
restaurant experience, haha.
So JK and I decided on Applebees,
got ready while they were napping, and were ready to head out when
they woke up from afternoon naps. I packed a couple emergency snacks, a couple quiet toys for distraction, and water cups for the girls. I also mentally prepared myself for the very real possibility that we may have to cut the meal short and get our food to go, in the event of a melt down. Best to keep expectations low, just in case!
We arrived at Applebees, grabbed a booth and a booster seat for Lauren, and set the kids up with some place mat menus and crayons.
And then...the most amazing thing happened. WE ACTUALLY ENJOYED OUR MEAL. Monica reviewed her menu
choices, ordered her own meal, and said please and thank you to the
waitress. Lauren sat like a perfect little lady in her booster seat and
barely made a peep. We had a great waitress who was
super speedy getting our order in and keeping the food coming.
Needless to say, JK and I were pretty surprised at how well everything went. Meals at home are often stressful events. I'm popping in and out of the kitchen every few minutes for something forgotten, the kids noisily voice their delights and/or dislikes with the food, and I spend so much time cutting up food into tiny pieces that I often don't eat until everyone else is nearly finished. So, I think it is safe to say that we will be willing to try to go out to eat as a family more often.