To eat out or not to eat out – Toddler Twin Edition

To eat out or not to eat out – Toddler Twin Edition

Living with 3-year-old toddler twins is a new adventure every day.  Feeding time is tricky and a never-ending search for new things for them to eat and actually enjoy.  I cook probably 3-5 days a week and I’m not going to lie – Most of my meals are repeats and pretty boring.  We do a taco Tuesday each week, basically so I don’t have to think about what “type” of food to make, we do a pizza night each week (Naan Bread pizzas – I’ll share that recipe in a later post, and usually we do a pasta night or a chicken meatball night once a week.  Basically, I’m not a fan over stressing out about “what” to cook and whether or not my children will eat it!

So going out to eat is our favorite TREAT!

We lived in Chicago when we were pregnant, about a block or so away from Restaurant Row in the West Loop.  We loved it and food became a big part of who we are and what we like to do in our free time.  SO, after we had kids we always said that we would continue to go out and bring them with us.  Starting them off at a young age, we both thought they would eventually be two perfect little humans just eating out with their two adoring parents who love to eat and deserve a good meal out of the house every once in a while 🙂

Well, as it turns out, it doesn’t matter if you start taking your kids out to eat months after birth, toddlers still act like little crazy people when they are tired, hungry, annoyed, or the restaurant doesn’t have mac and cheese like momma makes it (out of the box!)  Weirdly, they also develop super human strength when they start to throw a tantrum in public which makes it difficult for you to get under control when they are working on a team and you pull something in your neck.

Many parents that I speak to always so “Oh no we don’t take our kids out” or something along those lines.  I don’t blame these parents and Jeff and I have often taken breaks of a couple of weeks of eating out because of a couple of bad outings with the Twins in a row.  BUT again we love food and I love not cooking it 🙂 So we will always go out to dinner and I have hopes that our children will only get better and more well-behaved as they get older.  One can hope right?!

 

Tonight, we are giving it another go!  Our dear friends invited us so I sent them a video of how my son was acting today and the invitation was still in effect.  It’s a nice restaurant so I’m slightly hesitant with bringing our 3-year-olds who just transitioned to big girl/boy beds last night and seem to be a little more “off” than normal.  I will finish the second part of this post after dinner!

I, like many other parents, carry a bag with me.  Not for diapers (they are potty-trained) and not for necessity things like bandaids etc, but a bag of activities and little things they love and get excited over 🙂

My most recent discovery was a sticker book.  Our wonderful neighbors bought them for our kids when they were stuck in the house sick for like a week.  It’s a book that has a bunch of different blank pages – Like a farm scene or a picnic scene – then there are pages of stickers that you put on each of the pages.  It keeps my kids occupied for a good part of waiting for table and even before the food arrives the kids are occupied.  I play a game where I let each kid pick 5 stickers and I place them on their fingers and then we take turns placing them on the pages.  It honestly works for a descent amount of time.

You can buy those books here.  I highly recommend!

Things I carry in my “bag”

  • Coloring books
  • At least 3 good crayons per child
  • FRUIT SNACKS – used as bribes to behave (I know this is kind of bad to bribe your children, but sometimes it’s necessary, especially in a nice restaurant J)
  • Stickers

My recent favorite is a sticker book.  Our wonderful neighbors bought them for our kids when they were stuck in the house sick for like a week.  It’s a book that has a bunch of different blank pages – Like a farm scene or a picnic scene – then there are pages of stickers that you put on each of the pages.  It keeps my kids occupied for a good part of waiting for table and even before the food arrives the kids are occupied.  I play a game where I let each kid pick 5 stickers and I place them on their fingers and then we take turns placing them on the pages.  It honestly works for a descent amount of time.

You can buy those books here.  I highly recommend!

Some things I always have in our car for restaurant emergencies

  • Extra outfits – my kids are potty-trained but they spill…..A LOT
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Plastic bag – To throw dirty clothes into

I always thought I would never be the mother that allowed their kids to bring their little computers out in public but those kids I see out with them are always quiet and seem well-behaved 🙂

  • Parents – Do you allow your kids to bring computers to dinner?
  • What else do you bring with you to keep them occupied?
  • Any other tricks or tips you can share with us?

So dinner was great for the most part!  Our friend’s kids brought their IPads so our children were watching movies almost the whole time.  It kept the kids pretty occupied so I can’t complain.

I’m pretty sure that a couple came in sat down and realized who they were sitting next to and decided to leave 🙂 but I can’t be 100% sure.  I’m not sure I can blame them, if I want a nice dinner out and semi-fancy place, I probably wouldn’t want to be sitting next to a table with 4 kids!

Please comment below with anything that has been helpful to you and yours!!!

Happy Toddlering Peeps,

Jillian

Photo by John Canelis on Unsplash

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4 thoughts on “To eat out or not to eat out – Toddler Twin Edition

  1. We love going out to eat too, but it seems to be hit, or miss with my 2.5 year old. If the place has dim lighting, my daughter immediately starts crying. Other times she thinks going out to eat is the most amazing thing, and she will people watch the whole time. I never thought of bringing her stickers with us. We will have to try that.

    • Creating little games with stickers seems to help my littles. I’m just trying to stay away from putting my phone or computers in front of them even though i know it works!

  2. we love eating out. Our toddler is in daycare all day and we found that goign out for supper is a no go on daycare days. so we can squeak it in on the weekends with him. we bring stickers, cars, dinosaurs and coloring books…. clearly we’ve had some bad suppers haha

    • Yes – We’ve definitely had bad outings as well. But I keep at it because i feel like if we stopped they would forget how to act in public! Ours just started preschool so we have cut down our eating out immensely. They are wiped after school! Good luck to you and thanks for sharing your tips….I’m bringing my sons cars with us next time!

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