This chilly and rainy weekend we decided to drive an hour to a little town called Trinity for supper and to stay the night at a fancy hotel. We also did lots of walking and "family dates."
(I let Cohen play at these water grates for 45 min at a time. There is no traffic where we live, plus, I am right there beside him)
(walking around Trinity on this windy day)
(throwing rocks in the ocean)
(hiking to supper)
(testing out the luggage wagon)
We had been wanting to check out this fancy-ish hotel for a while. We heard the food was good. When I called, they explained that supper was 5 courses with no choices. Jon and I felt bold, and decided to try it with Cohen. I ordered a plain chicken breast for Cohen (since every single other thing they served had stuff he was allergic to), and Jon and I brought all our reinforcements (toys, snacks, iPad). By the time the first little course came (a tiny salmon cake on a silver spoon), Cohen was pretty much over the whole sitting in the high chair thing. We eat out at least once a week with him, but it's usually at a pub or family restaurant where he can drive his cars all over the table and run around a bit while we wait for our one single course of food. So this was different. And what did we do? We turned on the iPad to his favorite show, and let him watch the show for the rest of the meal. It worked perfectly, though the waitress seemed maybe just a little judgmental about it.
Jon and I are usually pretty strict about how much screen time the dude gets, so this was a total treat for him. And I don't regret it at all. Jon and I enjoyed our four more courses in peace, got to chat about life and This American Life podcasts, while Cohen was safely right beside us. Other times we have taken a really fancy/expensive meal to-go to eat in our hotel room, but there is something nice about eating in the actual restaurant.
I am curious about what other parents do when they want to eat at a fancier restaurant. Always get a babysitter? Skip these kinds of restaurants for a few years? Bring the iPad? iPhone? Or maybe some two-year-olds are just content to eat and sit quietly for 1.5 hours?