Do you remember the days pre-kids, when you could go out as often as you like and stay out as long as you like? Well, forget them. Those days are gone. Eating out, with or without kids, just isn’t the same nowadays. This photo was from Nathan’s 28th birthday, when his face was slightly rounder and our lives were freer. It wouldn’t last. Happily, most of the other people in that photo also have kids now. But there is hope…and I’m gonna lay it out for you.
This post should really be called “Eating out without kids when you have a super-clingy baby”. When Roo was a baby, he would happily be left with anyone as long as they were wielding his bedtime bottle and dummy. So, we could skip off to dinner without a care in the world. Eva, however, is a different baby. She’s the archetypal product of not-entirely-intentional Attachment Parenting and her preferred method of sleeping in the evening is with a boob in her mouth. Sadly, not all babysitters offer this service.
But we have recently managed to have TWO! Meals out without her, wouldya believe? The first was at a Thai place around the corner while the children were babysat by two of their Godparents. The second time was in Winchester, when all four Grandparents took the mission on. Both times were relative successes, but there are still glitches. Here’s what we’ve learned so far:
1) Take cash. It’s essential for a quick getaway if you’re in a big group. You can just leave it with someone trustworthy and run.
2) Keep an eye on your phone. Most babysitters will hold off contacting you if possible, but they may have a question that can easily be answered, like “Where’s the biscuit tin/valium/key to the drinks cabinet?”. If you’re concerned about how the baby’s doing, send a text. Prob best not to call in case they’ve just got the little beggar off to sleep.
3) Know how much you owe. Again, essential if you get The Call and have to leave in a hurry. When we went out on Saturday, I worked out the total from the menu before we even ordered (we had enough time…it took blimmin’ ages to order). Whack some service on top, allow for an extra drink or two and I knew we had enough cash to cover it. I know it’s uncouth to get a calculator out and work out your share when you’re on a date. But when it’s a birthday meal for 34, it’s kinda essential.
So, there you go. On Saturday Eva lasted 2 and a half hours before we got The Call. Thanks to the super-slow service, we were still only halfway through mains but at least we’d had some food in peace. We gave our money to a trusty friend, my leftover rice to a less trusty friend, made our excuses and left. On our way out, we say bye to K&A, joint mamas to toddler twins. If anyone knows about The Call, it’s a mother of toddler twins. They understood.
We raced home (I was driving. And I drive fast) and Eva stopped crying the second I took her. There was nothing wrong except the absence of Mumma. She may have called us home early, but I think we won that round.
And you can win too. Just try it…