Eating out has always been a fun thing to do, before we had Joshua it was a treat night out or a fun way to enjoy family celebrations like birthdays. But when Joshua was younger, dining out rather lost its appeal as it became hard work. He would be noisy and disruptive and he was difficult to keep in his seat as he wanted to find, then stand under the loud speakers to listen to the background music. So we were less keen on meals in restaurants as family parties, they were not relaxing, with one or other of us having to take Joshua out for a walk mid-way through as a distraction, while waiting for the food to arrive.
I laughed out loud at the birthday party depicted in ‘There She Goes’ as it was so familiar to me, apart from Joshua has never tried to remove his clothes to sit in his underwear! But the confusion of the waitress and the pitying looks from fellow diners were very familiar and the desperation to do anything to keep your child quiet, at any cost, so as not to draw too much attention to him, have all been a familiar experience and could only be written by someone who has personal experience of such an ordeal.
Joshua now enjoys the sociability of eating out, and he loves meeting new waitresses and trying to gain their attention. although his eating can be hit and miss in that environment – apart from ‘Donald’s’ – in that he may either eat everything or nothing. I have finally learnt to have the ipad in my bag, ready for when he gets too restless and often Shrek or Madagascar will keep him calm and quiet and stop him from trying to leave the table. We have to choose our restaurants carefully as we would feel uncomfortable in somewhere too quiet or too smart, that would simply be asking for trouble and drawing attention to ourselves. Our simple aim, when we are dining out with Joshua, is to enjoy delicious food without drawing too much attention to ourselves and to get out again, in reasonable time, relatively unscathed.
Dining out on respite weekends and on rare nights out is a treasured treat; we are able to linger more over the meal and can choose restaurants that would not appeal to Joshua , either due to the nature of the food – so we can enjoy spicy Indian food for instance – or perhaps an unsuitable environment – such as upstairs seating or somewhere too posh ,full of diners out for a romantic meal for two. what is for sure is that, dining out , without Joshua, is about much more than simply eating.