Luke, Erik and Charlie at Sambo's last week.
This picture was taken just minutes before a major meltdown.

1. Don't do it. You're an idiot if you think your 2 year old is going to sit there and carry-on intelligent dinner conversation with you. He doesn't sit at the table for more than ten minutes at home. So, why will he sit at a restaurant for an hour? This will not end well, no matter what you think.

2. If you ignore Tip #1, or are pressured into going out to eat by relatives and/or friends, try to act like everything is normal when your toddler is throwing a tantrum because he can't get down and explore his new surroundings. Make people think that it is more of an honor for them to get to have your child disrupt their dinner than the annoyance it really is. Say things like, "Isn't he so gosh darn cute?" when he throws his food on the floor and screams in their ears. This might work if you say it a lot.

3. Be grateful when your toddler climbs under the table because then you can act like this bad experience isn't happening to you. The other customers will think you are just a normal family out for dinner if they can't see him. Booths work best for this kind of behavior because you and your husband can use your legs to block your toddler's exit without drawing too much attention to yourselves. Don't trick yourself into thinking the restaurant floor is worse than your kitchen floor at home. At least they clean theirs everyday.

4. Be prepared to buy an overpriced peanut butter and jelly sandwich for $7,99 that your toddler won't eat.

5. The only way that you might be able to keep your toddler at the table for more than five minutes is by giving him lots of sugar, i.e., chocolate milk, hot chocolate, chocolate sundaes, chocolate cough drops, etc. Let him drink the coffee creamers. Heck, let him drink coffee if he wants to. Yes, it will make him sick. Yes, it will give him an awful sugar high (and low) that you'll have to deal with later. Yes, it is unethical. However, none of that matters when you are in the moment. Just do what you have to do to keep him there with you.

Luke out with Gramma and family in Solvang.
I believe he's on his 10th cup of hot chocolate in this picture.

6. Be happy, even if you have to pretend. Remember that you are the idiot who is paying for the experience of taking your toddler out to eat. So you better enjoy it. If someone else is paying for you, then you should of used the money that you would have spent on dinner for a babysitter.


  1. Oh my gosh Cristin, you are so funny! I was laughing out loud - probably because it is SO TRUE!!

    I love the pictures!

  2. I know -- why do we torture ourselves into thinking "this time it will be okay; I can manage" when we know we paid money just to look bad in public!
    My sis-in-law had an experience once that was so bad with her little girl that the entire restaurant erupted into applause when they got up to leave. That would mortify me.

  3. The other day, Zeke and I went to lunch with Jimmy, and Zeke only ate 1/2 a saltine cracker and lots of chocolate cake.
    I was kind of hoping a 2 year old would be easier to take to a restaurant than a 1 year old, but now I won't have my hopes up. :)

  4. So true! As for number 5... we TOTALLY bring handfuls of dum dum lolli-pops with us when we go out to eat so we can bribe them to be good. It works most of the time, but then we have to deal with the low afterward (and the guilt... and possible the cavities in their teeth). Luckily Kaitlyn is starting to get better when we go out, but Gavin is impossible!

  5. Luckily Jonah isn't to the stage yet. Although yesterday he figured out how to climb out the high chair. IT'S BEGUN!..(this is Caitlin by the way. It always is)

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  7. Step 1: Hire babysitter
    Step 2: Go out with husband alone
    Got it! Thanks!

  8. Its important to remember that you don't go to a restaurant to make lifelong friends :-) You go because you want to get out! Number 4 is my favorite, try taking a toddler out for lunch in Soho and feel the wallet pinch as your child eats NOTHING from the plate that just cost you $21 :choke:

  9. i love reading your blog, u'r a great writer. I know this is probably horrible to do, but if my husband and I really want to go out to dinner (without spending another 40 dollars on a babysitter) we bring a portable dvd player. my daughter does not move a muscle the whole time. its' SOOO beautiful. before my husband and I had kids we saw a couple do that and we thought it was the most ridiculous thing, and now we are hypocrites



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