Saturday, 25 February 2012

Dining out with my Delights...

We went out to our favourite Thai restaurant on Saturday night to celebrate an Auntie's birthday with the rest of the local extended family. It has been a while since we dined out at a semi-nice restaurant with the kids at night... mostly because, hey, as much as I love them, if I'm going to drop some serious cash on a meal, I would much prefer to do so sans-kids as there is a slightly higher chance I will get to properly relax and eat/taste/enjoy my meal! Know what I'm saying, fellow parents?! The thing about dining out with kids is, there is just no telling how it will pan out - could be awesome, could be a nightmare, you won't know till you're in it with a screeching child delighting your fellow diners as you scarf down a meal that you don't even have a chance to look at let alone taste! The risk factor is high, but I think it's still good to do on occasion, on the chance it will be a pleasure and to give the kids a chance to enjoy it and of course learn how to behave in such a setting too.

So - we went - and lo and behold - it was lovely! Of course, we were well stocked with books, snacks and activities, as well as various exit strategies and plans for melt downs, etc - forewarned is forearmed and all that. We also made sure to talk through the expectations and 'Restaurant Rules' with Lily on the way so she knew what to expect. Turns out we didn't need half of our supplies as the excitement of the venue and company kept the kids well entertained! Lily was thrilled to be in such a grown up setting and was a delight -continually remarking on how dark it was outside, and how it must be realllllly late! Eli did extremely well especially given the reservation was at 6.30pm and we didn't eat till well past 7pm! We find the key to eating out is taking our wriggliest family member (um, Eli!) for a quick walk in the foyer or outside in the gap between courses to burn off some energy, which kept him happy in his highchair the rest of the time (when he wasn't busy charming the extended family and waitresses with his smiles and kisses and cute words, of course.... geez can this kid work a crowd!!)

Lily's 10 year old cousin brought  (via his parents)  sweet little gifts for my two - a sparkly lady bug ring for Lily and a little wooden kangaroo for Eli. Well. The ring was a huge hit. Lily was shocked into blissed out silence upon its reception. She kept hugging her cousin and saying thankyou and simply could.not.stop.smiling - the kind of smile where you try to contain it because the joy within you seems just too good to be true. The girl loves her bling...and a sparkly ring (in light of recent wedding festivities) was just too good to be true. We could not stop laughing at her glee, she is such a funny little creature!

Restaurant colouring books are the best!

Post meal bliss (and ladybug ring display)
Dinner finished at 9pm and we went back to my Grandfather's house for coffee and birthday cake. The kids were still going strong so we decided the game plan would be to go (cos hey, we were out of the house, so let's make the most of it!) and put Eli down to sleep in the KinderKot (our beloved little pop-up baby travel tent) but as Lily was now ever so grown up at 3.5 years, we decided to let her stay up and have fun with her cousin and hanging out with the adults.... when she got tired or whingy, we would go home. Well, Little Miss Party Animal had the time of her life, having fun without getting crazy, chatting to the grown ups and doing her best to monitor her own behaviour to keep the fun going as long as possible... I was so proud of her efforts and her behaviour. We also had a lovely time celebrating and chatting with family and finally took our little crew home at 11pm cos we the parents were exhausted!

A delight to dine out with my handsome hubby too!

We are big believers in routine and protecting healthy sleep patterns for our kids, but I think part of that is then having the freedom and flexibility to break out of that routine every now and then for a bit of fun and adventure. Children are so variable but it's worth trying new things and giving them the opportunity to learn and grow and explore those exciting new settings, even with the risks involved! Yeah, sometimes it is a disaster but I guess we all live and learn, right?

And as it turns out - I was truly delighted with my two new little dinner companions!


  1. Ah lovely! It sounds like a wonderful night out! The first pic of Lily with that ring is awesome, I love the expression on her face... she is just going to burst!!

  2. Oh my! Lily looks like she is going to burst in the first photo. I can imagine that a ring would be totally her kind of present!
    Looks like a lovely night out :)

  3. Snap Karen T - I think we posted our "burst" comment at the same time :P

  4. Your little girl is gorgeous! She is sure to be a heartbreaker when she grows up :)

  5. They look like they had so much fun!!! And yes, I TOTALLY get that it can be so much more relaxing without kids...and then every now and again, they are the best part of the night! So delightfully unpredictable ;)


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