I’m sure most of you reading this will totally feel my pain when I say this is the word I found to be most accurate to describe the experience of eating out with a 6 month old baby.
Over the last few weeks we’ve been enjoying long leisurely lunches on the weekend and more and more I had noticed envious looks from fellow parents, mainly the ones chasing their toddlers around the pub garden. Then the wise words started.…’enjoy it while it lasts’, ‘make the most of being able to eat’, ‘won’t be like that for much longer’, and we have smiled back empathetically knowing that things will change as we watch them be dictated to by their 2 year old; but part of me couldn’t help but feel smug as I sipped on my sauvignon while my baby dozed peacefully.
Fast forward just a month and here we are at the beautiful Pig; not with toddler I must add, just a 6 month old starting on solids. It’s our wedding anniversary and we wanted to do something special with B so we thought a lunch would do the trick. The transition to solids has been pretty straightforward so far, but now we’re in public, at a lovely restaurant, with other people to witness the carnage that is about to unfold.
It begins ok, apart from trying to push/drag/carry a Bugaboo Bee across what feels like a mile long gravel drive leading up to the most beautiful stately manor that is The Pig (point to note: The Bee does not cope well on rough terrain). We are greeted by a wonderful host and then ushered into a quieter part of the restaurant with just one other couple, good start. After spending a good 10 minutes deciding on the best place to position the pram, the high chair arrives- hmmmm we’ve not seen this type before- it doesn’t look very secure and has no table!? So I strap him in regardless and pray he doesn’t fallout. And then we reset the table; moving literally everything within arm’s reach to the other side of the table- so on one side you have us and EVERYTHING, and on his side – nothing.
My plan of attack was to get the feeding over and done with before my food arrived. I start by preparing the delicious meal I have lovingly made at home for him, and while my back is turned he has managed to find his way basically IN the herb garden situated next to him (rooky error mom), he’s in love with it, pulling, grabbing, eating it, and every time I move him he screams. Whilst this fiasco is in play other guests are now starting to arrive in our area, along with another baby fast asleep – cue smug parents.
So the plants are still there and he still wants to be in the plants so we have to re-think our set up… again. Finally it’s time to feed, and every other mouthful he is slipping down in the high chair! Now we both have parsnip in our hair, up my jeans and on my neck; daddy is of course sparkling clean. Then comes the tense part, where you’re close to the end of the meal, but he’s really enjoying it and you know it’s about to run out but he’s not done. I’m nervous, sweating slightly and then it’s gone and it’s game over and he’s losing it. God he’s a greedy little…
So he’s causing a bit of a scene but it’s pretty loud in there so no big deal until this guy across the room does an exaggerated turn to see what all the noise is; as if you couldn’t fucking tell it was a baby you ass! Now turn yourself back round and get on with your meal (obviously I said none of this out loud). Mr H is trying to ‘shhh shhh shh’ the situation but now I’m all mad at the guy who turned, I mean I wasn’t particularly fond of the lady with the cackle or the guy discussing his new black 4×4 range rover, with heated seats, tinted windows, 18 inch alloys, oh and how silly of me the 0-60 in 10 days- whatever.
Anyway as Mr H would say I’m probably exaggerating and I may have taken it slightly personally so I brush it off and deal with my now very upset child who has just noticed the herb garden that we already dealt with – perfect. So the answer is clearly a nap- isn’t this always the answer? Now if it’s one thing I know how to do, it’s how to get my baby to sleep, so I pull out my ace and bingo we’re rolling within about 10 minutes. And then it is me that is smug and all ‘I got this’ because my baby has been fed and now he’s asleep. So I celebrate by feeding myself and enjoying a rather large glass/bottle of malbec and kick back until he wakes.
So as chaotic as it was it was still fun and I’m lucky enough to have Mr H who I can roll eyes and giggle with, because if you’re not laughing then you’re crying and crying is just shit. Before we leave we of course have to do the standard exchange with the other couple and baby; ‘Ahhh how old is he, isn’t he cute, blah blah blah’. And as we leave I can’t help myself, I have to say it, even though I don’t want to, I don’t want to be that person but it’s like I can’t control myself, I’m literally hating myself as the words leave my mouth….’ENJOY IT WHILE IT LASTS.’ What a dick.