Friday, February 29, 2008

Taking Your Children out to Eat

Ok, I'm probably going to get massively flamed for this but I know other parents read this blog from time to time and I just have to ask: Do you take your children out to eat with you?

I've only done this a handful of times. Twice with Arwen and twice with Annabel. Each time my children were well behaved. Arwen got a bit excited but settled and colored with her crayons, ate her meal and followed with desert. With Annabel she sat in her booster while we ate. Afterward we tipped (10 dollars on a 35 dollar check, which is our norm) and went about her business.

But here's the thing. I read some restaurant blogs and I get the impression that servers dislike children. I'd truly hate to be tipping above and beyond to someone who sees me walk inside with my child and think to themselves, "great another brat".

I know some people don't mind their children, I've seen it myself. I've waited tables myself with obnoxious children. But not all children are terrible, some are respectful and deserve the opportunity to enjoy a day and meal out with their parents. Just like I'd hope not all servers get irritated when a family shows up to a meal, kids in tow.

So do you take your children out to eat from time to time? Or is it just me? And if so how do your children behave?


Katherine said...

We've take Aurora out with us regularly and have been, at least since she was 2.5. She's always been expected to behave and not bother others, and we always take her out of the restaurant, if necessary (which has only been twice in almost 5 years). I've never sensed a problem with servers because of her. I've taken her with me to casual dining places and more formal places (where they don't have a kids menu!)

Personally, I don't think too much about kids being in a restaurant unless they start misbehaving, screaming, throwing things, running around the restaurant, making a huge mess. I also have no problem complaining about other people's kids to the management or to the parents.

As long you make your kids behave, they have every right to be in a restaurant, especially a casual dining one that caters to children (kids menus and the like).

Erin said...

We take Hailey out to eat with us almost every time we go. She's usually pretty good...sometimes she gets a little restless towards the end and wants to get down and walk around (at Ruby Tuesday's the waitress carried her over to this big talking deer head one time and now she's obsessed with it!). We have to find distractions for her. Her latest thing is sorting the sugars/sugar substitutes. I guess it runs in the family, I loved this as a kid as well. She sorts them all by brand/color and then throws them all in a pile. I'm sure the servers don't love it, but whatever. As long as she's not making a scene, I figure they should be happy she's quietly amusing herself. The majority of the servers we've had, even the guys, always talk about how cute Hailey is and they talk to her directly and ask her questions and whatnot. She's always very polite, saying "thank you!" and they love that. She used to make a HUGE mess on the floor when she was younger and we'd always clean it up, and every time the waitstaff would come up and say "You don't have to do that, that's what they pay us to do!" But we always did it anyway. And I clean off the booster/highchair and whatnot too. We did get one waitress one time, a young b*tchy girl that obviously had no experience w/ kids...she's the only one that I can remember ever being rude to Hailey and charging us for her meal (usually they're always giving her free milk refills or a free meal altogether even though she eats like a horse!) I mean we wouldn't take her to a fancy restaurant, but like Ruby Tuesday's, Applebee's, Olive Garden, all those places, oh yea we take her anytime we go usually :) Unless Dan and I are getting the rare treat of a kidless meal!!

I just remembered, it's funny because when she was a baby the staff at different restaurants loved to take her and carry her around(not out of our sight of course) and ooh and aah over was nice because it gave us a break to eat and nobody minded having a baby around. Esp. the Chinese restaurants here in town, I don't know what it is with the Chinese but they LOOOOOOOVED her! :)

Erin said...

We'd take her to a fancy restaurant when she gets older, but at her age I'm not chancing it! LOL As if we ever go to FANCY restaurants...

Jaime said...

I'm so glad everyone responded and you also take your children out.

I think that some people (especially those without children) don't realize that we have kids to SPEND time with them. Sure there are moments when we want to go out sans kids but otherwise we did give birth to include these little people into our lives.

My children are not perfect and have suffered little mini meltdowns but that's to be expected and each time I've handled it, fortunately it's only been in Hell-Mart.