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June 14, 2010

A Little Slice of Heaven, with Cheese Sauce on Top

The girls have long-since been regulars at several eating establishments around town. Since they were about five months old, I’ve taken them out with me to lunch once a week or so, and the four of us usually go out to eat sometime over the weekend.

Those first couple of months, we would time our outings so the girls would nap in their car seats. Around nine months, they started eating Cheerios, which served as “entertainment” while Mommy and Daddy enjoyed a quick bite to eat. After the girls turned a year old, they graduated to sitting in their stroller, and I augmented their Cheerios snack with cubed cheese. They were usually content to sit for 45 minutes or so.

When I started feeding the girls “big people food” after their first birthday…and they balked at even a mashed banana…I feared it would be a looooooong time before the girls would be able to eat out with us. I set their 18-month birthday as a goal for them to enjoy a meal at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

Although the first couple of weeks of “big people food” were a rough go, the girls have grown to enjoy a wide variety of food at home. And I began to share little bites of my restaurant food with them now and again, in between snacks of Cheerios and cubed cheese.

About a month ago, I decided to give the girls a try at eating off the menu in a restaurant. I had in my bag a back-up plan…cubed cheese, whole wheat bread, two avocados, and diced fresh strawberries…in case they balked at the new experience. Fortunately, I didn’t have to break out my stash.

The girls’ first restaurant meal was at our favorite Mexican dive, a full six weeks ahead of my original goal! They seemed to inhale a chicken quesadilla, rice, and black beans. I was so proud!

Since their inaugural quesadilla, they’ve eaten a cheeseburger, wood-grilled veggies, and fresh fruit at a restaurant downtown; and a grilled chicken breast and steamed broccoli at another of our hang-outs.

These meals haven’t exactly been relaxing…I am constantly reaching and wiping and encouraging…but it’s still so nice to have a break from eating in. And it’s so neat to feel like a “little family” out for a nice lunch, as opposed to a married couple trying to sneak in a quick bite while juggling a couple of kids.

For now, I’ve vowed not to let the girls eat out more than once a week. And I am very careful to follow the restaurant meal with a few “strict” meals at home, most often encompassing brussel sprouts. I don’t want the girlies to get any ideas about demanding restaurant fare on a more regular basis.

At some point this probably means I’ll have to curb my eating out, as well. I don’t know how much longer they’ll sit while I eat, knowing they, too, could be having a treat more delectable than Cheerios.

I've been meaning to write this post for a while. It just so happens to fit in with the Multiples & More Question of the Week!

7 comments:

Mohini said...

I used to feed them beforehand and then give them their snacks and table scraps (gosh - that sounds mean!) at the restaurant. But, now we have a system going - take them hungry and immediately put some snacks in front of them. We order and I feed them a light meal (brought from home) while we are waiting for the food. Then I give them pieces of our food while we are eating. Of course it isn't a cakewalk but more manageable.

Cuz I'm the mama! said...

Wow! Great job and ahead of schedule. I love it. We've taken the girls out to eat a handful of times and now, at 9 months, they are getting quite challenging to take with us. The last time we went it was absolute chaos and everyone was looking at our table the entire time. Not fun. So I'm not sure when we will brave doing it again. Our eating out may involve "ordering in". :-)

reanbean said...

Sounds like the girls are becoming great eaters, and I think it's great that you're taking them out to experience new places and new foods. My guys love almost any kind of rice and any kind of bean (although black beans and red beans are at the top of the list).

We don't eat out a ton, but I'm always surprised at how well behaved my kids are in a restaurant. They're so entertained by everything going on around them, and yet they still manage to pack away a decent amount of food. I'm at the point now where I don't even need to take any back-up foods because I know they'll eat something no matter where we go. Sounds like your girls won't be needing any back up foods from now on either. :o)

Rebecca said...

I'm so glad that we started taking the kids to restaurants early on...I really think it made a difference. They are, by no means, angelic at this point (22 months...arghhhhh), but they are better than some!

Lani said...

Thanks for playing along with our QOTW!

strongblonde said...

omg. you're now my personal hero, lol. we've been out to eat with the kids under 5 times and they are basically 9 months old!!!!!!

maybe we just have to try to start going at off-peak times?

Megan said...

I remember very well the first time we took all the kids out to dinner and we all actually ATE. Well, everybody ate but me - I was pretty busy cutting up food for everybody. But it was so nice to be out and feel like a normal person again.