Brace yourself! Bring a book. Wear wipeable clothing

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Image: Things You Only Know If You’ve Taken A Toddler to a Restaurant

Pink Sherbet Photography / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: pinksherbet

 

1. People will stare

Actually, they’re staring because your child just covered them all in a fine layer of spaghetti carbonara. (Oops.)

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Wine drinking gif

Via Real Housewives of Orange County / tumblr.com

 

2. You will bend down to pick things up 85,000 times

There goes the cup. There goes the fork. There goes the teether. There goes the spoon. There goes the bread (repeat until tears start to form in your sleep-deprived eyes).

 

 

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I need a nap gif

Via Real Housewives of Atlanta / giphy.com

3. Always ask for the blue roll

If you’re a seasoned visitor to restaurants with the under-fives, you will have learned that the blue roll cleans up everything.

 

If you ask for it, you will have also gained the grudging respect of the staff, who will do anything not to clean up after your child themselves.

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Clean-up sign

Roosh Inf3ktion / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: inf3ktion

 

4. Yes, it’s a meal, but not as we know it

For the starter, there’s a smear of rice cake across your front, combined with a tantrum about a banana. The main course is a refusal to stay in the high chair followed by a side order of screaming.

 

Pudding won’t happen, because you will have been asked to leave.

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mess

Lars Plougmann / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: criminalintent

 

5. There’s no such thing as a child-friendly restaurant

Yes, there might be high chairs and pizza-making stations, but it’s hard to stay friendly when 50 rampaging Oompa-Loompas start dismantling the counter.

 

(And yes, we’ll pay for the damage).

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SATC coffee

 Via Sex and The City / HBO / readysettroll.com

 

6. A toddler is the most demanding patron 

Toddlers have been known to send things back to the kitchen for being the wrong shape, slightly crispy, or not made of chocolate.

 

Of course, when we say "sending back to the kitchen" we mean "having an uncontrollable hysterical meltdown in public."

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Will Ferrell salmon gif

Via Step Brothers / Columbia Pictures / giphy.com

 

7. You will definitely be seated next to a disapproving old couple

Yes, Enid and Jim just went to their local restaurant for a quiet lunch. In comes your toddler, and has an "accident" just as their mulligatawny arrives.

 

Sorry, Enid and Jim.

 

8. Toddlers are not amazing conversationalists

When you go for a meal with your friend, the wine flows and the banter is non-stop.

 

When you eat out with a toddler, your three stock phrases are "no throwing", "stop hitting Mummy" and "please don’t eat the flowers."

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broed

Julie Edgely / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: julieedgley

 

 

9. Bring a book

Oh, not for you. You won’t read a book again until they’re about eight.

 

No, bring a book with lots of entertaining things for them to do. This stops them from putting the salt and pepper grinders down the toilet. 

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Boy with book

Kathea Pinto / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: kokopinto

 

10. Children love to eat with their hands

 

Children are so tactile and explorative! Bless 'em.

 

But while that might be cute in the sandpit, it’s really not so great with soup.

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toddler

Bradley Gordon / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: icanchangethisright