The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

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Monday, September 15, 2008


Three Things A Mother Learned From Dining Out With Her Child

I broke another of my steadfast “rules of parenting” this week. I took my two-year old out to eat at an “adult” restaurant – i.e., an establishment where sparkling water is served, all entrées (even the vegetarian option) are priced above twenty dollars, and there are items on the menu that include the addition of crème fraîche.

I generally try to avoid places like this if my daughter is coming along – as I am anxious to steer clear of the dirty looks of diners who have probably hired a babysitter in order to enjoy a relaxing and childless meal.

But it was well past dinner time, we had already found a parking space on Fourth Street in Berkeley, and we were getting a bit desperate after finding that the taco joint we had been planning on going to was closed.

I hesitated in the doorway of the only other culinary option available nearby. Eyeing the candles and long-stemmed wine goblets on the tables, I had visions of glass shattering on the floor and napkins in flames as Emi squirmed in my arms.

“Wanna go get breakfast!” (She says this when we are at any restaurant, at any time, because most of our meals out consist of breakfast at Bubba’s Diner.) “I hungry!” And since my husband on an empty stomach can get just as cranky as my child, I was outnumbered and we were going in.

The fact that they had highchairs did make me feel a little better. And although my daughter was reasonably well behaved during most of the meal (I’ve decided that stickers are one of the best inventions ever), I simply could not relax for fear of when the meltdown was going to occur.

I moved all the cutlery and wine glasses out of her reach. I talked to her about using her “inside” voice. I took her outside to run around on the sidewalk in between courses. I quickly scooped any food item that was accidentally dropped on the floor. In short, I was acting like more of a spazz than she was.

What have I learned from this experience?

1) Sometimes I really, really need to chill out.
2) Even so, with a child in tow, it is much easier to relax in an environment that includes a Mariachi band and plastic cups.
3) My daughter loves mashed potatoes with crème fraîche.

By Shannon Matus-Takaoka

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Very funny and well-written!

My eldest daughter was usually very well-behaved on outings, so I got daring and took her to a fancy meal at Green's when she was a toddler. I'll never forget my normally reliable child hurling her muppet baby figurine across the dining room, where it landed in some woman's very expensive, very perfect bowl of tomato soup.

I guess my daughter was just reliably being a kid!

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