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The Dinner Folly

by Lori Sciame | April 4th, 2013 | Preschool

sushi barWhen wishing a coworker happy belated birthday today, I asked her how she had celebrated. A cloud came over her face when she stated that she had went to a restaurant with her husband and children. A few moments later, she looked at me with sadness, then blurted out through tears, “Not great!” Of course I asked her what happened, and she lamented about how the night had turned into a fiasco.

What happened was that her husband had planned dinner at an elegant sushi restaurant for the celebration, yet he failed to hire a babysitter for their toddler and preschooler (RED FLAG #1). After a full day of being at work and the children at daycare, the family of four dragged themselves, exhausted, the 45 minutes to the restaurant (RED FLAG #2). Once there, they ordered the quickest thing on the menu, sushi, including wasabi on the side (RED FLAG #3).

As an older, more experienced parent, I could see the red flags that predicted the event’s demise, yet this poor woman hadn’t. Naively, she and her husband envisioned a peaceful birthday celebration — complete with gourmet Japanese food and rice wine. Of course, that’s not what happened at all.


On special occasions, such as birthdays and anniversaries, one should never plan a dinner at a fancy restaurant with very young children. This is because children will not act any different in an elegant restaurant than at home. They are too young to understand manners! Of course if one parent doesn’t mind having to take a child out of the restaurant to stop a temper tantrum, or if they realize that they may have to pack up the meal and leave due to a sudden tummy ache, then they can take along the little ones. In most cases, however, if you want to celebrate at a fancy restaurant, leave toddlers and preschoolers with the babysitter.


The second problem with the above mentioned birthday dinner was the fact that it took place after a long day of work for mom and dad, and a long day at daycare for the children. All four felt tired before they even left the house. Although my friend’s actual birthday was on a weeknight, maybe her husband should have made plans for the meal on the weekend at a time when everyone felt rested.


Most people love to try new cuisines; I know I do, yet, young children who are used to mom and dad’s cooking will not be so willing to try new foods. To continue the story mentioned above, the preschooler stuck his finger in mom’s wasabi, and he didn’t like the taste at all. I am sure you can imagine what happened next. The lesson learned here is: if you must take a preschooler to a restaurant with food he or she is unfamiliar with, then bring along healthy snacks/and or small toys.

Next time you want to have an adult night out, make sure to either hire a babysitter or plan ahead!

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