Last night we went out to dinner. Andy called it a family date. We went to Maxine's Chicken & Waffles for their 2 for $30 Devour Downtown. Maxine's in one of my favorite meals...I think that I could sustain myself on their peach butter alone for at least a week; however, we have only eaten there once in the two years since Ramona was born.
Why? Well, there are a couple of reasons. First off, I am not working, therefore not bringing in a regular income, therefore going out to eat is not a very financially responsible option for us. And secondly, it is downright hard to eat out with little children.
Now I feel like I should give some background on our restaurant/meal experience...every Thursday Andy's parents treat us to dinner at Papa Roux. (If you have not eaten there before, stop reading and go now...it is yummy). But this meal is different. The restaurant is noisy, we have four adults dealing with the two kids, Ramona is so used to going there that she knows the deal, it's fast...we get in and out in under an hour, and they know and (hopefully) like us there.
As for meals at home, we eat as a family. We sit at the table, including Miles and have dinner as a family. I completely understand why this seems crazy for people who have dealt with little kids, but somehow when we are at home it works for us. I attribute this to Andy's grace in the kitchen. His timing and ability to make well rounded delicious meals make it possible. And again, Ramona and Miles know the routine...we sit, we eat, Ramona gets down to go play, Andy and I finish eating.
Now back to Maxine's. We went with Ryan and Amy Costello...a lovely newly-wed couple without children, and probably solidified Ryan's feeling that adopting kids in their teens would be his preference when becoming a father. Ramona stood in her highchair, whined, crawled on Andy, crawled on me, climbed on a nearby chair, fell off said chair, spilled water, cried about spilling said water, ate her food, ate Andy's food, ate my food...Miles, who just started eating solids this past week, pounded the table and demanded that I feed him mashed cornbread off my fingers for the duration of our two hour meal.
I inhaled my waffle and three chicken wings while passing portions of it to Ramona and mashing cornbread for Miles. When we had re-bundled them up and carried them to the car (oh, Ramona demanded to be put down because "me walk snow"), Andy and I just looked at each other and shook our heads. "We made a huge mistake" I thought. My children appeared undisciplined and chaotic, and we did not even get to enjoy the food that we have both been coveting for months.
But there is also a part of me that thinks..."man, look at my husband over there. He is bouncing our daughter on one knee and carrying on a conversation about HBO GO at the same time. We are warriors!!! We are doing it!!! We can have it all!!!"
...but we may leave them with a babysitter next time.