Tonight, my husband had a meeting that he has about once per month after work, so the daycare pickup/dinnertime/bathtime/bedtime routine was going to be all on me. We have the routine down pretty well, but it really takes two adults working in harmony (one feeds the kid, one sets up the bath and the pajamas; one cleans the kid, one cleans up the mess) to make it flow properly. I was thinking ahead to the work I had to do after the baby was in bed, and trying to figure out how I could get all of the picking up and prep for the next day completed plus feeding myself something decent, when an idea struck: I would take my son out to dinner.
I decided to stop at a Panera about halfway home, figuring they would have something the baby would like and I could get the Asian Sesame Chicken Salad that I used to eat all the time but haven’t had in ages. We haven’t had many opportunities to eat out together as a family, since my husband and I reserve our rare restaurant meals for more adult occasions, so I was curious to see how the baby would do.
We got to Panera and I ordered, then let my son hold the buzzer for our food while I grabbed a drink and set our things down at a table. I dragged over a high chair, and the buzzer went off. I made two trips with the baby on my hip up to the counter to collect my salad and his grilled cheese. Back at the table, we settled in and ate. The grilled cheese was a hit, as were the other patrons who reinforced my child’s belief that he is a handsome and charming fellow, and I was able to eat my whole salad before it was time to wrap things up.
The best thing about the whole experience was something that my son will hopefully appreciate later in life: spontaneity. It’s a Monday, I didn’t have extra diapers, clothes, or a backup meal on hand in case the Panera offerings were a bust. (My plan in that case was to buy him a muffin – the kid will always eat a muffin.) I didn’t know how it would go, but we did it anyway.
It seems like a small thing, but I tend to be a planner, and it is so easy to get caught up in the routine of weekday workdays and not allow any room for deviations. One thing that I always promised myself before becoming a parent is that I would make room for special treats and spontaneous surprises. The important followup promise to that promise is that I wouldn’t set impossibly high standards for the outcome. Tonight’s dinner out was a solid start to making good on those promises.
So, Fabulous Thing #67: Dinner out with my favorite kid.