I consider going to eat out at least once a day. It goes something like this:
Maddie cries at my feet. I attempt to make something healthy, she continues to cry, jump up and down, and beg for attention, and then I yell "screw it, we're going out!"
It's not that eating out tastes better. It's just that in that moment, it seems like the solution to all your problems. I picture a perfectly happy baby sitting in her high chair, eating freely without me begging her to eat or smashing food into her face. And I picture myself - finally getting a break and eating something. ANYTHING.
So, I throw my toddler in the car, strap her in her carseat, blast baby music to try and keep her from crying, and once we arrive at the restaurant (today it was chipotle) - I see a SEA of people. literally, about 50 people inside this stupid chipotle.
So I wrangle maddie inside, stand in line for what feels like FOREVER, all while maddie's wiggling to try and get out of my arms, order the first thing I see, and go sit down with my food - and that's when it begins.
Maddie starts crying and fussing, throwing her food across the room, all the while people (who have obviously never experienced toddlers) give me the biggest scowls I've ever seen. At one point, I leaned over to pick up some food off the floor that maddie had thrown, and maddie decides to stand in her high chair, and a man runs over to "save her".
"YOUR daughter was standing in her high chair!!!" He says to me, with a judgemental tone.
"yeah, she's getting pretty good at that." I responded as I took maddie back from him.
"she could have FALLEN and cracked her head open!!!"
"Yeah, I know." I responded, "but for some reason, she just doesn't listen to me. Isn't that rude of her?" I grinned. He scowled at me and went back to his seat.
Just as I was about to take my first bite of food, maddie gives me that look. The "if you don't get me out of here in 10 seconds, I am going to explode like a nuclear bomb" look.
So I start packing everything up, fighting back tears, when a chipotle employee comes over to me and helps me wipe down my table.
"don't even worry about cleaning up", he says "she hardly made a mess compared to some of the other kids that come here."
He's clearly lying to me as he continued to scrape a layer of rice and beans on the floor, but I appreciated it anyway.
"Thank you," I said. "That is really kind of you."
"Don't worry about it. I have nephews her age. They are a handful. hang in there."
I picked maddie up, wrapped up my food, and walked out to my car and just cried. Thank you for your kindness, random chipotle employee. I wish everyone could have your compassion.