We may never go out to eat again. Since baby Roo was born, restaurants have become our guilty pleasure. I used to be so good about cooking every single thing at home and staying in budget, and then the polar vortex hit and I had a baby and toddler to entertain in sub-zero temperatures. Getting out of the house for a meal once or twice a week just felt like a splurge worth making. Then that splurge became a habit.
The truth is, having good restaurants within reach is one of the big perks of living in a city. It's really fun to meet daddy in town on a Friday for dinner, and not having to make a meal (or clean up after it!) is big. For a while I felt guilty, yet justified with our habitual dining out.
But things are starting to go south, and the last few restaurant experiences have been epically bad. Baby Roo is cutting her top two teeth, and they seem to interfere most dramatically with her eating and temperament when we are out in public. She is such a dream baby that she usually just sits there, munching scraps of our food for the entire meal... but now we are getting treated to screaming, back-bend fits that draw nasty looks from fellow diners and leave me in a flop sweat, desperately trying everything (including a few topless attempts) to calm her.
Little Smith senses our weakness, and seizes the opportunity to free himself from the confines of his chair and crawl under the table or press his face against the windows... all behaviors we would never tolerate if we weren't so busy trying to quiet a baby, scarf down our food, and chug our beers.
By the time our meal is over, I can barely remember what I ate and feel total remorse at having wasted fifty precious bucks... until amnesia sets in and I want to do it all over again a few days later.
And then I had a brilliant idea, isn't there a way to enjoy all of the perks of eating out without the hassle and embarrassment of a crowded restaurant? And wouldn't you know there is, it's this miracle called take out! Of course that still means wiping down tables, floors and high chairs, and washing dishes, unless of course you bring that take-out to a beautiful park with a view of the Boston skyline and plenty of space for the kids to 'get lost' (or pummel daddy) while you finish your meal in peace. Victory!
Fun little footnote, James proposed to me in this very park, July 13, 2007. He was so nervous that he missed his target sunset and kept doing cartwheels (a skill he has never displayed before or after that day). All his tumbling knocked the ring loose, and when he finally cartwheeled into a kneeling pose and whipped open the box, the ring flew out into the dimly lit grass... we had to search for it on our hands and knees before I could actually say yes ;)