Jennifer is a one in a million stay-at-home mom. (More like one OF a million stay at home moms!) She graduated from a liberal arts college but there is nothing liberal OR artsy about her. She is married to Kevin Fischer of This Just In, and together they have a beautiful young daughter Kyla Audrey. In no particular order she loves dogs, wine, a good bargain, her family, pizza, and entertaining. Follow her blog of all things miscellaneous including but not limited to cooking and baking, entertaining and party planning, being a mommy, and homekeeping.
We go out to eat as a family a lot. Once or twice a week in general – for special occasions and “just because.” Kyla loves joining us and we love having her with us. It’s rare when we dine without her. Babysitters aren’t knocking on our door but even if they were we’d generally decline the offers.
She’s been at restaurants with us since she was about three months old. Those times were incredibly easy because she’d sit peacefully in her carrier and would usually fall asleep by the time our entrees arrived. For awhile, when she was around two years old, things got a little more complicated. She had very little (read: ZERO) interest in sitting still for an entire meal. Gone were the days of a relaxed drink before the salad course and lingering over dessert.
When that stage hit we took two cars to our favorite (and incredibly close to our home) restaurant in Franklin, Casa DiGiorgio. I made sure I had quiet toys & crayons to entertain her, plenty of snacks to tide her over until she could nibble off our plate, and an extra change of clothes in case things got messy. We would walk around before our entrees to “get the wiggles out.” Still there was only so much we could do; hence the separate cars. My fork would hit the plate after (if I was lucky) one third of my entrée and I’d be packing us up to head home. Kevin was left with the tasks of paying the check, picking up any forgotten items left behind, and carrying the doggie bags.
There were times she was impatient and fussy but she was always “controlled.” We don’t tolerate bad behavior at home, but even less is allowed when we’re in public. We want, and expect, our daughter to be fun to be around and want her welcome in any restaurant. My motto has always been that I don’t want Kyla to be the kid where people say, “Oh, Lord, here she comes!” as they try to duck out of sight.
Fast-forward two years. Our daughter loves trying any new food. Unfortunately her tastes run on the pricey side. She doesn’t touch mac ‘n cheese but she will lick the plate clean if you give her prime rib, filet, lobster, shrimp, and crème Brule. She’s been to some lovely restaurants both at home and of course at Disney World. (Granted, a Disney dining experience is 99% kid-centric and you’d better expect that even if YOU are traveling sans little sprout.) She is now consistently a fabulous dining companion who never offers a bit of trouble. She exhibits table manners better than some adults I’ve witnessed and is far more polite when ordering her meal than the average adult diner as well.
Is it too much to ask for children to be well-behaved when mom & dad have them in tow for a meal? I don’t think so. Here’s our little Munchkin enjoying her shared birthday dinner with Daddy in March 2013 at Joey Gerard’s in Greendale:
We’ve received many compliments over the past few years regarding our daughter’s behavior and good manners. She’s been given everything from extra crayons to ice cream sundaes as rewards. (That would be from restaurant staff, NOT mommy or daddy.) But one thing we’ve never, EVER received was a “well-behaved child” discount on our tab.
I suppose “well-behaved” is a matter of opinion. A parent who thinks their charming-but-spirited child is “well-behaved” if no one is impaled with cutlery during a meal is not on the same page with the parents of a cherub who utters more please’s and thank you’s than a Southern charm school. But obviously the discount is up to the discretion of the wait staff. Still, if it encourages better behavior of a little tyke then by all means, offer it!
Money off a dining check because you brought Johnny Angel instead of Damien? You BET it’s a Culinary Yes Yes!
CULINARY YES YES BONUS: