Eating dinner out: how it’s different with a baby/toddler

My friend suggested going out to eat next Friday night, but I told her that I wouldn’t be able to go out (or, at least, not that far) because Chris already had tentative plans to go out to eat with his friends, and so I’d need to be with Pookster. She responded that she could still come over, and suggested we could still eat out and just take Kaia with us.

While that sounds like an easy solution… it’s not as easy as a non-parent would think. Kaia really shouldn’t stay out too late given her age, and to keep her on schedule (and away from crankiness), we need to keep her bedtime at around 7-7:30. So that means we would need to eat early, closer to 5-5:30pm when she typically eats, and ease her into her sleepy time before then. A lot of people think parents are just being inflexible with schedules, but schedules are what babies and toddlers need to thrive. They need a schedule and a level of predictability in a world of chaos. It keeps them grounded, and it prevents things like tantrums, hunger, and over-tiredness, which then results in baby mood swings.

What’s likely going to happen is that we’ll probably get takeout somewhere. I’ll pick Kaia up a bit early from daycare, and we’ll eat at home and hang out until she has to go to bed. It’s much easier to hang out with friends with baby in tow during the day as opposed to dinner time for this reason. It’s a temporary adjustment given the stage of life we’re currently in now. But as with all stages, it has its time and is temporary, so I’m happy with it because I know it will pass.

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