Growing up my parents would always take my brother and I out to nice places and fancy restaurants. We would practice at home, my mum would say ‘right my darlings, let’s pretend we are at the Queen’s house for dinner’ we would love it, pinkys pointing to the sky as we lifted our glasses, straight backs and eating our dinners like angels. Oh and of course, ‘No elbows on the tables Please!’ When we eat out she would say the same and if we started to misbehave she would ask us ‘Is this how you would behave at the queens house? What on earth would she say! You best behave quickly before the guards come!’ It was all a game to us. But looking back now I see how clever she was being! Some people may think it’s a bit extreme but we really did love it. She was teaching us manners while playing make believe without us even knowing!
I have been thinking about how we were raised quite a lot lately. We have been taking Henry out to dinner and it hasn’t been a smooth ride trust me! But I think he’s starting to get the hang of things now! He sits in a high chair with some food and a toy and chats away to us. There are times when he wants to get up and have a little explore and say hello to the waitresses or maybe he wants a nap and we have to rock him off to sleep in the buggy. There have even been times when he’s had a right old paddy for no reason and we are getting narky looks off people. Part of me wants to give these people the big old middle finger and tell them to go home but the other part wants to say this to them:
“We are out today to spend some time as a family and to enjoy a nice meal together. Yes he may not be old enough to understand why we are here and what we are doing, but we are creating our first family memories. The more we eat out as a family the more familiar he will be with how he should behave and as he gets older I am sure he will appreciate being able to go to nice places with his mummy and daddy. We are teaching him how to become a part of society. You may think we should have stayed at home so you could enjoy your meal in peace. After all you are paying good money for your meal and you don’t want to be disturbed. But then again so are we! So please think before you tut or snarl in our direction.”
If Henry has a paddy we remove him from the situation to calm him down, but we will not let it spoil our day. A 10 minute paddy vs a lovely meal and a day out with our little family is just a blip!
We recently took him to Cote Brasserie in Newbury and had an incredible meal with a friend. Henry was so well behaved through all 3 courses, wine and coffee! He was flirting with the waitress and even tried to pick pocket her! She had a shiny bottle opener in her pocket he took a fancy to. The staff were amazing, the food was spot on and other customers even commented on how lovely Henry was. I was so proud of him. Moments like that make it all worth it!
So what are your thoughts parents? Should we be wining and dining our children?