Parenting Column: Dining Out With Kids

Lessons learned and taught at local eateries

This past Sunday was the annual spring neighborhood tour with my mountain bike group. It was a small turn out because the weather didn’t feel much like spring.  We were few in number but had a great time touring the city of Roswell.

While we were getting our gear together in the parking lot one of the single guys was complaining about the kids that were at the restaurant where he was trying to eat the night before. Let’s just say that he had some rather unpleasant things to say about the kids and their behavior. Back in my single days I remember thinking the same exact things he was saying.

But now I have a different take on this issue.

My philosophy on this is that is usually not the kids fault, it’s the parent’s, us included. A lot of times the bad behavior of the kids occurs when the parents expect too much from a young one. Either the venue is not the right place or the kids are not in the right mood and you go anyway. Sometimes it’s too large of a crowd and they can’t interact with enough people or we don’t interact with them enough.

These are just our guesses but who ever really knows when it comes to kids.

The first place we took Ian out to dinner was . Ian was a little over a month old. It went well. We went early when the place a bit more quiet and Ian slept through most of it. One thing I won’t forget that night is when the final bill came I was confused. It was my credit card but somehow it said Ian Ballow on the receipt. What is going on here I thought. Finally I realized the waiter’s name was Ian, that’s why it was on the receipt and I was just reading it wrong. Sleep deprivation can do strange things to someone.

We’ve taken one and now both kids to many different places. Our big thing is to always get there early. This is because the places are usually not too crowded at that time so we won’t annoy too many people. It also allows the wait staff the time needed to clean up our area once we leave. Yep, we make a big mess and tip accordingly.

is always good. They have TV’s all over the place that keeps them occupied even if they don’t know what they are watching. works, I’ve even gone there for lunch with both boys solo. not so much, thankfully they have great take out. The boys like the food, they just make too much noise. is always great and the kids eat free, can’t beat that!

We also like to go out with another family. Two extra adults and a couple of more kids seem to help keep things manageable. Except that last time at Mellow Mushroom. Luckily the bar tender hasn’t recognized me as the father of ‘that’ kid from that night the couple of times I’ve been in after a bike ride with the gang.

So we have decided we would go out for dinner this Saturday night. After thinking about everything written above we decided to do the only thing we could do. We got a baby sitter for the night and we’re headed down to Little 5 Points and hitting the Vortex for burgers, fried zucchini and tater tots. That’s right tater tots. We can eat tater tots there and not feel guilty about not feeding them to the kids.


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