Welcome to Mommy Mondays, my one day of the week where I share/vent/analyze all things pertaining to the 24-hour job that is parenting my toddler daughter and unborn son. I like to think of Mommy Mondays as more of a conversation, so chime in!
Nowhere is this more apparent than in a restaurant. About six months ago, even before she was quite so assertive, we went to dinner with some friends who have a daughter just a little older than Pigtail. Both sets of parents ordered the daughters grilled cheese, both sets of parents spoke in soothing voices and expertly handled sippy cups and crayons while attempting pleasant adult conversation. One daughter sat quietly with a placemat and a bib and ate her food while singing quietly to herself. The other daughter shrieked like a banshee, demanded to sit in laps and 1-2-3 jump, and refused to let the gooey cheese pass her lips.
Can you guess which child belonged to me?
Restaurants have been our biggest challenge in the disruption and discipline department. It's become a real problem since both The Gorilla and I like to eat. It's become a problem enough that many times we change our plans because we don't want to deal with Pigtail in a restaurant.
This is not the best solution.
Theoretically, I don't believe good kids just happen. I think you have to put in the work, exhausting as it sometimes is. To that end, we've started forcing ourselves to take Pigtail to (hopefully empty, child-friendly) restaurants to teach her how to behave in this setting. When she starts to melt down - usually minutes after we're seated - we give her a warning and then if that isn't heeded then I pick her up and take her outside. I have to do this step because if her dad did it then she would view that as a treat. Nothing says good times! like a journey outside alone with dad.
So far, still not so good. This is going to take lots of practice and patience. We did have a bit of a disciplinary breakthrough this weekend, though it was at home while dining with friends and not out and about. After quite the episode, I took Pigtail in the other room and sat on the bedroom, I gave her two very distinct choices which she understood (a la Parenting with Love & Logic), and she decided to join us for the meal, sitting on daddy's lap, with no crying. The rest of the meal went (fairly) smoothly.
But, man, parenting is not the place to really cut corners, huh?
My mom would say, "She's not even two years old, give the kid a break!" but then she would also turn around and say, "She's not very disciplined, is she?" So.
I always learn so much from you guys - I'd love to hear any thoughts on restaurant or disciplinary behaviour. Respectfully, of course.