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The Seven Stages of a Toddler in a Restaurant

Taking a child to a restaurant is a challenge. There are some children who are perfect. I just wish mine was like that. Of course, I’m the one with an excitable and impatient two-year-old who isn’t interested in listening to mommy or daddy. What does that get me in a restaurant? These seven stages.

Stage #1: Excited
It’s a trip out and the first emotion has to be excitement. My two-year-old wants to know where we’re going, what we’re doing, and who we’ll meet. Depending on the restaurant, she’s excited about meeting the staff who will have coloring books and balloons at the ready. Even a place we’ve been to before is exciting because something tends to change.

Stage #2: Curious
What’s that black mark on the floor? Why is that woman over there eating an ice cream? What’s going on behind the door that says ‘Staff Only’ (not like we can read the words)? These are all questions my two-year-old likely asks inside her own head. She wants to be everywhere at once and isn’t going to settle for anything.

Stage #3: Impatient
Food is ordered and now it’s time to wait for it to come. Of course, once the food is ordered, the two-year-old expects it to be on the table right away. We can just take the picture off the menu, right? This leads to the impatient stage. We want food right now and we will scream until it comes.

Stage #4: Placated
That is until the drinks come. Now they’re here, we’re a little more placated. We’re happy to have a few mouthfuls and go back to the coloring book we were given earlier. Or we’ve found a toy in mummy’s bag or realized we can flick juice all over big brother. It’s fun for a while, until…

Stage #5: Frustrated
We need food again! The juice isn’t enough and we’ve just remembered that we were expecting our chicken fingers and fries. To make matters worse, big brother has his spaghetti and daddy has his burger. We just don’t understand why some food is already here and ours isn’t. There are tears, while mummy and daddy try to explain food will be here within the minute.

Stage #6: Happy
Finally, food is here and we’re able to finish a meal in sort-of-peace. Of course, there is some throwing of food on the floor and trying to feed others the soggy fries that we have. But there is happiness because we have a full tummy. And dessert followed the chicken fingers, which means ice cream is all over us and in our “treat tummy.”

Stage #7: Sleepy
The final stage is definitely one of the other Dwarves from Snow White. Not that we’re fed and our tummies (because there are three, don’t ya know) are full, it’s time for sleep. But we can’t get to sleep in the high chair we’re in and we refuse to color while mummy or daddy pay the bill. So, that means crying again and fighting with the high chair restraints until we’re out and able to escape to the car. Once there, we crash.

Yes, these are the stages of my two-year-old in a restaurant. Like Ireland, which is able to get all four seasons in a day, we get every single emotion in the space of a couple of hours. But we wouldn’t have it any other way as parents, right?

This article was syndicated from Medium.