We had a date night tonight – unplanned. We were going to go to a family-friendly place but B surprised me by getting dressed up (we are very casual folks!) and driving downtown. He looked hot! Anyway, he called a restaurant on our drive down and asked if they had high chairs, so I knew we weren’t going to our normal stand-by. I panicked. I did. I admit it. Matthew does not do as well as he used to at restaurants unless there is food in front of him at.all.times. I did not bring anything with me (since he eats so well) so we didn’t have an “appetizer” for him like we often do. I asked where we were going and B said “Alba.” You know… just one of the hottest “it” places around our fair city. On a Saturday night. At 7:00 PM. Cue even more panic.
We got there and Matthew needed to go for a walk. It was not starting out well. We asked what they had for kids and THANK GOD they didn’t give us the normal run-down of fried foods and cheese dishes. No – they didn’t have a kids’ menu and said they’d do whatever we wanted as long as they had the food to do it. This is the best way for restaurants to handle kids, if you ask me! Most parents would be totally put-off by this but we were thrilled! We opted for grilled chicken and green beans (and they only charged $5 for it). We got steamed chicken (thigh meat, which made me happy since all he ever eats is chicken breast and we want him to like dark meat) with green beans, yellow beans, zucchini, carrots, and corn. Besides the corn (not paleo-appropriate and is truly the devil of all food products around), we were set.
But we feared it was not enough.
This kid can eat. I mean – HE CAN EAT. He eats whatever we put in front of him, and I’m not kidding. He used to resist green beans but he even piles those into his mouth now with great enthusiasm. He enjoys fish (he ate smoked salmon for 2 days until I finally tossed it – I was tired of him smelling like fish!), loves chicken, and loves ribs even more. He will eat any veggie or fruit and fights you for your yogurt. He’s a dream to feed. But this presents us with serious problems. He wants to eat everything we eat, so we now can only eat what he can eat (he saw us eating home-made spiced nuts today and lost his sh*t when we wouldn’t give them to him). This forces us to eat healthy, but it also limits us on things we love (like nuts and cheese) until he’s napping or asleep for the night. Not a huge deal, but something for us to keep top-of-mind. It also means that in addition to his own meal when we go out, he wants ours too.
Matthew started making his way through his food rather quickly. We tried slowing him down with some filling from our prosciutto and jalapeno fritters – but that only lasted so long. When our food arrived, we moved his food aside knowing full-well that he would be wanting ours instead. B got Guinness braised short ribs and I, of course, got salmon (because Matthew loves salmon). We alternated him between his food and ours, and just kept tossing bits of food in front of him as we tried to eat as well. Once he tasted the ribs, it was all over and that’s all he wanted – it was a good thing he’d finished his own meal or he would have had the stomach to eat most of B’s dinner for him. He liked the salmon just fine, but he loved the ribs. Any time he got loud it was because he was OUT.OF.FOOD.AND.WANTED.MORE!!!!! We were frantically cutting food for him and tossing it in front of him.
I will say that I saw several people look over with pleasant surprise as he ate all of our adult food, and it made me proud. We often hear, “that baby is eating salmon,” or something of the like, and it makes me so happy! I love having a good eater. This has been a huge goal of ours since we were pregnant and I started researching how to teach kids to eat well. I credit the homemade baby food for his fabulous eating habits.
Once Matthew was done, it was time to go. There is no time to waste – wipe him down, clean up the floor under the high chair, and get the heck out of there. We LOVE the desserts at this restaurant (we swear they have the best in town – and no – none of them are paleo-appropriate) so B ordered two to go. I took Matthew outside to get some fresh air as we waited for B and our desserts and we chatted up a couple on the patio. When I got in the passenger seat to go home, I noticed the baby fork (that we did not even use at dinner) on the center console. I mentioned it and B said, “that’s so you can eat your dessert on the way home.” What a nice guy! I ate my caramel creme brulee with that Ger.ber baby fork and loved every bite. We then pulled over and B and I switched spots so he could eat his chocolate lava cake during the rest of the drive home. We may have used Matthew’s baby fork, but he had no idea what was going on up in the front seat – and we enjoyed finally having some food to ourselves. We didn’t even share with each other 😉