Going Out to Dinner With My Kids: When Will I Learn…

When will I learn?  Seriously, after all the mishaps that have occurred when I have taken my kids out to dinner, what the hell was I thinking last night by taking them out to dinner with us?  If you don’t believe me about my kids being beasts when we do take them to dinner with us, read this.

Earlier in the week, I saw a commercial for Applebee’s new dinner creations (yes I know still not a fine dining experience, but just looked tasty to me) and got a bit nostalgic for the many times we used to go out to dinner before we actually had kids.  Pre-kids, we used to go out every Friday night to either Chili’s, TGIF’s, Applebee’s or Olive Garden.  Like I said, I know real classy, (not!) but still they were affordable and a treat after a long week of working and cooking, too.

I even recalled the time we went to Applebee’s days before Christmas and it had snowed earlier in the day.  Sounds stupid and sappy, but I couldn’t help but get a bit of a warm feeling thinking about it.

Anyway, Kevin took off from work on Friday and we had the kids pictures taken earlier in the day at Target for the holidays.  Then, he came home to finish painting while the girls napped and I wrote my heart away.  But then it was closing in on dinner time and the girls were requesting Friendly’s or Burger King.

I truly should have stuck with Burger King and called it a day, but my memories were still lingering and suggested Applebee’s or Olive Garden.  Kevin even joked that I wanted to go to Applebee’s, because Aiden from Sex in the City does the voiceovers!!  But in the end, he caved and had me call ahead to see the actual wait.  It was only a 10 minute wait and if I put my name on the list and left now now, we could get seated pretty quickly.

So, I got the girls ready and then we headed for Applebee’s.  When we got there, I gave my name to the host, a young guy that kept giving me the evil eye.  Not sure what his problem was, but yes I had two small children with me that would probably give the restaurant a run for its money.  Seriously get over it was my thought and then I put an old Italian curse on him to be the father to five annoying and bratty kids in the future (Ok, I didn’t really do that, but I like to think I did!).  Seriously though, I hope and pray someday this guy has his own pain in the ass kids and someone treats him with less than kind ways when he tries to go out for a meal.

It only took about five minutes to get seated, because I was at least smart enough to indeed call ahead.  I am sure someone else who was sitting there still waiting was probably putting there own curse upon me, which is probably why the rest of dinner went so swimmingly!

We were escorted to our booth and immediately both my lovely little girls decided they wanted to sit next to Kevin, because apparently I am so not the fun parent!  So, I got to sit with the jackets and toys that they brought (Yes, Lambie from Doc McStuffins and Baby Belle from Beauty and the Beast needed to go out for a nice meal on the town).

Our waitress finally came over to take our order and she too was just about as nice as our host was and barely even acknowledged the two children at the table.  I asked about their children’s portions and could have been asking about quantum physics for all she knew.  No joke, she was about as smart as a box of rocks and the personality of a wet mop, too.  In the end, I ordered one plate of chicken fingers and fries for the kids to share and we ordered drinks and an appetizer at that point, too.

The girls, of course, got their chocolate milks first.  Why must little kids immediately drink the whole cup in one gulp even before they even eat an ounce of food?  Seriously, they both annihilated those drinks faster than I could say done!  We ordered our main course as our appetizer arrived and just as I finished eating my first bite, the first request came from Lily, “Mommy I need to use the Elmo potty seat now?”  Of course, I mean it would stand to reason after she just ingested 8 oz.. of chocolate milk in under 30 seconds.  It goes from the lips into their bladders in record speed,I kid you not.  So of course, I forgot the damn insert in the car in the parking lot.  Kevin was sandwiched in by the two girls (great excuse), so off I went to the car to retrieve the seat.  I walk back into Applebee’s with looks like I had another head growing out of my neck carrying the princess bag with the potty insert in it.

This About Sums Up My Life, Not Just My Evening…

I get back to our table, Kevin passes Lily across the booth to me and then of course Emma decides she needs to use the bathroom, too.  So, we look like a traveling circus heading to the ladies room and again the looks I get were priceless.  Finally get them in the restroom and take them in the handicapped bathroom, because at the very least it is large enough to accommodate two small children and an adult, too.

I set up the seat and put Lily on first.  She asks that I take all of her clothes off from the waist down (her new thing is to go to the bathroom this way, don’t know why, but Emma went thorough this phase too when she was first training so I go with it as much as I want to scream).  Seriously do you know how many times a day I now get to dress, undress and redress this kid?  Too many times to truly count.  She sits there though and after a minute tells me, “I don’t have to go.”  Ok, I am truly peeved that I am not enjoying my food, but in a bathroom with a child who never had to actually go in the first place.

But then I turn to see Emma doing the potty dance.  So, I take the potty seat off and proceed to try to help her go and she tells me, “No I am not using this toilet!”  All of a sudden, she is a connoisseur of toilets and this one isn’t good enough.  I try pleading with her, but she tells me it is too small (really meaning it is too big and she is scared).  So, I put the Elmo insert back on and now she is having a conniption that she doesn’t use it anymore, because she is a big girl.  Anyone who has ever tried to reason with a three year old will attest that this could leave you wishing you just banged your head against the wall to begin with, because this would do the trick a lot quicker!  Finally after all the pleading, I pull the Gingerbread (Elf) card out of the proverbial bag and tell her that he is going to go back to Santa, tell him she was bad at the restaurant tonight and not bring the Barbie Dollhouse she has been talking incessantly about day and night.  Her little eyes widened and used that toilet in about 30 seconds time.  And the Elf saved the day again!!

Finally, left the bathroom and walked back to the table with more lovely looks our way.  And found Kevin scoffing down his dinner while mine was sitting there going cold (which is about right).  He told me he figured that he should eat quickly, because once the girls came back to the table they would be climbing all over him.  By the way, the girls did manage to ingest a bit of their food too before this evening was over, but the chocolate milk was the way better hit and option for them!

My meal was nothing like the pictures on TV (got to love how they make everything look so mouth watering delicious when advertising it, but then when you actually order it in the restaurant it is pretty much crap on a plate.  So, I finished my cold crap on a plate, got the check, which was $50 with the tip (so not worth it).

And by the way, I didn’t tip as well as would have if our waitress actually gave a damn during our meal.  Seriously I am not a bad tipper and do have a heart as to what waitstaff go through, but between her personality as I previously mentioned, the lack of service (no napkins or plates for the kids to eat a shared meal), and just her overall rudeness, I felt obliged to teach this young girl a life lesson which was when waiting tables and dealing with the public at least put a smile and fake it if you have to.

What lesson did I learn after all of this?  The next time I want to reminisce about the good old days, leave the memories in the past where they belong!!

Now watch a funny video clip of what would be for dinner if kids created the menu:





  1. 1

    Jane Marsh says

    Oh, Janine! I'm not liking this, because it sounds like a gong show, but I laughed (which doesn't make me a bad person, honest, I've been there!). Every once in a while (our youngest is a v active 3 yo) we forget why we don't go out to dinner… and we do… and omg, barely survive. Take out! Picnics in the park! Delivery! Anything but dinner out.

    • 2

      JanineHuldie says

      Jane, you aren't a bad person, believe me I laughed a bit once it was all over and re-read my post. If it weren't my life, I would probably think it was a TV show sometimes, because I can't even believe the half of the half that happens to me. Thanks though for reading and for your suggestions, because if we can't go out by ourselves (Grandma babysits), we don't do anything but Burger King with them, because I can't handle much more at this point!

  2. 3


    Oh, I remember those days! We stopped going out to eat for years because I couldn't deal with the behavior. It does get better – eventually!

    • 6

      JanineHuldie says

      Thanks Gina and I think dogs are probably your best bet, because somedays I wonder what the hell I was thinking, especially times like this!!

  3. 7

    Bill says

    Oh my goodness! I think I just lost my good mood for the day and this didn't even happen to me. Be strong, Mom! You only have sixteen more years of this. :)

    • 8

      JanineHuldie says

      Sorry Bill, didn't mean to ruin your good mood. Seriously smile, they are mine and you will have peace and quiet today. Me on the other hand, already has had my fair share of craziness and it is only 10 am here!!

    • 10

      JanineHuldie says

      Oh Steph I am with you on this as you can see. The bathroom trips wouldn't be that bad if they actually had to go or would go versus playing a game about it!! Thanks seriously for reminding me I am not alone on this one :)

  4. 11


    I used to only go to Buffets when the girls were little:) the food was ready, no waiting and you eat and leave! Lol. I swear little kids can not be expected to sit still for long so I just stopped trying. Unless it was buffet:) lol.

    • 12

      JanineHuldie says

      Thanks and seriously never actually thought of buffets Kelly, but sounds like you are onto something. Seriously, the only speed I am able to semi deal with is fast food, like Burger KIng, because otherwise I really don't have a shot with my kids!!

  5. 13

    lisa says

    I have to admit, I've been pretty lucky when it comes to taking our daughter out to eat. We eat out a lot and took her out right from the start, so I think she just got used to it. Not to say we haven't had a bad meal or two, but we are fairly lucky.
    I do feel for you, though cuz it sounds like it was a rough meal and that's never any fun!


    P.S. Thanks for linking up to the GtKY blog hop! :)
    P.P.S. I see that you're joining us for the Winter Blues Giveaway Event (yay!!!), but I don't think you've joined the facebook group yet. Please make sure that you do because there is tons of info and help to be found there! :)

    • 14

      JanineHuldie says

      Thanks, Lisa and I totally wish. I think the two of them together are just like a little tag team. Also, because they are both girls, I am the only one who can take the to the bathroom. If it were just my older or my younger, I think it wouldn't be so bad, but like I say both together are just feed off the other (if that makes sense.

      I just joined the Facebook (Yaya!!) and didn't know that you guys had one or would have sooner. Thank you seriously for cluing me in and sharing!!

    • 16

      JanineHuldie says

      Lol, Vikki, we are usually very good tippers, but this waitress was a real snot nose, not friendly at all, and pretty much rubbed me the wrong way, so for the first time in as long as I could remember, I didn't fee like being generous. Thanks seriously and hope I didn't sound like too much of a witch towards her.

  6. 17

    Emily says

    Oh yes, I could so relate here Janine…even now, with my boys being older, I still sometimes feel like we are making a scene when we go out to eat because they fight and raise their voices, etc. They are getting better, but still….and the looks you received reminds me of when we used to travel with the boys when they were younger. We'd get on an airplane with the 3 boys and tons of carry-on stuff (traveling circus like you say) and I'd watch people's faces on the plane and I could practically see them praying, "Please don't let that family sit near me." LOL!

    • 18

      JanineHuldie says

      Thanks Emily and that is exactly the looks and thoughts that I felt were going through these people's minds in Applebee's. Sorry you have had to go through this, too, but I can't help but feel a bit better knowing that I am not the only one to have faced people acting this way being out with my kids.

  7. 19


    Aww, you poor thing! I'm not going to lie: Applebee's commercials always pull me in, too, because of the voiceovers. I just love me some Aiden!! :) I'm sorry dinner didn't go as planned. I feel like I need to call my parents and apologize for any experiences like this I might have caused. With four kids in my family, I can only imagine that going out to eat was absolute torture for them. Great post, Janine!

    • 20

      JanineHuldie says

      Lol, thanks Cari and not going to lie love hearing Aiden's voice. But the food actually looked so good too. To live and learn, but you are right I need to give a shout out to my mom if I ever did anything like to this to her when we went out for dinner.

  8. 21


    I'm probably one of the worst/laziest moms ever. I put my daughter in pull-ups and tell her to use them – she does at home when there's easy access to a toilet, but always seems to want use the toilet in public. I can't imagine having two little ones training at the same time. I just learned last week that it's not wise to take my kids anywhere in public. It took me a long time – 8 months since we adopted our daughter – to figure this out. No more grocery store, no more library, no more vacations for a while. It's that bad. Which you obviously understand. I'll probably still take them out, but will kick myself everytime.

    • 22

      JanineHuldie says

      Kate, when I read your post earlier today, I knew you could truly relate and I am with you about not going out anywhere with them, but alas I know I will again and will want to murder myself when I do. Thank you for putting out there that you, too are dealing with similar (seriously from the bottom of my heart).

  9. 25

    Ruchira says

    Your Elf is coming handy these days and I wonder how you will manage after the 25th :)

    Look on the brighter side, your daughters give you good material to write such funny blogs :)

    • 26

      JanineHuldie says

      Thanks Ruchira and Kevin just literally said the same thing to me earlier today about the girls being my inspiration. As for the Elf, I guess their is always the Easter Bunny, lol!!

  10. 27

    Cyndi says

    EEk! Now I know why my mom never took us kids out when we were younger. She just always told me that until I learned to behave, I wouldn't go with her. I don't recall actually going out to eat with her until I was in second or third grade! But I DID knock over a whole rack of clothes at the department store once. oops. LOL

    • 28

      JanineHuldie says

      Lol, Cyndi. The clothing store incident reminded me of the time my brother hid under a circular rack of clothes in the department store we were shopping. He was having a ball, while my mom was panicking not knowing where he was. Looks like kids will always be kids and give parents a run for their money when out somewhere. Thanks seriously for making me laugh a bit tonight and fro making me recall that incident with my brother, too :)

    • 30

      JanineHuldie says

      Thanks and I was trying to be nice Wendy and could have said a few happy meals short of a picnic, but alas she definitely wasn't as cheerful as that Visa commercial girl, lol!!

    • 32

      JanineHuldie says

      Thanks Chris and if he was allowed in the ladies room, I would have had him take his turn a long time ago, lol!!

  11. 33

    gigigirl says

    In spite of the frustration you experienced, this telling of the outing to Applebee's has some underlying humor. Sorry but I couldn't help smiling as I pictured the girls in the bathroom scene. Pulling the Elf card was the clincher! There is a special place in heaven for mothers….and fathers too! Maybe take-out works until the girls are a little older! Love you all……

    • 34

      JanineHuldie says

      Thanks Aunt Gloria and I think the next time we do go out Kevin's mom is watching them for us, because it has been that long again since I have had a hot meal in peace. That said my pleasure to pick the Elf card and can will admit there was a certain level of humor here when it was all said and done. Love to you all, too!!

  12. 35


    Janine, you had me smiling the whole way through your post…sorry! As someone who doesn't have kids, this is really entertainment at it's best to read….when it's not happening to you. I'm sure it will one day, and I get embarrassed so easily, so I can just imagine what all will happen. Until then, I'll just keep enjoying your posts, hehe. Loved this post, and hopefully the next time you all go out to eat it will be a lot calmer (or you'll be able to eat your hot food!) :)

    • 36

      JanineHuldie says

      Thanks Melanie and glad to lend a smile to you today. I will agree if this wasn't happening to me, I would have most likely chuckled just a bit, too. Seriously, I much as I love my girls, I do miss hot meals just slightly!!

  13. 37

    Stephanie Sprenger says

    Janine, that is so hilarious! I detest taking my kids to the bathroom during dinner, it always is so frustrating (I remember the undressing thing- ugh!) and it takes forever. And for us it's always right after my hot food arrives. I have to say, I for one am so relieved when my daughter chooses to sit by fun daddy. It seems she is always bumping into me or grabbing my clothes while I eat- ahhh! Personal space please! Also, Applebees is one of the only places we go because it is kid friendly- people there should not be shocked to see little kids and should be a little more respectful and kind to families there! Departing soapbox now. :)

    • 38

      JanineHuldie says

      Thanks Stephanie and I totally agree with you about people being more respectful and kid to families in Applebee's and was a bit shocked by the treatment we received. I wasn't complaining though that my kids wanted to sit with Kevin, believe me that was the only bright spot of the evening where I didn't have to eat while having them climb all over me, lol!!

  14. 39


    Hilarious. I could have written this post. I cannot stand to go to public restrooms with the kids…and I've stopped asking for drinks before dinner. I tell the server the drinks can ONLY come when the food arrives!

    • 40

      JanineHuldie says

      Alright, I am going to sound like a novice with young kids I suppose, but didn't realize you could request for drinks to be brought after food for them. You just blew my mind slightly and if I ever get brave enough to do this again will definitely have drinks served after them for food. Thanks :)

  15. 41

    Stacy Harris says

    I am thoroughly loving that my youngest is a boy. This means that every single time he needs to interupt our festivities out of the house, I bat my eyes at my husband and tell him to take him to the bathroom because he should be using the boys bathroom. Granted, I still have too older girls… but that isn't anything like having to undress your youngest, carry a potty seat or even come back to cold food at the table. But I did have to go through my time. As for Applebees – I no longer go there. The last time we went was for Veteran's Day a couple of years ago. We had a great meal and we tipped the waitress well, but when we got home, we realized we must have left my son's baby blanket there. We called, we even went back to look for it. But the baby blanket was gone. I would love to think that another customer took it, but sadly, that just wouldn't make any sense. And I did have one of the employees mention that they saw the blanket being put in the back. That tells me one of the employees took the blanket. Didn't matter that my son wouldn't sleep without it. We haven't returned since! :(

    • 42

      JanineHuldie says

      Wow, to the story at Applebee's and if I wasn't already turned off by them I would be now. That was miserable and can't understand how anyone could take a baby's blanket and not return it back to its rightful owner. As for having a boy, that is definitely a perk having hubby take him to the bathroom. Having two girls it all truly falls on me and so over it, lol!!

  16. 43


    Have not spent much time in restaurants (for a variety of reasons) but really liked your description of your encounter with the host and waitress.
    Jeez, get a job in construction or farming or a supermarket or in a law firm and it is not un-reasonable to be surprised by a un-expectedly difficult or challenging task ( what do you mean, 'climb on the roof and nail in the ridge vent') but those who take a paycheck from a restaurant (not counting the people in the kitchen) what part of 'must enjoy working with the public do they manage to miss'?
    Enjoyable read.

    • 44

      JanineHuldie says

      Oh man Clark, so true that if you work with the public then you have to know how to deal with them and even be nice (gasp!) to them once in awhile, too. Seriously, thank you for reading and sympathizing, too!!!

  17. 45

    Amy says

    Sounds like you should have stuck to Burger King..lol. I know what you mean about remembering what it was like to do certain things and needing that feeling again. Sometimes that feeling is overwhelming and we don't think clearly..ha. I do it too. Good thing we love our kids so much! Sounds like a sitter is needed for your next Applebee's dinner : )
    Amy http://www.ridingnycwithamy.com

    • 46

      JanineHuldie says

      Thanks Amy and I agree with you on a sitter for the next dinner out, but until then Burger King is truly my kids' speed, lol!!

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