Eating out

Luke and I are pretty frugal, which is a good way to be when one of you is a full-time student, and you have a mortgage, and a car, and a kid, and a cat, and an aloe vera...you get the idea.

 We aren't big spenders when it comes to our vehicles. Our last car (Terrence the Toyota Tercel) had 400,000 kms, a broken windshield and a gas tank that didn't like to be filled past half, before we sold it for scrap to buy our new crapper. Sanjay the Subaru is 11 years old, nearing 250,000 kms and sporting a new and distinctly distrubing thumping everytime we get on a highway.


And yes, our cars often do solo polar expiditions.

We also don't spend much on our appearances (Does it show you ask? Yes, yes it does.).
I haven't bought a pair of jeans in approximately 3 years, as my sisters are good enough to have expendable income, good taste in clothes and small closets. Score one for me!

When we do buy clothes, we generally frequent Talize, also known as the most awesome second-hand store of all time. I can find amazing hippy-vibe vintage stuff for me, T-shirts with obscure Canadiana references for Luke, and clothes that will fit Judah for approximately 6 minutes (as all his clothes do) that don't cost you your firstborn...ater all, it would just be counter-productive to buy baby clothes that did.

So far Judah has grown practically no hair at all, which has saved us money in the barbering department. And Luke generally squats on the front step outside to buzz his hair, wherein he fulfills both his cheap Dutch, and environmental tendencies: free haircut and warm, soft padding for the nests of all the neighbourhood cardinals.

Our one weakness when it comes to our wallets, however, is eating out. As I have previously revealed, I'm a bit food-obsessed. As a result, the thought of going out for some great Vietnamese or Indian gets me way more excited than a new pair of shoes.

Before Judah came along, Luke and I would indulge in this weakness frequently, often meeting friends over sushi, dim sum, pizza or Ethiopian. Then Judah was born and it seemed as though we'd be able to keep up our social eating. He would generally fall asleep in his carseat on the way to the restaurant and we'd tuck him between us in a booth and carry on like two, wild and free, childless crazies!

Then Judah got a little older, a little less lethargic and a lot more vocal. We moved to London, away from most of our friends. Our nights out began to consist of baby-friendly dinners at my parents'. And the eating out dwindled and then stopped.

After Judah turned one, I thought it was high time to reintroduce him to the world of restaurant eating. I self-justified this thought saying Judah needed the exposure to different people and cultures and public bathrooms...but really I was just dying for some good Tom-Yum soup.

So, with some fear and trepidation, we started taking him out again. Some of our favourite haunts were more kid friendly than others. A wonderful Vietnamese joint near our old place, was nice and loud, brought your appetizers quick, and didn't flinch when Judah would carpet the floor around him with vermicelli noodles. It was a natural fit. Then we grew bolder, we tried a steakhouse...at 5 pm...they had large tv's playing curling, which coincidentally was Judah's favourite sport from a past life. Things went well.

Judah enthralled by the 8th end.

Then we started to get cocky. We reinstated our weekly Saturday morning greasy spoon tradition. We stocked up on toys, we ordered fast, we heaped his plate with scrambled eggs. Judah was a gem. We were, we thought, amazing parents... until Judah turned one and a half - also known as the magical age at which many children discover their strong wills and use them with a vengeance.  

Saturday morning, we settled ourselves into the booth at one of our regular egg and bacon stops, and eagerly anticipated the hot food and family bonding to come. Alas, Judah had other plans. Luke's coffee arrived- steaming and black- and Judah decided he needed to shake the mug. He didn't just want to hold the mug and shake it, he NEEDED to!
Daddy, being the tyrant that he is, refused the request.

Judah shouted
and then flailed
and then arched his back dramatically,
causing his as-of-yet gingantic head to dramatically crash into the wall behind him.
The wailing commenced.

I sat, trying to look nonchalant (while I inwardly died of embarrassment) as Luke calmly brought Judah to the front of the restaurant for some quiet discussion about the indelicacy of his behaviour.

From what I learned later, the conversation went something like this:

Luke: Judah, we don't shout and have tantrums in restaurants.

Judah: Grunt.

Luke: Daddy's coffee is hot. It can give Judah a big ouchie.

Judah: Grunt. *pout, begin to cry again*

Luke: Judah, do you need to go outside and back to the car until you can behave in the restaurant?

Judah: *points outside, smiles and nods head yes, he would rather play outside*

Luke: *This is not going according to plan*... Do you want to go see mommy again and eat some bacon.

Judah: Grunt *nod*

After this deep, conciliatory conversation was complete, the boys returned to our table and our newly arrived food. Judah benignly ate like a trooper. He flashed smiles at all the seniors in our vicinity, which could only be read as, "Oh no, I'm not the one who just had a raging fit, you must have some other toddler in mind." He flirted with the waitress. He kissed us spontaneously.
Unlucky for Judah, our memory isn't that short. It will be awhile before Judah is invited out to eat with Mama and Dada again. If not for the sake of our sanity, than for the sake of his gigantic head.


  1. Hmmm.... sounds like there could be a food blog in the works: "Eating out with Toddlers". You'd be the next internet sensation.

  2. Have you guys been to Spageddy Eddie's yet?? If you like pasta, and lots of it..
    It's a delightfully quirky hole-in-the wall.

  3. Erin, we haven't! But I love little known restaurant recommendations, so we'll definitely check it out! Is it toddler friendly you think?