Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Having fun with your grandchild in a restaurant

You want to hear people say "what a sweet child," when they pass your table, not witness the exodus of half the restaurant to a corner far away from your annoying brat. But that is not as easy as it might seem.

Of course, when you are expecting that sweet bundle of joy, you just know he or she will be a perfect angel. That child that eats every pea and carrot while smiling politely and dabbing at the corners of their mouth with the napkin. The won't spill their drinks, or throw utensils on the floor and they will never, ever spit out their food or scream at the top of their lungs shattering every glass within 3 blocks.  (More ... click title)

Well, I hate to break it to you, but that child does NOT exist. Children are born to test our patience, our stamina and yes, even our moral fiber. Grandchildren are much better than children, but that is only because they are usually presented at their best and can be given back at any time.

It can be a real test taking a toddler out to eat, but it is also an interesting experiment. Recently while tooling through a "dollar store" I found some items I thought might keep our almost-two-year-old grandson happy for a few minutes. For $3 I bought a small 5x8" sketch pad and a packet of about 2 dozen stickers of animals at the zoo. I also bought him a small zoo animal book, the kind made with cardboard pages.

He began squirming the minute we sat down at Perkins for breakfast and had dispatched both the crayons and the "color me" paper placemat given out by the hostess within 5 minutes. As we waited for our order to arrive, I read the book to him. Fortunately, he loves books and animals so that kept him settled for at least a few minutes.

When the food arrived, we tried letting him stand in the booth while we ate breakfast, but his hands were much faster than our eyes. Bring on the high-chair. He isn't one to sit still for long, but as soon as he saw the stickers, he was engaged. This was something brand new to him so I had to take a minute to peel one, get him to name the animal, and show him how to stick it to the page. Take a bite, peel a sticker, take a bite, peel a sticker. Fortunately, it wasn't a very big meal so 24 bites was enough. Sometimes the tinyiest stickers stuck his fingers together frustrating him, but all in all, he was delighted with the art. His finished product amazed us. He had pasted the matching animals in rows next to each other. 

Next, I think we will try Play-Doh. (evil smile) At least it won't end up on MY floor!

1 comment:

ConnieFoggles said...

I remember those days well. Either people have short memories or they won't admit that their children are normal, not from fairy tales. You handled it well, Grandma.