I distinctly remember my birthday last year.
Teyla was just four days old. We had only gotten home from the hospital the day before. But since it was my birthday, and a Sunday, my husband bundled everyone up and took us to a fabulous brunch at a quaint, old inn near our house.
It was a perfect morning. Teyla slept in a cocoon of fleece. The older kids colored quietly on their menus and ate more caramel rolls than usually allowed. Corey and I drank coffee and sipped mimosas and shelled jumbo shrimp while we talked. (We also ate more caramel rolls than usually allowed, but it seems more romantic to leave that part out.)
When babies are young, eating out is simple. You eat, they sleep, end of story.
But now that Teyla is 15 months old, eating out is akin to torture. Or maybe sumo wrestling, if sumo wrestlers were 20 pounds of twisting, contorting muscle who defy all attempts by normal high chairs to restrain them.
I should have remembered this phase, but it always seems to sneak up on me. Just a few months ago, we were able to spontaneously take the kids to a nearby restaurant and make it through a meal with nothing more than a bottle and a few Cheerios. Then, overnight and without warning, our formerly tame infant, who used to sit contentedly in the sticky high chairs and bang on the table with a spoon while we would eat our salads, morphed into an irascible toddler, who will not sit still in a restaurant even when tempted with M&Ms.
The last time we ate out, Corey and I took turns following Teyla around the tiny lobby of The Roman Market, snatching jars of marinated olives out of her hands, making chit-chat with the grandparents who were casting us sympathetic smiles. Occasionally, we would try to sit again, but Teyla would magically make all the bones in her body disappear while simultaneously twisting like a candy cane.
I took my margherita pizza to go. It was cold. And my abs were bruised.
For now, we’re eating in. So I can actually eat.
I estimate we'll be out and about again by 2011. Maybe we'll go to brunch for my birthday.
Kelly also writes about her family, her life and her eating habits at her personal blog, Love Well.