Not So Fine Dining With My Toddler

Written By

Namita Kutty

Not So Fine Dining With My Toddler Loading

So, after more than a decade of a hectic corporate career, I quit my job when I had a baby. Thought it was a cinch, little did I know! Give me irate employees, grumpy business heads and competitive colleagues any day! I swear I’ll greet all of them with a manic smile of pure relief. It’s a breeze out there compared to a day at home with a¬†Toddler. Mind you, I’m not complaining, my life revolves around my tiny human‚ÄĒ she’s my sun and moon and stars! But then, some days are not so easy are they?

Here’s how a dinner with friends and family invariably pans out:

Harassed Mommy greets people she‚Äôs come to meet, and rushes outside to hold¬†and comfort Toddler for 10 mins while the latter wails from stranger anxiety. Once¬†Toddler¬†is consoled, runs around entire restaurant behind¬†her.¬†Toddler¬†tiny, but swift. Tries to trip harried waiters, pulls down cutlery from unsuspecting diners and grabs things from the floor to eat. Harassed mommy runs behind her, apologising to all and sundry and tries her best to keep¬†Toddler¬†out of harm’s way. Starters arrive, Mommy still running around, by the time Mommy comes back, all gone!

Mommy tries to converse intelligently with others at the table, but suddenly observes¬†Toddler¬†industriously trying to lick a shoe. Leaves mid-way and rushes over. Run, run, run. Comes back in time for main course. Papa Bear graciously offers to hold¬†Toddler¬†for Mommy to eat dinner. Other Mommies at table ooh and aah, how wonderful Papa Bear is to take care of¬†Toddler! Mommy struggles bravely and manages to NOT roll her eyes and say ‚ÄĒ “You know, since it’s not the immaculate conception, she’s his child too!”

Mommy ignores conversation at the table and wolfs down food indiscriminately, wishing waiters would serve larger portions. Because she knows what’s coming. Five minutes in and¬†Toddler¬†is off on her adventures. Papa Bear shrugs his shoulders, gives a disarming smile and says “She wants to play”. Code for, “Yup, I’m done. Go get her!”

Mommy looks longingly at the food on the table, but runs behind¬†Toddler¬†and tries to get¬†Toddler¬†into a high chair for dinner. Toddler¬†screeches to the high heavens and Mommy earns disapproving glances from diners for torturing¬†Toddler¬†so. Papa Bear looks up from intelligent conversation at other end of the room and says indulgently, “Let her be, she doesn’t like the high chair”. Mommy gives up resignedly and resumes chasing¬†Toddler¬†around the restaurant; now with a bowl of food. In these 45 minutes, Mommy intermittently tries to tempt¬†Toddler¬†back to the table with a bag full of toys which¬†Toddler¬†looks at disdainfully. Mommy hears laughter at the tables, has no idea where the conversation is at! After a few attempts to catch up while trying to prevent¬†Toddler¬†from guzzling a bottle of Tomato ketchup and throwing soup all over the place, Mommy gives up on any attempts at conversation. Gives glazed glassy smiles every time she is back at the table.

Mommy by now is kinda tired, but hopes to grab some dessert!¬†Toddler¬†senses Mommy’s plans and now cranks things up several notches into Super¬†Toddler¬†mode. Charges into restaurant kitchen, picks fights with kids thrice her size and leads Mommy far, far away from the table.¬†Twenty minutes later, exhausted Mommy drags a truculent¬†Toddler¬†back to the table hoping to catch dessert. Only to find, you guessed it, the dregs left! A Good Samaritan notices Mommy’s desolate expression and enquires if she would want to order. Before the olive branch can be gratefully grasped, the well-meaning Papa Bear booms out “Oh, she’s on a diet, she doesn’t eat desserts!” Mommy thinks longingly of svelte figure before baby and all the postpartum baby weight clinging on lovingly, and nods her head sadly in agreement.

Fifteen minutes later, sidles up to Papa Bear with a now cranky Toddler and hisses furiously that it is time to leave. Fast forward to bed time where after much rocking, off-key singing, feeding, patting, foot massage (yeah, you read that right) Toddler is finally asleep.

12 a.m.: Mommy ravenous after the evening’s minute meal and marathon running. Raids larder at 12.15 a.m.

                                                                           ****

Basically that‚Äôs my whole ‚Äėevening out‚Äô in a nutshell. This is how I come back hungrier than I was before dinner and also why I’m not losing weight in spite of running around the whole day! But in typically contrary Mommy fashion, now that the Toddler is asleep, I‚Äôve started to miss her¬†already. As I write this, I‚Äôm waiting for her to wake up and start the day!

Some people… suckers for punishment!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mommy of a pint-sized dictator (read toddler). Wife of a super busy entrepreneur who's also an incredibly hands-on daddy (never mind all her whingeing!). Lover of books, yoga; and fitness enthusiast (read: the long journey back to pre-natal petiteness) and member of the top secret 'New Mommy Club'. Namita in her previous avatar was a senior HR professional for over a decade in top IT, Banking and Retail MNCs. She prided herself on her people management abilities and effective conflict resolution. All of which comes to naught as she's totally owned by a toddler at negotiations.

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