Monday, January 10, 2011

Brunch in 40 Easy Steps!

Another one of our New Years Resolution was to take the boys out to eat more often. New Yorker's tend to eat out quite a bit and we are no exception. That has been curbed drastically since the boys were born (and honestly, our wallets were happy to take a break) but now we are ready to ease back into our neighborhood restaurants.

It was pretty easy to eat out when they were newborns and after that, we would put them in carriers during nap time and go get lunch. But after 5 months old, things got very complicated! We started solids and nap training--neither of which made it easy to take the babies out to eat. So, we just didn't.
They wouldn't fit into the restaurant highchairs and we would've spent the entire time feeding them and not getting to eat ourselves. With only one baby, you can take turns. But with two...there are no breaks. It just wasn't worth the hassle.
Now, they are eating just about everything they can get their hands on and we want them to get used to eating out and behaving well (oh, we can hope, yes?!).

On New Year's Day, we went out to brunch at a local diner. It went very well. So well that the next day we went to breakfast at a local cafe. We decided the diner had more action, faster food, same quality of food as the more upscale cafe and we spent significantly less money at the diner.
Both times the boys behaved well and we left patting ourselves on the back.
This past weekend, we braved the diner and again had an excellent brunch. It's faster than I prefer to eat, but then again most of my meals for the last year have been fast and furious.

We found the best way to get in and out is by wearing them in the Ergo's rather than taking the two single strollers and then trying to figure out where to 'park them' or fold and store them. If you have never been in a NYC cafe/diner, think small, cramped and crowded!

At Home:
  1. Make sure you are dressed
  2. Get baby dressed
  3. Put baby in snowsuit/bunting with hat
  4. Put boots on baby
  5. Put coat on yourself, zip up
  6. Fasten Ergo around waist
  7. Find baby
  8. Put baby in Ergo
  9. Put on shoes (we don't wear shoes in our house)
  10. Grab backpack and gloves and walk to diner!

At Diner:
  1. Take everything off baby's side of table
  2. Wipe down table with wipes from your backpack
  3. Take baby out of Ergo, drape Ergo over back of highchair
  4. Put baby in your lap facing away from the table where he can grab everything and take off boots and snowsuit
  5. Put baby in highchair while trying not to let snowsuit drop to dirty floor. Realize the baby boots are on the table and are now being thrown to the floor.
  6. Find container of O's in the backpack and throw a pile on the table ASAP
  7. Once baby is occupied take your coat off before you pass out from overheating
  8. Glance at menu, order as soon as possible and ask for check at same time
  9. Start cutting up bananas and putting them on the table in front of baby
  10. Realize you forgot to put on their bibs. Put them on.
  11. Once food comes (it's a diner, it's fast, yeah!) starting tearing off pieces of everything and putting in on the table in front of the babies
  12. Start to panic that the babies are eating so quickly, you still haven't taken a bite
  13. Remind yourself that next time you should bring more cut up food so you have a chance to eat
  14. Eat. Fast.
  15. Keep giving the boys food. They seem to be a bottomless pit.
  16. Break out the cheese sticks.
  17. Keep eating
  18. Realize that your 'babies' have now eaten: O's, bananas, blueberries, plain buckwheat pancakes, hash browns, turkey sausage, scrambled eggs, buttered wheat toast, cantaloupe, honeydew and a stick of cheddar cheese
  19. Mentally calculate your grocery bill with 2 boys
  20. Decide 2 children is enough
  21. Pay bill, leave a big tip as you glance at the table and the floor.
  22. Give the kids the jam packets to play with while you finish eating. Hope that they don't bite holes in them.
  23. Take off bibs, wipe down faces and hands and table.
  24. Put on your coat, zip up and pray you don't overheat.
  25. Fasten Ergo around waist
  26. Start sweating.
  27. Take baby out of highchair, facing your chair sideways and put on his snowsuit.
  28. Curse that the boots are on the floor, find boots and put them on.
  29. Deep breaths as squirmy baby starts squawking
  30. Put baby in Ergo, put on gloves, grab backpack. Take a look at table to make sure you haven't forgotten anything and walk outside before you pass out.

See? Easy as can be.

Curious....where do you put the baby's food when you go out to eat?? If we put it on a plate, they would just fling it over the side, same goes with a place mat. We've tried the suction bowls, but our boys get them off in about 10 seconds. So...we just disinfect the table (we forgot the first time, ick!) and tell ourselves it's good for their immune systems to be exposed to some germs.
Jan 2, 2011. Checking out the menu. Breakfast at the cafe in our P.J.'s
Jan. 1, 2011. First brunch out at the diner. W2 needs a trim. Looks like he's starting to sport a bad comb-over.
Jan. 1, 2011 Diner Brunch


Anonymous said...

We use the Tiny Diner (check it out on Amazon). That said, I think wiping the table down yourself is probably just as good. Yay for restaurants!

Anonymous said...

Love it. :) I also find that I'm eating so much faster, too....probably not great for my digestion, but those tiny mouths don't wait!

Melissa said...

YAY! Looks like everyone had a great time.

Marcia (123 blog) said...

I love, love, LOVE this post because this is exactly what our experience has been like.

I'm nominating this for post of the week at the Multiples blog on Saturday :)

Strawberry said...

Your account sounds about right! Enjoy this's going to get even harder when they're squirmy toddlers. We just gave up on eating out. It got really rough around 18 months, even though it had been pretty great when he was younger.

We, too, would just wipe off the table and let him eat directly off it. Although he's gotten better with not tossing plates off tables, but we still have to keep an eye on him. My friends use disposable place mats that stick on the table which, while very wasteful, seems like a good idea. We used the Tiny Diner suction cup place mat for a few months, but he figured out how to pull it off the table so there went that idea!

Kathryn said...

I second the disposable place mat option. They stick on and you know that they're clean.

CD and SP said...

The disposable placemats we have are paper, so they recycle or decompose. A little pricier, but peace of mind and all. We buy them at BRU and always have them in the diaper bag. Now that he's a bit older we don't need them so much.

Anonymous said...

This sounds about right :-) PBS was good with plates so we used those but we also used to wipe the table or just grabbed a napkin. I hope it gets easier and you get to enjoy your meals out more.

next in line said...

You two are so great. Bee loves the tiny diner. It is so much fun to pull off. She had to eat off the table. Eat out all you can before walking is more fun than eating!

Carey said...

We used the disposable ones too. Luckily, the time you need them (until they can handle plates) is pretty short. And if two is hard, imagine three! Luckily, it gets so much easier :)

Nicole said...

I have to say, it's a damn good thing they're so cute because there's nothing that sounds easy about any of that!

Laurie said...

This post made me giggle :) We used to put food directly on the table for Ryan. Only recently do we put it on a plate and give him a fork and/or spoon. He eats off of it until he's done... then it goes flying!

Libberal said...

Damn, that's impressive.

Anonymous said...

That WAS easy! Ha! You and Chicken rock.

We take ours to dim sum because its loud and masks their fussing. The food comes as soon as you sit down, no waiting so its fast and easy and you can get up and leave if they start to melt down without waiting for the ckeck. Admittedly though, we haven't taken them to eat anywhere else in quite some time. They are hard to keep occupied right now

vigilceo said...

Hee...hee... 'ask for the check at the same time'
LOL! I know this all too well!

boombamama said...

i want to write you a post about taking two 4 yr olds to dinner and brunch at restaurants ... just be happy that they are trapped in those chairs and enjoy it while it lasts :)

they are adorable!

pugmama said...

Quite the production! Sounds like you have your system down! I bet you are looking forward to warmer weather, since you'll be able to trim down your steps to sitting down and eating. :)

2girlsandtheirfamily said...

We use the disposable place mats that stick to the table. Tucking the side closest to the baby under the table is key! They work great plus have fun pictures on the to provide additional distractions for the babies!

Deanna said...

Stopped by from Marcia's link to your post this week...I can't resist an eating-out-with-twins story. I am always hoping someone has figured out all the secrets! We eat out a lot, and like you mentioned, I am hoping that my babies will learn how they are supposed to behave if we just keep doing it. Now, when do you think that might happen?!