T is a burger joint kind of kid. So he was less than thrilled to learn that we were going out to a French bistro for dinner with a dear friend.
Admittedly, I was nervous. No kids’ menu (& definitely no mac & cheese). No TV to distract him (& we don’t have any kid apps on any handheld devices). Yelp even tried to warn me: Not a kid-friendly place. It’s French!
Were we jerks for dragging our child (albeit early) to a nice, kinda romantic, French restaurant? I agreed to this supposedly kid-unfriendly-plan for a few reasons.
First, our friend picked it & he’s leaving the country soon… Shouldn’t he get to pick? This is his pick! We’re not going to send him away full of mediocre American fare!
Second, I secretly had faith that T would hold his own. He’s been into table conversation lately & hanging with the grown ups (though two weeks ago he was also a wild banshee at our corner (wait for it…) burger joint). He’s fairly adventurous when it comes down to it & I don’t think a croque monsieur (basically a grilled ham & cheese sandwich) is really all that adventurous. And of course, there’d be French fries!
Plus, we will in all likelihood not be eating out much in the near future (more on this culinary challenge another day…), so going out with a bang was really an irresistible draw for me. I adore French food & the liver dish on the menu sounded divine.
So how’d we fare (& more importantly, how did the other diners fare)? I would love to say that T unfolded the white cloth napkin & placed it on his lap without prompting. Or that he ordered his croque monsieur with a French accent. Or that he sat sweetly at the table & used only his “inside” voice.
And I didn’t have high hopes going in. I met up with our little party at a bookstore where, within five minutes, T almost ruined (& purchased) a pop-up book & started hitting me for … I forget why. Yeah, high hopes…
But the boy is full of surprises & we all enjoyed a sophisticated & leisurely meal. Maybe if I had read Bringing Up Bébé or French Kids Eat Everything or some other obnoxious book by an American mother about why French parents are so much better than us American parenting hacks, today’s events would not have been so earth-shattering, but I didn’t, so there you have it. (I don’t usually brag on this blog & ya’ll know I’m more than willing to share my parenting struggles & failures, so today I’m letting myself brag.)
We sat outside (thankfully, because not only were we not inside the fancy French restaurant but the outdoor tables were covered in paper, a convenient drawing surface). T tried escargots (snails: didn’t like it) & lapin (rabbit: liked it well enough, especially with noodles). He ordered the ham & cheese sandwich & was only slightly disappointed to find the cheese melted on the outside of the sandwich. But he devoured most of it (along with his frites) & when he was done he asked the busboy (& I quote) “Sir, can I please have a box for my sam-ich.”
Of course, he also yelled “Bye, guy!” loudly & obnoxiously to our waiter at one point. And he squirmed & ran around a bit as he waited for our shared bowl of sorbet (the kid tried freaking escargots; of course he gets dessert!).
But seriously, I don’t think he even scared the pregnant lady, who was having a romantic dinner with her partner. (But, lady, don’t get your hopes up: This meal was 4+ years in the making & our success rate is exactly 1:1,550.)