by Jocelyn Jane Cox
Welcome to the Chronicles of Parenting by local author, freelance writer, blogger and parent-of-toddler Jocelyn Jane Cox. Read on for advice you never knew you needed and the chuckles you know you really need, tailored to those who live in the Great State of Parenthood.
Bravo on deciding to bring your toddler to a restaurant. This shows that you are a brave soul and also a glutton for punishment. Just be aware that the high chair is a key factor in this culinary experiment. Here are some hazards to watch out for:
- There is NO high chair: As soon as you walk through the front door of a restaurant, turn on your high chair radar and scan for one that isn’t in use. If there isn’t one available, you might as well head back home. If you choose to stay, just know that sitting with a writhing octopus child on your lap will seriously impede access to your own meal. Also, plunking him or her on a regular chair is asking for disaster, as he or she will almost immediately slide, hop, or fall onto the floor then run amok.
- The buckle is broken: You know you’re in for a wild ride and wild rides require seatbelts. If the high chair buckle is busted, or if the strap looks like it frayed about 4,000 meals ago, then you’ve got some quick work to do: in other words, a high chair hack. You’ll need to access your limited knowledge of sailor’s knots and start a’tying. You may also have to get the strap of your diaper bag involved as reinforcement. Basically, you’ll need all the help you can get if your little hulk decides it’s time to do some chair surfing.
- The high chair is filthy: Of course, even if you’re not easily skeeved out, you’ve become accustomed to immediately scrubbing these things down with wipes, knowing that the worst germs are the ones you can’t see. But some high chairs seem to be literally caked with dried ketchup and fruit puree. Therefore, you may have to get out a chisel. The good news is that this project will burn lots of calories and you’ll be far too disgusted to eat your own meal. We’ll call this the Filthy High Chair Diet Plan.
- The high chair is within striking distance of another table: Some restaurants are so tightly packed you’re lucky if you can squeeze the high chair in at all. Pay close attention if your toddler can reach the utensils, food, and people trying to enjoy a meal beside you. You can try to keep your toddler’s hands occupied and keep the focus forward, but chances are good that your neighbors are going to get ice cold water flung into their laps. Don’t be offended if they request a location change.
- The high chair is unstable: Some of these contraptions are so rickety they seem almost like rocking chairs. If your child can reach his or her feet to push against table, they’re liable to tip themselves backwards. You’re going to have to use one of your legs to stabilize the chair throughout the meal, even if it means risking a groin pull.
Despite all these risks, it’s still nice to get out of the house and have your kid throw food on someone else’s floor for a change. Enjoy your meal!
Jocelyn Jane Cox is a freelance writer and author. Her 2012 humor book on life in the New York suburbs, The Homeowner’s Guide to Greatness: How to handle natural disasters, design dilemmas and various infestations, is available on Amazon.com. Follow her on Twitter at @JocelynJaneCox.
The Chronicles of Parenting is sponsored by The Palisades Center, your one-stop-shop for fun. Come to the Palisades Center for Munchkin Mondays, childrens’ concerts throughout the summer in the East Court. See the complete schedule of summer events at PalisadesCenter.com.