We don't eat out much. In fact, I would say we eat out approximately once every six weeks. Many reasons keep us from eating beyond our own kitchen. The main reason is money, first and foremost. We have just enough money for groceries every month, so buying food somewhere else doesn't exactly fit in the budget. When we do eat out it's nearly always because we've saved money specifically for that outing. We also don't eat out because we are mostly against fast food, leaving us with the option of sitting down in a restaurant...
...sitting in a restaurant. Hmm.
I can't imagine what sitting in a restaurant would look like with our two girls. Sydney, of course, does fine in a restaurant except that she won't eat any of the food until we find a place that has watermelon and blueberries on the menu. Jules doesn't do fine. She doesn't sit. If forced, we can keep her entertained, but it's not fun. Not relaxing. Not what I'd rather be doing instead of eating at home. If one of the reasons to eat out is because it prevents you from having to cook, we already have the answer to that dilemma. Cereal. It's a perfectly acceptable meal, chock full of vitamins, and no fat.
We can arrange our life so that we don't eat out. What we aren't willing to give up is eating out at someone's house. The trouble is we don't even do that frequently enough to give our girls much practice at developing good manners. I know the answer lies in habits formed at home, and in areas of "please," "thank you," and taking her bowl to the sink, Sydney does quite well. But I don't often make food that she won't eat because, well, because she won't eat it. And the advice of "let her go hungry" doesn't work because she won't get hungry enough to eat. She'll just cry from the hunger pains in her stomach. Needless to say, meal times are my least favorite times of the day. Why oh why does there need to be three of them?
So, when my former student invited us over to her family's house for dinner, I was both excited--I had been anxious to see her new house since I'd heard all about the construction of it--and nervous. My girls, while charming, are not good dinnertime guests. Nevertheless, we made the drive out to Gaston, prepared at least with sippy cups.
The M&M appetizers were definitely a hit.
The watermelon and blueberries were cheered.
The steak was avoided, as was the salad.
The almond rice? "I only eat white rice," said my firstborn, much to my embarrassment.
But she did eat a spoonful of the non-white rice after seeing the chocolate truffles for dessert. She did. There were some tears, but she did.
Jules was appeased with a box of raisins, which she ate while running laps around the dinner table (the result of a meal sans highchair).
Fortunately, our hosts were not even the least bit bothered. I, however, am checking out some books at the library this week to inspire better manners. Not that book knowledge will translate to real life actions, but the only other alternative is to never go anywhere. Frankly, that idea doesn't sound too terrible.
If only I could check out a book that would inspire a broader taste in foods. I only eat white rice?!...good grief.
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