Surviving a Meal Out in Public with My Baby

Baby grabbing his baby bottle at a restaurant

I’m not sure what obsessed me to do it. Maybe because I wanted to prove I could. Eating alone with a baby can teach you many things. First and foremost, humility.

My husband was with my son one afternoon and I decided that I was going to go shopping with my little girl. It would be an easy little errand, I said to myself. It’ll be a breeze, I told myself.

I had my purse and my 5-month-old in her sling. I walked, more than pranced, around the local indoor mall. I went inside shops and strolled by window displays, all the while my baby girl slept in her cradled position. Life was perfect – until I got hungry.

There was franchised restaraunt inside this particular mall, a place that caters to family, so I wasn’t concerned with a mess or disruption. It’s like I knew it was coming but I didn’t really know.

She woke up as I was seated by the hostess. I asked for a highchair and she started to cry. i pulled her out of the sling and her cries got louder. People started to turn and look, but I didn’t care. I know how to calm her down.

The waitress asked for my drink order, but I was prepared with my full order as I sat my baby down and got a bottle ready. Baby girl continued to wail loudly and I rattled off my order complete with a request for extra napkins. I lifted my crying girl and set her up to feed.

But she didn’t take the bottle. In fact, she slapped it away and started to squirm. I sweated a little at her continous cry and lack of desire for milk. I changed her position in my arms, stood up and danced to the speaker music. This should work, I thought to myself. I sang while we danced, yet she wailed over my singing voice. She started to kick. I moved further from the table, but not before she got a great shot of my iced tea. The next tables were within range of the iced-tea shower and asked to be moved from us. Still, I let things go and tried to calm her down.

I waved down the waitress and told her I was heading the restroom and if she could help with the tea spill. Maybe if I changed the baby, that would help. She still hadn’t stopped crying. I was moving from stressed to minor panic mode. I quickly changed¬†a dry diaper¬†to another dry diaper, making adjustments to make sure it wasn’t pinching. She looked up and cooed. SUCCESS!, I thought. I smiled down at her sweet face and thought,¬†I can rock this!

We headed back to the table and I held her while trying the bottle again. She screamed bloody murder at the bottle and then at me. I quickly put it away and shushed her, to no avail. She was totally pissed and was determined to let everyone know.

Our food had arrived shortly after returning from the restroom and I had no desire to try and eat there now. I put my very beautful but very loud little monster in the highchair (She was already screaming so I might as well…) and packed up while waving down someone¬†– anyone¬†– to box up my food and let me pay. By this time, my daughter had thrown her head back in the chair and was scream-cry-coughing as I desperately attempted to RUN AWAY!!!

I finally gave up, threw a $20 down, scooped up my attention-grabbing baby and left. I could feel every eye on me as I ran-walked out of there.

The minute I stepped into the mall again, she calmed down. In an instant. She even started to make sweet babbles and coos.

And I vowed to myself, Never again. Never alone again.