How

Damn, this kid raising can really suck.  Nathan is a kid that never stops moving.    Even when strapped in his car seat his feet are dancing and his shoulders are shimming.  He is a busy kid.  He wants to explore and touch and learn how things operate and get a closer, no, closer look. 

At home this is fine.  He knows the rules and they are enforced.  If you ram into the dog with your rocket you loose the rocket for the entire day.  We park it in the garage and say goodbye and discuss why you’ve lost the rocket.   He promptly collapses to the floor and wails, rolling around inconsolable.  And, good.  He gets it.  The rest of the day when he asks for his rocket I remind him that he can’t have it until tomorrow, more crying.  Awesome.  He gets it! 

But then we go out.  Not a big deal at Target if he wants down.  He “helps” me push the cart and loves to walk the store, he is great with putting things back.  And, no one cares if a 20 month old is free in Target at 9am on Tuesday.  So, big deal.  He’s happy, I’m happy.  Not such a good thing though when you’re entertaining new staff on a Friday night in a Downtown restaurant.

He wants down.  Of course he wants down.  Because I give him too much freedom.  I let him explore and wander and why wouldn’t he want that here, now?  He sings “all done” over and over and gets angry when I offer his cup or more grapes.  His face is turning red “ALLDONE!ALLDONE”  and I know he’s about to blow a gasket.  We are with strangers in a full restaurant.  To avoid total meltdown I set him in my lap.  Noodle boy slithers right down to the floor.  Of course!  Of, f’ing course he does!   For two hours he is either walking back and forth the length of our table or hes in the booth playing with trains.  He respects boundaries.  You can walk from here, to here, I show him.  He obeys.  I only got up two times to bring him back in a two hour span.   So, is this a big deal?  I don’t know.  He stays with us but he’s down, walking back and forth tripping up waiters.   But what do I do?  How do I get him to sit still when his just wants to move and explore and be himself which I absolutely encourage and foster, the rest of the time.

How do you teach a kid his age that you have to sit when you are out?  He sits fine at home, it’s less exciting.  But take him where there are new lights and ceiling fans and a floor mat he can march on and OMG I MUST MARCH RIGHT NOW!!

How?  Let him scream and ruin the whole night ? It’s not like we are at home and he’s pissed off the dog with his rocket.  This is other peoples night out, they’re paying good money for a meal that I don’t really want to ruin.  Is it his age, will he get it in time? Is it me, I’ve given him too much space?  I took him outside and a few times and talked to him about eating at the table like a big boy.  I put him back into the highchair but it never lasted more than a few minutes before he wanted back down. We aren’t going to stop eating out because of this.  I’d still rather play the walk back and forth game than cook seven days a week.  But I’d like him to sit at the table with us every time, not every 3rd trip out.  Help.

 

edit: We went out tonight and he was perfect!  He never asked to get down and sat in the high chair the entire meal.   Happy but UGH- could you have done this best behavior bit last night?  You know, when people were watching?

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6 thoughts on “How

  1. My mom used to have two methods to correct such a situation. One was called an “understanding” and was basically a spanking and a talking to carried out in a stall in the bathroom. Some parents are ok with it, others aren’t, and some kids just don’t respond to it. The other method was if we carried on too much and didn’t heed her warnings, we’d be taken out to the car where she’d sit with us until everyone else was finished and leaving. It didn’t cause a scene like an “understanding” could and most other people understood and didn’t make a big deal out of it. And it didn’t take long for us to decide we’d rather be a part of the socializing rather than isolated with Mom out in the car.
    I don’t know if either of these will work for Nathan but I hope you find a solution that does.

  2. lol, ok, so we just threatened NO DESSERT if you get down before everyone is finished! My chilrdren LOVE LOVE LOVE DEssert! Helpful??? Didnt think so. (and yes, it is just his age)

  3. This is why we don’t go out much – that and we are cheap. Luckily she is slightly shy, so she will stay by us at a restaurant (but may end up in our lap after trying to jump from the high chair). At home, we have success if we eat as a family. Unfortunately, dh has been working late and missing dinner time. She wants to eat with him, but she won’t take a second round in the booster seat (his lap eating from his plate is the preferred location). So, that is the battle we are facing right now!

  4. Tough one. I’m not sure how you reverse that one except by waiting until he’s older to really understand it. I was HUGE on not confusing my kids. If we are eating, they sit. It didn’t matter if we were out or at home. That was the rule. Same with the cart or the stroller (and many many other things in their world). If we are out, they sit. It wasn’t acceptable to wander the store and pull things off the shelves. Because kids don’t understand changing circumstances a lot of the time. They don’t know why it’s ok at 9 am on a Tuesday but not ok at 3 pm on a Saturday. So I just tried to avoid confusing them from the beginning. They were good about it as toddlers. Now as little kids, it’s not exactly fun to take them shopping (mainly because they ask for a gazillion things) but at least they still know when we are out to eat, they are expected to sit and behave. Same with at the table at home. There is no confusion of the rules and that is because there never HAS been any confusion of the rules.
    Not sure what to tell you on how to fix that problem with Nate now. All I can do is wish you luck and patience! One thing I did with both of my kids was have a little backpack we kept in the car. I kept small snacks and toys and books in it. Quiet things for the table. They only saw the backpack and it’s contents when we were out so it was a fun thing for them to look forward to and keep them busy.

  5. We take Clara out a lot. Most of the time she’s great. Sometimes she demands more, despite having supplied crayons, cookies, etc. When that happens, Tom and I take turns walking her around the restaurant. It is not ideal, but I do think we have to put the other patrons before our expectations of Clara. Good luck!

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