Food is my husband's passion and lucky for me, he's an excellent cook. We have a great system where he cooks and I clean up – it's a marriage made in heaven. Before we had our daughter, we ate out just as much as we cooked at home and we would always go all out. We'd order a bottle of wine (or three), appetizers, entrees, desserts and our meals were often several hours long. We loved trying new places, eating new foods, comparing restaurants and going to dinner with friends. My, how things change when you have a baby.
We made a valiant effort. We smugly went to a fancy restaurant when the baby was just a few weeks old. The bottles of wine were gone – my husband drank his glass of wine alone as I scrutinized the menu for dishes that wouldn't upset the baby. I'd learned the hard way that she and dairy were not friends!
Our appetizer came and we had the nerve to pat ourselves on the back. The baby was sleeping, we were enjoying our meals the way we used to and we scoffed at all this talk that babies change your life. Just as our entrees arrived, she woke up.
Chalk it up to rookie parenting, but I didn't feed her the moment her eyes opened. They'd gotten my dish wrong (there was cheese all over it), so my husband went ahead and ate his meal while they fixed mine. The baby sat in her car seat while he finished his meal, slowly becoming more and more agitated. Still it didn't dawn on me to feed her. He took her for what was supposed to be a quick turn around the restaurant to calm her down. He disappeared while I ate my meal alone.
He'd been gone so long I began to wonder about them. It was only then that I looked at my phone and smacked myself in the forehead – it was way past time for her to eat! I flagged down our server, hurriedly paid the bill and ran out in search of my husband and the baby. I found them outside, the baby screaming at the top of her lungs, him sweating, with a look of desperation mixed with anger and blame all over his face. Without words we got the car and headed home, shaken (him) and guilty (me.) We were at the restaurant less than an hour.
We haven't had a fancy sit-down dinner since. We eat in shifts now and I've been known to shovel food in my mouth straight from the pot on the stove. Now when we go out, we are acutely aware of the time and I nurse at the slightest sign of fussiness. It'll be while before we get back to our three-hour dinners, but a to-go box at three in the morning isn't that bad either!