It's difficult for me to describe just how excited I was to go to a restaurant for the first time since having my son. I had been "trapped," for lack of a better word, in my house, eating quick, easy-to-make meals and lacked human interaction. I was finally getting the chance to be out in the real world with adults and delicious food and maybe even a much-needed beer. Of course, I completely overlooked the things my baby was thinking when I took him to a restaurant for the first time, and that oversight proved to be fairly detrimental. If I would have looked at the situation through the eyes of a newborn, I probably would have been better prepared for the dumpster fire I was walking into.
I had such high hopes for that initial outing, but taking a newborn anywhere — especially a place where you usually sit still, is usually crowded and is usually loud — isn't easy. I completely underestimated just how difficult it would be, and how exhausted the entire "outing" was going to make me. I mean, here I was looking at my seven pound baby, thinking that this would be a no-brainer. We would sit down in a booth (because duh) and I would feed him when he was hungry (which is easy, because his food comes out of my breasts) and for the most part he would just sleep, because that's all he really does anyway.
Nope. Nope, nope, nope. My baby had a massive blowout and was startled by a dropped plate and was crying and people were giving me weird looks when I breastfed and the baby bag was heavy and dear lord, why is it so hard to eat when you're simultaneously holding a newborn? It was, well, an intense situation, so I can only imagine what my baby was thinking throughout the entire process. I will never know for sure, but I think it's safe to assume he had the following thoughts, and frequently:
"I'm Going To Ruin This Entire Experience For You"
I remember looking forward to a night out at my favorite (kid-friendly) restaurant when I was a few weeks postpartum. I had been essentially "trapped" inside of my home, leaving only to take my kid (or myself) to a necessary doctor's appointment and trust me when I say that the pediatrician or your postpartum doctor visit is in no way a vacation.
Of course, I should have known better. Taking your newborn baby to a restaurant isn't necessarily a vacation, either. When your kid cries (and they will, even if it's just for a small amount of time) you'll wish desperately that you were back in your living room.
"Look At All These People!"
It must have been a trip to go from our small apartment where a grand total of three people lived, to a large restaurant filled with numerous people. No wonder my newborn son was a little taken aback and even frightened.
"Why Doesn't Our Home Smell This Awesome When You Cook?"
Look, sweet child of mine; I'm not a "chef" but I am doing my best.
(I wasn't that great of a cook prior to procreating, and pushing a human being out of my body didn't suddenly make me a connoisseur of fine dining experiences.)
"That Person Looks Like They'll Judge You When You Breastfeed Me..."
I exclusively breastfed my son, so taking him to a restaurant meant taking my boobs out if my son was hungry. To say that I wasn't at least slightly nervous about the kind of treatment I would receive for publicly breastfeeding without a cover.
I think my son had a better handle on how would be supportive and who would ask me to go to the bathroom, because I was always shocked when someone was rude and my kid didn't seem to care at all. #Jealous
"...And That Person Looks Like They'll Shame You If You Give Me A Bottle"
Of course, I also took advantage of my breast pump when I knew I was going to be in a place that wasn't going to be kind to breastfeeding mothers. I didn't realize, though, that I would be judged regardless of whatever method I chose to feed my son breast milk. If I used my breasts, I was "inappropriate." If I used a bottle, I was "selfish."
Man, a mama can't win, can she?
"This Is More Work Than You Thought, Huh?"
Here I was, thinking that going out to eat would be easier than staying in and cooking something myself. Silly, silly me.
It didn't take me long to realize that trying to appease my newborn while trying to eat without making a huge mess while breastfeeding my son while combatting any potential judgment and changing him in some not-all-that clean bathroom is, you know, not easy either.
"Sorry I Come With So Much Stuff, Because That Bag Looks Heavy"
Why, oh why, does a tiny little human being need so much damn stuff? It is unbelievable that a newborn needs a 50 pound bag of crap, on the off-chance something might, maybe, potentially happen.
Diapers and wipes, two or three extra outfits, ten pacifiers in case you drop nine of them (which you will), and some toys that your baby is never going to use but you have to prove to your baby that you think about them and their needs. You pack bottles (maybe) and formula (perhaps) and a hat and gloves even though it's summer time because you never know with the weather these days. It's insanity, you guys.
"Look At How Many People Love Me And Think I'm The Cutest!"
I was never worried about my baby's self-esteem, that's for sure. If he didn't hear from his father or me about how amazing and gorgeous he is, we just had to take him to a restaurant.
(It also did something for my self-esteem, but that's neither here nor there.)
"Our Server Is Getting A Ridiculous Tip, Huh?"
Yes, my sweet son. All of our servers from now until the day you turn 18-years-old and moved out, will be getting ridiculous tips.
"Well, That Was Fun. Want To Do This Again In, Say, A Year Or Two?"
I'm sure my son wanted to go back to the restaurant the next day, but there's no freakin' way I was headed back to an eating establishment with a newborn in the foreseeable future.
I thought I would be safe when he was a little older but, well, my now 2-year-old toddler doesn't make eating at a restaurant a walk in the park, either.