Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Delhi Belly

Taking children out for dinner can often split opinion.

Those blessed with children, and the bless-ed without them, can agree and disagree in relative measure.

When Max was in the conception stage, my wife and me discussed our thoughts on child raising and what sort of lifestyle we were planning to have, if the stork ever flew a little one to our door.

We agreed in the main, but did argue on some points.

I could not much see the point of taking young children on holiday abroad, but my wife successfully argued that, as I would be working full time, and she probably in some capacity, these holidays would be more for the family unit than for any one person with in it, least of all the sprog.

Plus she loved the sun, and the ski actually.

One subject we were unanimous on was the impact any child was going to have on our social existence.

We appreciated that this may not have been without allowance, like going to the restaurant earlier or not staying as long at parties.

But we were both committed to involving any child of ours within all aspects of our lives.

In his very early months, while we did get about, our life was far from our normal routine for many reasons, not just due to a new born.

Samantha had open heart surgery six weeks after Max was born, and that kind of put pay to any immediate social jaunts.

It did not take my beautiful and brave wife long to recover and we were soon into a happy normal. A travel cot, or two, were purchased very early on and normal-ish service was resumed.

Then you really start to notice it is no great shakes, and I suddenly started to notice other parents out with their children.

After Sam’s death this aspect of our lives did take as big a hit as any.

I was struggling to keep it together, and had no great reason to go out for dinner, so I simply did not.

This did slowly change, with some reluctance on my part.

I would go with friends for lunch and would always have junior in tow. And I got plenty of reminders why my confidence was a tad shattered.

Particularly when people would innocently comment on how nice it was to see a man taking his child out, and that his mommy must be very proud.

Nothing like crying into a prawn salad to get people to regret ever making my acquaintance.

However, if I wanted to go out, it would be very rare that I would let the fact that I was a parent change that.

We went on a foreign holiday about 12 months after being widowed, it was a self-catering holiday near Murcia in Spain.

There was not much self-catering going on, bar one barbeque, and indeed we ate out at all sorts of restaurants around our complex.

As an 18 month old Max was introduced to many new things, like noodles, paella and burgers.

He reacted differently to each type of food, but I insisted he at least tried everything. I am hoping not to breed a boy that will turn his nose up just based on appearance.

That holiday taught me quite a lot, the main thing was that without being a larger family unit they were more trouble than they are worth.

But also that a child requires decent social skills and a parent needs to be able to exert a certain amount of control, to make visits to eating establishments pleasurable for all.

At 18 months that is a little tricky, an army of family helpers did improve matters, as did a giant bag of attention occupiers, toys and books mainly.

Little pencils are handy, as are tiny bubble makers for children of that age.

Wifey’s portable DVD player came in useful eventually, as did my PSP.

At the end of last week we went with friends, their kids, a niece and nephew for an early evening Indian meal.

It total there were three adults and five children, ranging from 11 months to 9 years-old.

The baby slept through the whole experience, which was fantastic, and the children were brilliant too.

Especially as they only really had themselves for entertainment, that and a first floor window overlooking the car park, which did seem to offer some random amusement.

Max had Bombay Aloo, Pilau rice, the mandatory chips and poppadoms with mint yoghurt.

It delights me when he tries new stuff, even more so when he actually likes what he has delved in to.

Alas, it did not delight me to assist him in the toilet the morning after.

His virgin guts were well and truly rotten.

But hopefully his semi-decent table manners are still intact. Share/Save/Bookmark


Tismee2 said...

Oh back to toilet humour I see!

My eldest won't entertain anything that doesn't look like pizza at the moment but the youngest tries everything, although hasn't yet eaten more than a teaspoon of anything Indian.

Solo-Dad said...

Ian, Goodonya! (as my friends in Oz would say) for exposing Max to the world he will inhabit and impact as an adult. I think as parents, especially we single parents, we all tend to be a bit overprotective and shelter our little ones from the big bad world. Doing what we can to consistently introduce the concepts of life-diversity is always a good thing.

Single Parent Dad said...

Tismee - I never stray too far from it.

Solo Dad - Thank you. I think so too.

harassedmomsramblings said...

How lucky is Max to get to experience so many different things!

And well done for teaching him to be so open about it!

My 2 arent and its frustrating sometimes!

Penelope said...

I'm totally with you on the trying new experiences thing. I remember taking the Lil P's to France back when I was still married. My ex ordered Snails and so Master P (aged 6) wanted exactly the same! To be fair, he ate the lot! I was the one feeling rough that day ;o)
I do hope Max recovers quickly :o)

Single Parent Dad said...

Harassedmom - He is a lucky boy in many ways, aren't we all?

Penelope - Snails, might be a bridge too far for Max, and me for that matter. And he recovered quickly, my nostrils did not.

Mama Nabi said...

Ooh. Did you get him a mango lassi? That is LN's absolute fav. She used to like spicy food but now wrinkles her nose at it. She still loves her Chicken Tandoori.

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