Friday, February 25, 2011

Eating out

I'm a firm believer that babies (actually, all children) should go everywhere.  Call me old-fashioned, but short of strip clubs and violent movies, babies should be part of society, and interact with the community as a whole.  It also helps that we live in a certain Brooklyn neighborhood known for its strollers and hipster parents.  I mean, most businesses around here cater to families (as if they had a choice), so its easy to take Cupcake out.

We've been taking her out and about to cafes, coffee shops, and restaurants since she was a few weeks old.  It's good for her to be exposed to city noise and "real" life, and its even better for us to get out of the house.  And we've accomplished this without ever setting food in a fast food joint, Chilli's, or any of those "family friendly" chain restaurants (which really seems code for mediocre food, but they'll let your toddler throw food at the wall).  I'll revisit this last statement when Cupcake gets older and starts to walk, as I'm sure I will come back and eat my words.  But it's my sincere belief that children that are exposed to restaurants and adult life from an early age learn to adapt their behavior to those situations.

Last night we went to a local Ale House for the first time.  I was a bit apprehensive because it's technically a bar, and I feared the music might be too loud.  (I should add at this moment that I have very European sensibilities, and think there's no reason children shouldn't be in a bar.  By this I mean a pub-style place, where they have food and drinks and its a relaxed atmosphere.  Keep babies away from dance clubs, fratty college bars, and smoke-filled music venues, please.)  We needn't have worried.  As soon as we arrived the bartender asked if we needed a high chair.  Oh, I love this neighborhood.

We ordered a beer and burger each.  Cupcake was awake the entire time and we took turns holding her and eating, declining the high chair offer since she can't quite sit on her own yet.  Sure, we left a  bit faster than we usually do (Cupcake began to get antsy as we were finishing our meal), but we had time to finish all our food.  Maybe "hanging out" at a pub is harder with baby, but being there for a bit is no problem.  Food was good, beer was excellent, and spending an evening with the family in an Ale House?  Priceless.

Maybe we just have a particularly chill baby, but I doubt that.  Other kids from our baby group are also perfectly quiet and happy when we meet in coffee shops or grab brunch with them in tow.  And they take them out and about in the city too.  Coincidence?  I think not.

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