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Pushing the Limits

Pushing the Limits

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This past weekend my husband, son and I ventured out for lunch with a few of our closest friends, all 24 of us!! we all packed in to East Side Marios for a great sit down lunch, after a busy morning.

I was really looking forward to catching up with friends, and eating some of their signature salads and bread sticks. The kids were great, each finding their seats and getting busy with their coloring books and crayons courtesy of the staff. As the kids sat quietly, the parents had a great time catching up. We all enjoyed lunch, and were all on our way in time for our kids to nap peacefully on the ride home.

Hold the train…….This is what I was expecting to happen, it didn’t!.

Since my son was born, we always took him to restaurants. As he grew up, things changed, and we adapted. At first he slept peacefully through the meal, next we fed him his solids as we enjoyed our meal, and finally we ordered off the kids menu. We always brought toys to entertain him, and knew to get in and out quickly to avoid any breakdowns.

As our son has grown, we don’t go out as often. So that’s why my experience on the weekend was surprising. As soon as we arrived at the restaurant our son was not happy. He didn’t want to sit in his seat, just wanted to run around with the other kids, and was just wired. We tried distraction after distraction but our frustration continued to grow concerning both our son and each other.

An hour and a half later, we were in the car, Carter sleeping in the back seat from exhaustion, and us shaking our heads wondering why we put ourselves through this.

At first we were really frustrated with Carter.  Why couldn’t he sit peacefully through one meal, like the other kids.  Why did he always have to misbehave?  Why doesn’t he listen?  We quickly realized that we set up him up for this.  He was telling us all along that it was too much, and we kept pushing the limits.  He was hungry, and should have ate an hour ago, he was tired, it was 30 minutes past  his nap time, and he was overstimulated.  He was in a room with his closest friends and he was expected to sit still?

We reflected on other experiences we have had lately and realized we really were pushing the limits with Carter and setting up unrealistic expectations.   He thrives on routine, and we were asking him to throw that to the wind on numerous occasions.  We quickly understood that we could have avoided these behaviors had we made better choices for us and our son.

We finally had that ah-ha moment where we realized we had to make some changes to adapt to our sons current stage in life.  We might not be able to enjoy dinners out, might have to leave get togethers early to avoid melt downs, and might have to say no thanks to a few events.

This is a stage, and it too will pass.  In the mean time, we will continue to grow as parents and work with our son to ensure he is happy and adapting to every stage in life.

Was there a stage in your children’s life that surprised you?  Were you prepared?  What did you do to adapt?  

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Comments (4)

  1. Erin Thursday - 22 / 11 / 2012 Reply
    Hey girl! This is SO MY FAMILY! I find the same thing... we often end up in these situations and at first we're like, "Why is she being like this?!" until we realize the same thing - that we pushed her too hard and too far. Great post momma. xo
  2. Tricia Thursday - 22 / 11 / 2012 Reply
    Thanks Erin. Its hard because we want some sort of 'normalcy' as our kids get more independent but are constantly reminded we aren't at that stage yet. In a few years we will miss these days :)
  3. Crystal Friday - 23 / 11 / 2012 Reply
    It is sooo hard you are right Tricia! We often do blame the kids, when really we still need to be sensitive to their schedules. Thanks for reminding us all of this! xo
  4. Lisa Monday - 26 / 11 / 2012 Reply
    Good post, Tricia. I don't know how old your son is, but I have three kids: 6.5, 5, 3.5. We have had frustrating meals out and meals where afterwards we ask ourselves, "What was the point of spending all that money at a restaurant and not enjoying it?" My kids are a little older now, and (I like to think), the more well behaved of the group. We have found that rather than trying to work around their schedules all the time, keep them with a schedule that works for everyone and go to a restaurant that is kid-friendly (yes, East Side Mario's has a kid menu, but can your kid move in there? No. The tables are too tightly packed.) We've never strapped them in their seats and not let them move, we allow them to wander around, as long as they're not bothering anyone. I also try to take a few snacks with me so that if the meal is taking longer than expected, they can snack on grapes, veggie sticks or something else that's healthy. As they get older, it is certainly getting easier to go out for a meal! Good luck!

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