We took the boys out to Friday's for dinner today. We hadn't been out to a sit-down restaurant in three months, and we wanted to celebrate a little the fact we closed on refinancing our house today. Plus, neither of us felt like cooking.
This might have been the most calm, most enjoyable meal we've had at a restaurant in a long time. Any trip to a restaurant with a 4-year-old and 1-year-old is going to be an adventure, but this was a good adventure. Both boys ate their food and didn't get crabby. Wife and I got to enjoy our meals instead of eating as fast as possible to avert a future meltdown by one or both children. Eldest didn't even freak out when the waiter mistakenly brought him chicken fingers instead of macaroni and cheese. He just ate his mandarin oranges (the side dish) and waited. His only real glitch was dropping his fork on the floor, then wanting to use the same fork. But he didn't even get that upset about that.
We don't eat out often and aren't planning to start dinners out, but once a month is good, not just because it gives the boys experience on how to behave in public, but also because it's family time outside of the house. It's the kind of adventure to look forward to.