Tonight, Linda, Violet, and I went out with two friends to celebrate the end of the school year and the beginning of our first summer with Violet. We made the plans during the week, not really thinking through the logistics. If we had, we would have realized that it’s been months since Violet’s been out to a restaurant for a sit down dinner. During that time, she’s become more wiggly, less willing to sit in one spot for long periods of time, and anything within arm’s reach is now fair game for grabbing and inserting into her mouth. This dawned on us as we were getting ready to go, so we hastily assembled what we hoped was a pleasing assortment of toys, and Linda had the idea to bring the stroller. Violet could (hopefully) sit in it, parked next to the table, while we ate, and we brought the chest carrier as a last resort, planning to wear her and eat at the same time, if necessary. She’s usually content in the chest carrier, but that’s because whoever’s wearing it is usually moving. Since that wouldn’t be the case at dinner, it remained unsaid that aborting dinner prematurely might have to be on the table.
We arrived and were seated, Violet next to us in her car seat stroller, and we started talking with our friends. And Violet was content. Surprisingly content. Extremely content. I started to feel guilty. Long stretches of conversation would occur and I would almost forget that Violet was there. She chewed on and played with her toys, watched us, took in her surroundings, all with a relaxed air. Now and then, I would talk to her, make a few faces at her, or change out one toy for another. I felt guilty for not talking to her more, but then I would wonder if it wasn’t better just to leave her alone and not risk breaking this spell. As an hour, and then two, went by without complaint, I began to believe that we were going to be alright. At a certain point, we did need to take her out of the stroller and let her sit on one of our laps – her hands shot out and almost upset one entrée, but she remained a calm and happy baby until after the checks were paid, when she let us know with a few mild whines that she’d had enough..
By the end of the evening, Linda and I were both wishing we had some way to reward our youngest dining companion. I can’t expect this evening’s behavior to be repeated anytime soon (although how can I not help hoping that it will be?), but, tonight, we are very proud of our girl. It's a little misplaced, but I'm going to enjoy it anyway.