Calling all couples who remember going out for a meal 'pre-baby' days. Go grab a cup of coffee, sit down and take a minute to delve in to the depths of your memory to revisit those priceless moments.
Remember them? You know the meals I mean. Let me refresh those bleary eyes. The meals where you would spend an unlimited amount of time getting ready for. You would both choose an elegant outfit for the evening; share a bottle of White Zinfandel whilst listening to her choice of music in the background. A taxi would be pre-booked as would your table at the restaurant.
You arrive eager for a good evening. And yes, you do have a good evening; it does not let you down. You slowly glance at the drinks menu and order a bottle of £14.95 wine. Wow, £14.95. In between delightful conversation about how you can't wait for your trip to Dubai, you have a brief look at the sumptuous food menu. You request the waiter/waitress to come back in a few minutes before your food decision has been made. You have all the time in the world. You could sit there for four hours before ordering food if you wanted to.
You are ready to order, "Shall we have a starter"? "Yes, why not". You order a starter to share; you proceed to order your main course, and deep-down you know a pudding could also be on the evening's agenda. Heck, you may even end up in Mcdonalds for a Mcflurry. Who knows. Who cares.
You ensue to begin your starter, immediately satisfying those eager taste buds. Conversation continues to develop, "Shall we go to a bar after here"? "Yes, why not". Second bottle of wine is brought to the table -- shortly after, your main course arrives on cue. Conversation is now immense, laughter in abundance. Everything appears in slow motion. Bliss.
Pudding arrives. You have now been in the restaurant for two hours. Taking-your-time-with-everything is the order of the day here -- it is so relaxing. You order your third bottle of wine. You don't need the third bottle. You fail to finish the third bottle, but you somehow manage to remain in the restaurant a further two hours, lost in deep conversation. Deep in love.
You proceed to go to the previously suggested cocktail bar for a few...well, cocktails, to wash it all down with.
You arrive back home between 1:30-3:30am after setting out at 7.
Remember those meals out? Thought so. I do.
And then baby arrives.
Let me now give you a rundown of your new-age meals when you have an extra guest at the table with you - namely your 11-month-old.
One of you arrives home from work at 5.30 to greet the other, "Did you remember to get the meat out of the freezer"? "No". "Let's go to Frankie and Benny's". "OK". Dressed in your coffee stained work clothes, you both head out of the door seven minutes later.... with baby and her three bags in tow.
You get to Frankie and Benny's and ask for a high-chair for baby. You struggle to strap baby in for up to three minutes. You order your drinks (whilst strapping baby in); order your food (to save time, you have pre-looked at the menu online); eat half a mouthful of your food; feed baby; continuously look at baby and not at each other; finish your food but forget to drink your drink. No conversation. You pay the bill and return home 38 minutes later. The end.