Ever since we had Irelyn going out to dinner has been..different.
In the beginning we had to try and time it out to make sure she wouldn't be hungry while we were there. If we did that it wasn't to bad and she would just sit in her car seat.
As she got older and could go longer in between feedings we had more of a window to work with, but then she needed to be more entertained. But, she was typically content to sit on our laps or in a high chair with something to play with. We did have to play the drop it on the floor and pick it up game very often though.
Now that she is eating "real" food we have to time it out to make sure she will eat while we are there. Tonight was the first time I ordered her food from the menu. My mother-in-law invited us to Panera with her since Joe is out of town and she loves to see Irelyn. Irelyn normally likes to eat shortly after 5 but I held her off till 6 so we could all eat together. I ordered her the mac and cheese off the kids menu and she loved it! (I ate what she couldn't and it was very yummy). She no longer will eat much baby food nor does she like to be feed. She is a very independent little lady. She didn't even want to eat the yogurt (which came in a tube like package) from the spoon because she couldn't do it herself. If we pushed it out the top of the tube she would then put her mouth on it and eat it. I do struggle finding things she can feed herself and that she will eat. The babysitter has good ideas and she does well with her. When we are at home, she tends to hand her food down to the dog when she doesn't want it. This annoys me, but I don't really know how to prevent it. Irelyn has also graduated from bottle to sippy cup. We still use bottles periodically though.
Back to going out to eat though. I think it is probably the hardest now. Mainly because she likes to walk and is not content to sit still in a high chair. She also can be loud and opinionated. I don't think she will see another fancy restaurant for quite sometime.
Something else I already knew, but can be a problematic when in public. Irelyn LOVES other kids. As soon as we got there she walked right over to another table with 2 little girls. Luckily their family was nice and the girls were happy to say hi to Irelyn. They left shortly after we got there, but then a 9 month old baby came and sat right by us. This baby was shy, but Irelyn was all about her. It was a little challenging to keep her entertained by us so these other people could enjoy their own meal.
All and all, Panera is a restaurant we can continue to go to and we had a good time. :)