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eating with my iPhone

I have a 2.5 year old.  The thing they don’t tell you in parenting books is that eating out with a kid when they are between 2 and 3 is seriously thankless business, on a level with making your own yogurt (learn from me: it’s $.80 cents a cup in the stores, and you don’t have to grow your own bacteria).  If your kid is an eater, maybe it works better.  But Tate is not an eater.

I appreciate when kindly waiters ask if I’d prefer that they bring the kids’ meals out first.  They’re trying to get food to the kid as quickly as possible, and that’s cute.  But the only way I have a prayer of getting to eat my own food is if Tate’s meal comes out at precisely the same time as mine.  From the moment our food hits the table, I have three minutes to finish my meal before Tate loses interest in his.  I tend to exaggerate a lot, but I’m not exaggerating with that sentence.  Three minutes might actually be overstating the correct length of time.

Anyway, that fourth minute is where my iPhone comes in.  I’ve gotten lots of dirty looks from people whenever I pull out the iPhone at a restaurant with Tate.  Here’s what I have to say to those pitiless souls: stare away, you judgmental freaks.  And how about giving me your home address, so I can come over and shake my head disapprovingly at you the next time you are going through some difficult moment in your life.

Years ago, I heard a story on “This American Life” about a guy who resisted using wheeled luggage for years because he thought only a wuss would wheel his stuff behind him–until he realized that it was just WHEELS, and they made travel a lot easier.  And that’s how I feel about the iPhone in restaurants.  I think Luddites are great and they make some really nice furniture and pickles, but for me, I’m going to use the technology when it’s appropriate.  If my iPhone can buy me the five minutes I need to inhale my plate of pasta and gulp down some pinot after wrestling six pieces of food into Tate’s mouth, it’s happening.  Besides, it’s not like I’d be having a real conversation with Tate but for the iPhone.  I mean, he can talk, but it’s not the most riveting stuff, assuming I can even understand what he is saying.  And I have to come up with all the topics for conversation, which can get tiresome.

I never feel the need to pull out my phone in order to eat with my 5-year old, so I know this moment will run its course.  Until then, this mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.

27 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this . . . but I sense you won’t judge me. When Kate was Tate’s age, she wanted all my food. All the time. I have food issues as it is, so let’s just say it was a hard time in my life. Anyway, one day I was pregnant with Parker and all I wanted to do was eat my peanut butter sandwich in peace, so I wandered away into an empty room, into a quiet corner. She found me, of course. “Whatcha eatin?” she said. I knew if I said a peanut butter sandwich, she would demand it. So I said “An air sandwich.” “Air sandwich? What’s that?” she said. “Ummm,” I stalled. “Two pieces of bread?” She leaned in, sniffed my sandwich and loudly declared “Peanut butter! I want peanut butter!”

    It’s very sad when your toddler busts you.

    And don’ even get me started on how much bacon she stole from me during those years.

    June 8, 2012
    • Very funny. It takes a brave woman to admit she keeps food from her children. My respect for you just jumped to a new level, Joan.

      June 10, 2012
  2. Amara #

    Now you know why we bought the boys their own itouchs!!

    June 7, 2012
  3. Kristin Corcoran #

    By any means necessary! I have no problem with bringing the I touches! My hubby and I both check to make sure they are charged every day and are ready to go for any dinner, pre-movie activity or any situation where we feel that we can only entertain for so long!! My 8 year old doesn’t really ask for it anymore and we find plenty to talk about. You have my backing!!

    June 7, 2012
    • sounds like i need to explore the different devices available to me. i don’t even know what an itouch does. but as i say, i’m hopeful that tate will be able to talk about clothes soon

      June 7, 2012
  4. bobbieschae #

    Preach it sister! Been there, still doing that and my boys are 9 and 5! 🙂

    June 7, 2012
    • i like that i’m preaching to the choir on this one…

      June 7, 2012
      • bobbieschae #


        June 10, 2012
  5. Amen, Yoona. You are doing everyone in the restaurant a big favor by trying to keep your toddler engaged during mealtime, not to mention refueling your own body, so the staring jerks can just shove it.

    June 7, 2012
    • exactly. i need to refuel so i can power through the next hour and a half to their bedtimes. you don’t want to be running on fumes for the toddler tooth brushing

      June 7, 2012
      • Yep. T-minus 2.25 hours. Let’s hope that popsicle was enough carbs for me…

        June 7, 2012
  6. DB #

    We pulled out our iPads when we wanted to go clothes shopping in Paris, and the people at the store said that the kids were so well behaved (for the 2 hours we were there) that they were thinking of buying some themselves to give out to kids.

    June 7, 2012
    • “clothes shopping in paris?” tell me more.

      June 7, 2012
      • DB #

        We had basically done everything for/with the kids, and we just wanted to go to one store that was literally 50 feet (metres?) away from where we were staying, so we took the ipads and went to the store (Adolfo Dominguez– I got a blazer with a built in hoodie and a suit.

        June 7, 2012
  7. Jessica #

    My son is just shy of 2 and we recently took a train to Paris. I pulled out the iPhone or iPad on the train and in every single French restaurant we visited. It has also made appearances on grocery and other shopping trips. For whatever looks I get that are supposed to “shame” me, it seems that the joke’s on them, because those ingenious little gadgets have saved me much more embarrassment then I would feel had I never pulled them out.

    June 7, 2012
    • these comments are making me realize that my husband needs an ipad for father’s day

      June 7, 2012
      • Jessica #

        Mine was a mother’s day gift last year! Also I realize I made a glaring then/than error up there that actually does embarrass me. Apologies for that!

        June 7, 2012
  8. I always wonder if they would look at me the same way if I refused to give the kid the phone and he decided to throw a gigantic tantrum and scream while I tried to eat the rest of my dinner. Or better yet decide to run around squealing at all the patrons! I say give him him the phone and stick your tongue out at the rest of them! 🙂

    June 7, 2012
    • giving the iphone to my kid is really my gift to humanity. i like this approach and am running with it

      June 7, 2012
  9. No shame! With a toddler, someone is always going to stare at you for something. Let ’em.

    June 7, 2012
    • i love that. it is so true. better for an iphone than for public disrobing, which also happens with tate quite frequently

      June 7, 2012
  10. hallerwoman #

    i ❤ you.

    June 7, 2012
  11. hmmmm sounds like a great idea to me, we tend to just eat in relays with one of us invariably ending up with cold food.

    June 7, 2012
    • are you saying that you own an iphone and have never pulled one out at mealtime for your kid? if so, i toast you, mr. bunny chow

      June 7, 2012
      • to be fair my kid is only interested in eating my iPhone I’ve not tried in a while though he’s grown up quite a bit since.

        I think it’s a great idea and if other people don’t agree they don’t have toddlers.

        June 7, 2012

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