When I was pregnant with Soleil I was gifted a book that changed the whole course of where my parenting ideology would go. The book was called the Continuum Concept and it is written by an explorer, Jean Liedloff, who lived with Aboriginal tribes in the deep rainforest of South America. While living with the tribes she noticed that the children were very different than American children. The tribal children were always worn on their mothers chest from the very beginning. They were never separated from the adults and learned right away how to "act" in an adult world. These children never went through the terrible two's and they were active citizens of the community by the time they were toddlers.
In regards to eating out, I learned that children should be able to eat at an adult dinner and should be included in adult social activities instead of being left out. So, I came up with my own plan. This is us below in the newborn carrier my girlfriend made me and it was my secret weapon for dining out for hours:
I will never forget the first time I ate out with my 4 week old newborn in a fancy restaurant. I was at Sly's in Carpinteria. I was with my dad, my brother, and Soleil's Dad. I had Sol on my chest in my baby carrier. We were having the loveliest time. All of a sudden I noticed that another couple of new parents were in the back of the restaurant and they were taking turns taking their upset baby outside every 10 minutes. They looked tired and frustrated. As I went to the bathroom and saw where they were sitting, I realized what the issue was for that baby.
The carseat was on the floor and the baby was in it and it was pissed. So poor mom and dad and grandma and grandpa were taking it outside every 10 minutes because the baby was crying and upset in the restaurant. I analyzed the difference between what I was doing and what they were doing and the difference was that, I had Sol included at the table, next to my chest were she wanted and needed to be, and all was right in her world. She was a dream. The other baby had been set on the floor and left out and it was bummed.
As Sol grew, I continued to keep her on my chest at all times. As she became a bit stronger, she then would sit on mine or her dad's lap at dinner. When she was strong enough to sit, she would sit next to us. When she was about 1, I started to bring a little watercolor set and a sketchbook with us and she would contently paint. And to this very day, for the most part, she sits with us without a screen, and hangs with us. Bribing with ice cream at the end of the meal is awesome too! I believe that my attachment parenting from the beginning was what set the stages for the years to come. Here we are below at my friend's recent all adult birthday brunch. Sol fits right in.
I brought this topic up on my Instagram page and so many of you lovely mommies responded to my question about how y'all essentially "trained" your babies to eat with the grown ups at dinner. I think the more we women read ideas and routines of other women, we can learn so much from eachother. Here is what everyone had to say: