why cafes and kids simply don’t mix

I live in the city. I live in a flat. I have 2 young energetic kids.

Now back in the day I loved nothing better than to sit back sipping my decaf soy latte. Then I moved on to the little macciato’s, cappuccino’s had a look in for a while and then back to the decaf latte again while pregnant. Add a little biscotti, some people watching, the weekend paper, it doesn’t get much better. So I know my cafe culture. I love my coffee culture. Its one of the best perks of living in a city. The choice of many great coffee haunts.

So what happens when you have a child? You drag them along too of course. You cling on to that cafe culture as long as you can. We don’t have a grassy back yard, where the kids can run around, so parks and playgrounds are utilised nearly daily, or even twice daily. And if it happens to be raining? Why a playdate at the local cafe for a babycino sounds quite lovely.

Now with one child a cafe date is ok. It’s not great, but you can do a little chatting, mop up the spilled milk, back to chatting, help the child back on to the chair after falling off etc etc. You can still cling on to that coffee dream that cafes are still for you, just as a family now.

Then the 2nd one comes along. Lets face it, the dream is shattered. Even with two adults to referee, and a toy box (if the cafe is really kind), it’s just not worth the pain of it all.

The youngest screams for more biscuit, the oldest trickles milkshake down the leg of the table, the youngest snatches the best toy off his big brother, the oldest dongs his brother on the head with said toy and gives him a quick pinch for good measure. The ‘ahhh, this is a lovely coffee ‘ moment is so brief, you vow not come again with the little monkeys.

Then 2  months go by, you forget the pain of it all as the mesmerizing coffee smells tease your nostrils again, wooing you in. So you drag the monkeys in with promises of milkshakes and biscotti again, in order to clutch on to that fleeting memory of old cafe days.

Episode repeats itself, with younger monkey fluttering his eyelids at the waitress as she starts sweeping the metre wide crumbs from under the table and older monkey stepping on outside dogs tail while trying to pat it as we make a hasty retreat once more.

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9 thoughts on “why cafes and kids simply don’t mix

  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog; I am glad to have found yours also! I have added it to my reader.

    This story is all too familiar to me, but as the “friend.” All of my closest girlfriends have little ones now and we go through this every month or so. It never bothers me in the least, always great to see them, but a stress I know!

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  2. I agree with fig jam, hang in there as it quickly gets easier. My kids are 9 and 7 and love going out to cafes and restaurants. Our trick for many years was to take lots of paper and colour pencils, and other things to keep them occupied. And you also work out which cafes are truly kid friendly and hang out there instead of the snooty ones.

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    • I couldn’t not hang in there. The pull of the coffee, the smell of the tasty foods to be eaten, and the sniff of times once had- its all too much to give in 🙂 and you are right, snooty ones just don’t even get a look in…. I will scatter my crumbs and dribble my milk else where!

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  3. Oh funny…I’m so glad you linked back to this. As friends have started to have children, I’ve observed their efforts to balance old routines with new, and learnt with them that sometimes it doesn’t work. I have one friend who now picks up a take away coffee and takes it to the park with her two children. Easier for everyone I think 🙂

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  4. When my son was small there were no coffee shops to go to. It was a different time and children were much less likely to be taken out. I used to only take him to child friendly places – usually the park. I must admit I don’t like screaming kids around when I am in a cafe or restaurant.

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