The Club

Whenever my husband and I decide to dine out with our children I find myself pondering why.  Why do we put ourselves through it?  The question generally arises somewhere between shutting the car door and before the first glass of wine.  Sometimes the wine helps.  Sometimes it doesn’t.

Sunday night we were invited to a family dinner at ‘the club’.  For the uninitiated, dotted around Melbourne are a myriad of clubs that cater to the diverse ethnic communities that live here.  The particular club we attended was an old-school Italian, dark brown brick variety.  Think 70’s floral print tiles in the bathroom, two-piece band and a dance-floor littered with leopard print.

As far as child-friendly venues go you can’t really beat somewhere with wide open spaces and a culture that embraces challenging toddlers but somewhere between reigning in a three year old souped-up on soft drink and hunting down bread for a hungry baby I started to lose my marbles.

The music was so loud.  And relentless.  What happened to breaking for meals?  I realise I sound about 72 right now but there are few things more grating than a piano accordion being mimicked on a keyboard that’s been turned up to eleven.  A thousand buskers from the Piazza Navona had invaded my brain and it already felt like the night was resembling a carnival side-show, I didn’t need the music to go with it.

By this stage my husband and I were making gestures of self harm with the cutlery.  I couldn’t get that wine down quick enough.  The baby was happy however I’m starting to wonder what effect all the bread had on her because we’ve been dealing with a 40 degree temperature ever since (I’m on my second round of imodium but we won’t go there).  I’ve been on doctor google and I think she has the dreaded ciabatta virus.

Last night my husband threw his hands in the air and said “what the hell did the club do to this family?” What indeed and that my friends is why we never dine out.


How do you cope dining with children?  If you have those children that sit and draw quietly please move along, nothing to see here.




  1. says

    Please, children who sit quietly and draw at a restaurant are an urban myth… surely?

    We coped because we cheated. When the kids were younger they had an uncle who was a chef, and (still have) 2 grandparents who work for a lot of local cafes and restaurants. So, my kids got to do things like go into the kitchen and choose their own ice cream, or ask an uncle for something special.

    Once we ventured into a place that was in no way connected to our family. It was a nightmare.

    On the plus, they are older now and know how to behave. Sometimes. Maybe. As long as they have their iDevices and I have my wine. :)

    • Carli says

      My sisters have warned me that they don’t play up as much but continually say “I’m bored”. Sounds like you had some handy relatives :)

  2. Aneets says

    Our family solution has become yum cha. Food comes out so quickly they don’t have time to act up. We had a great experience at yum ha yesterday so have mastered this type of eating out but too scared to try dinner out with them!

  3. says

    We don’t go anywhere that doesn’t have a playground these days.

    I dream of the days we can head out as a family to somewhere that sells edible food. I reckon in about six years we’ll be good.

  4. says

    This is a nightmare for us. Poss’ food issues mean that almost anywhere is ‘wrong’ and she is bound to play up. Thank god for iPads (for her) and wine (for me)!

    Hope the family recovers from the dreaded Club visit soon!

  5. Claireyhewitt says

    Ummmm, my kids pretty much sit and draw if we go out for dinner, BUT there are very specific rules that must be followed for this to happen.

    1) you must be the first people to arrive at the destination, if meals start at 6pm, you shall be seated at 5.55.
    2) order right away and order little things the kids will eat, not the nuggets and chips, but garlic bread, risotto, spring rolls, sushi, breads and dips.
    3) once the order is made bring out the SURPRISE…your old coloring book that you forgot about since the last time we went out.
    4) PRACTICE. You need to do this often ish…funds have stopped us, but the more you go out with little people the more they get better at the sit and draw thing and also read a book etc, also the magnet Tim thing is a good one
    5) bad behaviour means no dessert.
    6) no soft drink
    7) good wine
    8) as you ordered so early at 6.15 the meals have arrived, by 6.45 you are in the car going home.

    Dinner out with little kids is done!

  6. says

    I’ve seen the quiet drawers, they’re real and they shit me to tears. Stepford children. I want them. I need them.

    I do not have them.

    Hence why we only dine places that have a children’s playground. It ain’t fine dining. And we always regret it.

    Let’s face it, take-away Thai is your friend.

  7. says

    Oh I hear you loud and clear Carli!
    Honestly, dining out with the little ones is something I avoid like the plague. Breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea is doable but somehow, dinner just never goes according to plan.
    “By this stage my husband and I were making gestures of self harm with the cutlery” – this made me smile because it sounds a little too close to home!
    Glad you survived it. And lived to tell the taie.
    Ronnie xo
    p.s. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving such a sweet comment. happy to have found yours.

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