I’m so accustomed to over-preparing for the Monster’s behavior when it gets ‘late’ that I think sometimes we overreact in advance.
We tend to plan to be back at our house by bedtime with the children – neither of them really ‘handles’ being in public well much past that point. This means being home before eight on most evenings, or perhaps at the grandparents’ where we can tuck them in.
Last night was one of those rare evenings where we couldn’t be home by then – we were out with the grandparents, meeting my bro-in-law’s future in-laws. We planned to go out to dinner, and that plan just got pushed back a bit later than anyone had planned…. so we found ourselves sitting down for dinner around 6:45, a good half-hour plus from our house. We positioned the kids so that we could manage them well, and then proceeded with the meal.
As I later pointed out to the wife, the Monster’s actually very good in public and we need to recognize that. During the meal, he only got out of his seat a few times, each time to go under the table, but he emerged and returned to his place. He even ate some of his dinner, which is never a guarantee when we’re out at a restaurant. (Of course, he ate the after-dinner ice cream.) Other than that, he was as communicative and social as we can expect him to be, and behaved straight through till we got to the car… and then he fell asleep.
I can’t really remember the last time he had a serious meltdown in public, to be fair. He occasionally has miniature ones, and those we cope with, but most of his major ones are in private, while visiting family, when he’s seriously overtired, and those have been decreasing in ferocity (at least from where I stand) as he’s gotten old enough to realize that he can ask to go to bed. And for that, we should be grateful….