“Monsieur, may we please sit in Siberia.” If it’s an even remotely fancy restaurant, ask — no, beg — for a table away from the crowds, in a dark corner, by the swinging kitchen door.
Make it quick. Get your orders in within five minutes. Forty minutes is the optimum dining time with kids. Anything beyond that and you will soon be staring into the Maw of Hell.
Abide by the toddler ratio. For every child 5 and under in your dining party, subtract six minutes from the optimum dining time. So if you have, say, six toddlers at the table, expect chaos to ensue in exactly four minutes.
Let little Johnny eat that carcinogenic cherry. The Gobbler is a firm believer in the benefits of a well-made Shirley Temple.
Find a booth. In the Gobbler’s experience, booths are ideal venues for children’s feasts. They are discreet, self-contained, and highly sturdy.
Appoint one table Nazi. Take control of the table and rule it with an iron fist. But choose one parent to bark commands; the other should offer moral support. If you have two Nazis at a table, they will invariably come to blows.
Distraction is all. Crayons are good. Portable PlayStations are even better.
Short glasses, please. Tall ones promote spilling, although it will probably happen with the short ones, too.
The great sugar backlash. Nothing quiets a table of children like sugar. For every minute of silence, however, expect three minutes of insanity.
Find the toilets. Map your route, and be ready. In the heat of battle, preparation is all. — Adam Platt