These days when I am going somewhere I spend my time in the car on the drive over debating my entrance strategy. This can be quite complicated, there are so many variables from the weather to parking to how the building is situated and more.
Not unlike the days when the debate was more like "Should I arrive on time?", "Am I too early?", "Am I the appropriate amount of time late without being too late?", "What if I arrive at the same time as so-and-so, should I wait in the car or walk in with them?" Remember those days??
Yeah, me neither.
My entrance strategy involves safely getting two small children from car to [grocery store, church, restaurant, etc.] wherever. And even when I have an entrance strategy figured out, I sometimes have to make changes once I get to my destination.
Situation: Meeting a small group from my parish (a new committee) for lunch at Panera (semi-fast food, salad, sandwich, soup place and bakery). Boys in tow and no help.
The Entrance Strategy Plan: boys' lunch was in the lunch bag I use when I'm working, grab the place mats from the diaper bag and throw those in my purse (leave diaper bag in car); carry the lunch bag and purse one on each shoulder. Take one child out of the car but still in his infant seat and take second child out of his seat and carry him in my arms. Hope to meet one of the committee members already in the restaurant so someone can grab a high chair. Hope there are two available high chairs.
One thing I didn't consider in my plan: the small parking lot at this particular restaurant's location. Something else I hadn't realized, another popular restaurant had moved into an empty space in the same shopping strip.
So yeah ... parking lot was just a wee bit full. By which I mean ... PACKED!
Solution: I parked at the far end of the shopping center pretty much in the parking lot of the nearby hotel. Carrying both boys in (one in the infant seat) was not going to happen. So instead I used the stroller. Panera is not well set up for a double, side-by-side stroller, which was why I had wanted to avoid using it. Oh well, I had to roll with it.
Though I did have to do some finagling to get the stroller to the table we had chosen, I did manage it with lots of help from people already seated who moved chairs and tables for me. People really are super nice! But once I was at the table it was obvious I wasn't going to be able to feed them in their stroller just because of the space it was taking up. So we did end up getting two highchairs and I folded the stroller up and set it against the table.
And the boys were great too!! We had lunch and our meeting and the boys were happy as can be for most of the time we were there. I was so happy that it was a successful trip. Plus I had help from the people I was meeting with.
If you had told me a year ago that I would be venturing into a restaurant with two small children who can't walk yet and without the help of my husband, I would have laughed at you!!
Now to figure out how to get them into daycare each morning!! At least I have four more days to think about our entrance strategy on that one.