Hoboken Nights: Pizza and Ice Cream

I don’t like being embarrassed – so it follows that I don’t like taking kids anywhere to restaurants. Sometimes, though, after a long day, an easy night out is in order – even with the kids.

First things first: Make it easy. If you’re not a wizard or if you have limited experience dining with children, don’t start at Del Frisco’s. Go to pizza. We like Grimaldi’s. We get the kids a cheese pie (No basil. For the love of god no basil.) and we get whatever the hell we want plus anchovies. And beer. Always beer. (Unless it’s wine.)

We start early to minimize bedtime meltdowns. 6:00 is our usual. And apparently we’re not the only parents on that timeline – the place was so full of kids and parents that we were sent upstairs. (Did you know Grimaldi’s had an upstairs? We used the space for Lucas’s first birthday. It was amazing.)

We order immediately and ask for the check when the pies are delivered. Easy peasy. We don’t pressure the kids to eat. If they don’t eat it, we bring it home. No problem – pack it up. Let’s get ice cream. They’ll eat that. (#ParentsOfTheYear)

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Ben & Jerry’s is on the same block. There’s a cow inside and they have rainbow sprinkles – you can’t lose. Plus ice cream = joy. We hang out in the store (typically on the cow) and we all share bites. It’s childhood in a cup. They love it. I love it. It’s a messy giggling adventure and it’s over by 7:30. Perfect.

And finally – no bath. When you get home, the kids go to bed. Skip all the bedtime stuff. They’ll be fine. They just had a night out. So did you. Revel in it. Order a movie and put your sweatpants on. Call it a night.

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Mel Kozakiewicz a professor, editor, writer, and mother of two.

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