Doncha just hate kids in restaurants? We certainly used to – sighing deeply if we ever saw families approaching our restaurant, The Nose in the Cape Quarter, worrying that the space between tables would be turned into some kind of racing circuit, removing small, inquisitive people from our kitchens and laughing surreptitiously whenever they fell into the fountain and got soaking wet.
Well, what goes around clearly comes around, we got a taste of our own medicine with the unexpected arrival of our baby boy, Charlie.
Dining out used to be our main hobby, but we were quite surprised at the responses we got when we turned up at restaurants asking for a table for two and a half.
Icy expressions and waiters' backs as we manoeuvred our pram through tightly-packed diners, attempted to attach our clip-on chair to wobbly table tops and tentatively asked if the restaurant could heat up a bottle of milk.
In fact, we nearly gave up and resigned ourselves to ten years of TV dinners and trips to McDonalds once in a blue moon.
And then reason prevailed, surely there must be restaurants out there that were not only child-friendly, but adult-friendly too?
All we wanted was a well-cooked, tasty meal, a decent glass of wine and still be able to have our toddler at the table too. We knew it wasn't that difficult to cater for families.
Changing The Nose to be family-friendly involved one short, cheap trip to Baby City and a little imagination from the chef, and we were surprised at the benefits we immediately reaped.
Clearly there were other families out there who also wanted to eat out and who didn't want their children to think that restaurants were all about chips, ice-cream and racing around the tables with a cardboard cowboy hat on their heads.
As a consequence we've set up a new website called www.eatingoutwithkids.co.za. for all the foodies with families out there.
Here you will find reviews of 'proper' restaurants by real families who have checked them out and had a good time – that's adults and kids alike. If you would like to find somewhere new to try with your family, then check out the reviews already on the site. And if other restaurants realise that kids mean adults and adults mean money, then hopefully we can encourage more of them to try just a little bit harder to welcome families, and I will never have to cook at home again!