Tonight Austin and I had our first date, just the two of us. Okay well actually the "three" of us, but baby A didn't mind tagging along in my belly.
After an afternoon of running errands, Austin and I were both hungry for dinner. My mind raced with the choices. My desire was a sit down restaurant, where a waiter would bring our food. Preferably loud, so in the event Austin was to act like a typical one year old, no one would mind. I was quite nervous, even called my sister for confirmation that we could do this. This would be the first time I have taken Austin out to eat without the amazing assistance of my husband.
The location for this memorable date was O'Charley's in O'Fallon. To my surprise, we were able to be seated immediately - a great start to the evening.
Shortly after getting settled at our table, our waiter brought out a basket of warm rolls. I began my usual questions, "Sir, can you check to see if there are eggs used in the dough for the rolls?". He responded that he had never been asked but he would check for me. Moments later he returned with a binder that contained a list of every item on their menu. Next to each item it was clearly marked which highly allergic foods were used in the preparations. He flipped directly to the page where I would find "yeast rolls" and pointed out that they were indeed egg free.
I just want to take a moment to recognize O'Charley's in O'Fallon for this binder of menu items with allergic foods listed. No restaurant we have been to has ever shown us something of this nature. It put my mind at ease as I allowed Austin to eat his food.
Some might not understand this but when we ask the waiter to check the ingredients, we just have to trust them. I have read stories where the restaurant staff were too busy to really check the ingredients, so they simply tell the customer - no it doesn't or yes it does, when they never actually looked. Some younger waitresses and waiters might not understand why you are asking and brush the question off as if it doesn't matter. (To be completely honest, a year ago, I too would have wondered "why does it matter if there are eggs in the rolls?") We have had one experience where the wrong bread was used to make a grilled cheese - luckily I am always prepared and watching for the early signs of anaphylaxis with benadryl on hand.
I applaud O'Charley's for the allergy binder. I wish all restaurants had a binder like theirs.
In a nutshell, Austin and I had a wonderful date night. It was nice to sit and eat dinner with him without fear of grabbing the epi pen at any second.
I look forward to continuing dates with my son as he grows. I realize he will not remember our first date, when he was 16 months old, but I will remember it and treasure it forever.