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Happier Restaurant Trips

You're finally ready to load up the baby and go out for a nice meal prepared by someone else. But while you're happy to be out, your fellow diners may not be all that excited about a tot fussing or whining through his dinner. Five ways to make going out to eat a pleasure for everyone in the restaurant:

1. Look for other kids. Their parents are in the same boat as you and will be much more sympathetic than childless couples.

2. Take provisions. Pack twice what you think you'll need. So your bag is a little heavy  -- if Junior has a bottle or teething cracker in his mouth and a gentle rattle in his hand, he'll be less likely to cry.

3. Go to the bathroom. If your child is on a teary tear, calm him in the rest room, where the entire restaurant doesn't have to hear him.

4. Limit the dining roam. If your child's walking, don't let him wander around the restaurant or peek over the booth at the next table. Not everyone will appreciate the intrusion, no matter how cute your child is.

5. Get dessert to go. Hate to rush you, but a speedier exit means less chance for your baby to interrupt everyone else's dinner.

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