Dining out is a wonderful chance to spend quality time with your spouse, your family and your friends. Eating in a restaurant is not cheap and due to the current economy less and less people are able to afford such a luxury very often. What a joy indeed when you are able to go to a restaurant allowing yourself to forget, if only for a moment the stresses of the day. That is all until you are seated next to “that kid.”
We all know who “that kid” is. I know him all too well because it seems as though every time I do have a chance to dine out “that kid” is sitting at the table next to mine. The moment you lay eyes upon him you know with certainty that “that kid” will ruin your meal because “that kid” is the direct descendant of “those parents.” You just know without a doubt that “those parents” are the type of parents who have either no ability or no inclination to control “that kid” in public.
In the early stages of the parenting process “those parents” are the ones who think that everyone in the world believes that their kid is just as funny and adorable as they do. You experience the early stages of this when you can’t hear your dinner conversation because the kid is yelling ga-ga or some other youthful alien discourse that only the parent appears to understand. This then evolves to a point where “those parents” think that it is adorable if the kid plays peek-a-boo with you. Possibly cute for a moment or two at best- then thirty minutes into the meal it’s just simply irritating at best.
Crying is another attribute that these little darlings are capable of. I love listening to “those parents” try to reason with little Johnny as to his most recent grievance. The grand finale for the little tyke’s performance is his newfound ability to make raspberry noises while simultaneously producing the obligatory string of dripping spit bubbles. Cute that is until my recently ingested entrée’ reintroduces itself to the table in front of me!
Fear not for these kids do grow out of those baby/toddler years and eventually become full fledged kids who can now carry on a conversation- loudly! They also have newly learned motor skills such as running, skipping, crawling under tables and kicking the back of my booth. Lest we forget one of my all time favorite restaurant gymnastics events- tripping the waitress with a full tray of food!
I understand the children’s behavior- I really do. I guess that I am just old fashioned in that it’s “those parents” that I don’t understand at all. Why is it so difficult to be in control of your children? I know kids sometimes act poorly. I was once a kid once many, many years ago and I have successfully reared them as well. I know that parenting is not easy but it is one of life’s most important tasks. Please, please, please take your kid outside if they are bad. Let them know at an early age that they aren’t always the epicenter of the universe. Teach them above all respect. Respect for their parents, for those around them and for themselves as well. Your kids may even thank you for your efforts some day. I can assure you also that “that guy” who is the crotchety scowling man at the table next to you will be very thankful as well.
I am “that guy.”