If you are GOING to complain about people with kids…

This is taboo.  I should not complain about the strangers that complain about my kids – I know that.  The thing is… I THINK that in this situation, I’m OK.  They were REALLY DUMB strangers, you see. 

My husband and I went out to a restaurant with the kids.  I know, gasp choke cough and all that, but here’s the thing, we LIKE to go out to eat sometimes.  With Gavin, he was tough but we managed because he was also an only child so we had both of us to watch him all the time.  With Jessie she was honestly easier to go out into public with than Kris (the husband) is most times.  There was an incident at Kahns with some noodles and the floor when she was very young but since I didn’t have to clean the floor I found that mostly entertaining.  Asher… he is a menace and while he does fine in most public places, going out to a restaurant with him is darn near impossible.   He doesn’t sit still, he has practically no appetite so he doesn’t stay interested in his food, and the child has no concept at all of stranger danger.  Strangers, and more importantly, their food and belongings, are put on this planet for his amusement.  It is impossible for him to be so close to all those interesting people and things and not allowed to meet and greet (and taste and touch) the room.  Every 3-4 months, however, I start to forget what special kind of hell it is to bring Asher out to a restaurant and I say to my husband: Let’s go out to eat tonight!

This night in particular, however, was Tuesday.  Tuesday has the special clause of being “Kids Eat Free” night at a local restaurant.  To my way of thinking, a restaurant that has a HUGE (as in, visible from space HUGE) sign outside their establishment advertising “Kids eat free on Tuesdays”, should probably be understood to have actual children IN it on Tuesday nights.  Children that are, in fact, eating, or at least hovering near a plate of food that they could eat if they so chose to, completely for free.  If you are going to be bothered by the antics of children at a restaurant, and it is a Tuesday night, I have no sympathy at all, folks, if you opt to walk into the restaurant offering FREE food to all tots that dine at said restaurant that very same night.

So, now that my background is built, let’s get on with the story.  We head out to this restaurant with kids in tow at about 5:30.  (Gavin is with Grandma so it is just Ash and Jessie.)  We don’t have to wait at all and the waitress, bless her heart, is GREAT with the kids.  I can only imagine that is because she is working at a place that probably has a lot of them on every Tuesday night.  She takes the kids’ orders first while we are still browsing the menu looking for our own meals.  We are seated at a booth which is good because then the parents can sit on the outside and the kids get trapped inside, but they can still get their wiggles out by moving about in the booth.  There is a wall with a small opening on the inside and the booth where Asher and I are sitting has another booth right at its back.  Right behind Asher and I are two couples, neither of which have any kids.  Ash is standing on the booth seat as he normally does because if he were seated, he would look like that drawing of a little head just barely peeping over the ledge.  Also, he is standing because if he were seated, his head might actually explode out of antsiness.  Jessie is seated and quietly coloring and does so through pretty much the whole meal.  As the night goes on, Ash stands up, sits down, stands up, sits down, crawls under the table, climbs back up, etc.  He also wants to say hi to the people behind us.  I do not allow this to the best of my ability, however being 2, he is magic and manages to get by me from time to time.  He is also intrigued by the space in the wall by him that goes to another booth on the other side.  He takes an empty juice bottle that the waitress had brought us (it was full when she brought it, we just emptied it into Ash’s juice cup) and is just holding it being relatively well behaved so that I can take a bite or two from my food.  While doing this, he jumps up and tosses said plastic bottle through the hole.  Instantaneous, people.  Thankfully, there was no one sitting at the booth on the other side, but the people behind us saw this. 

The people behind us, apparently, were quite certain that it was rude to bring kids to a restaurant.  At 5:30.  On the night that the restaurant offers free food for kids.  They spent the night complaining loudly about the horrid parents that would allow their child to stand in the booth and throw the bottle at the booth on the other side.  They were so very offended by my son’s friendly, albeit uninvited and fairly messy, attempts to say hello.  They were even, it seems, dissheartened by my gall at allowing my 2 year old to eat his mac’n’cheese with his spoon while spilling some on the floor and picking some up with his fingers from the table.  When my quiet little 4 year old had to go to the bathroom and walked while holding my hand to the restroom with me, they all clearly watched her, not us but HER, as we walked past their table as if they were expecting her to jump up and yell ‘run froggies, run for your lives!’ while tossing small amphibians into everyone’s food.   My shy little girl so totally does NOT need anyone glaring at her like that and I felt like I needed to shield her from them as we walked by. 

Well, the meal ended without any actual engagements between us and them, which was a good thing.  Despite his general antsiness, Asher was really quite reserved and did not actually do anything to them.  I just left feeling very irritated that I made the effort to make sure that we were going to a family friendly place at a family friendly time, and while the restaurant was PERFECT in the family friendly goal, our neighbors were very critical of me.  Hey, losers, suck it up and be charmed by my children like you are supposed to be because in case you didn’t notice, kids are not actually short adults.  They are going to act like kids no matter how well parented they are.  If you want to dine child-free, use your brains next time when you decide on where you are going to meet.

That concludes my whining about the childfree people at the next table.  Yell at me if you want.  It is my blog and I’m going to whine about what I want.

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12 Responses

  1. Hey I agree with you. When I go to my neighbors with three pools and I go without my swimsuit on, I expect to get wet – well at least by accident by the kids. For sure get wet by the adult male that lives there, well because he is just a nasty little boy at heart. So yes, if you go to an establishment that is catering to kids in some way, expect to live in a kids world that day. Also, have some respect for the parents, because most parents are trying hard to cater to the non-kid toting people, although maybe we shouldn’t be???? In their defense – they probably don’t have kids and will never be enlightened about these things till they have them. Also, they obviously had nothing better to talk about so you provided them with something to do instead of letting them be bored out of their minds with each other. 😉

  2. People that don’t have kids JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND!

  3. We once went to a kid-friendly burger place with Ada, and she brought a maraca (this place has blaring music and TV’s). The childless couple in the booth across from us asked me to take the maraca away from her because it was bothering them so I did and she SCREAMED. I asked them if that was better… Jerks…

  4. Insane Mama’s got my voice on this one. There really is no way to explain, describe, placate. People who don’t have children do NOT understand, and until they do have children they never will.

    My sister, bless her heart, traveled with me on an airplane when my daughter was 6 months old. I was gifted with a sleepy child so I nursed her to sleep and she didn’t wake that whole flight. The 1 year old several seats behind us was not so calm and cried & moaned the whole time. While I was in my seat desperately wanting to hold, cuddle, and calm that little boy with every fiber of my being, my sister was sitting beside me whispering mean nasty’s about that boys parents and their inability to calm their child. This from the most loving, caring, helpful and considerate child-free woman I’ve ever met.

    People without children just do NOT understand.

  5. That’s ridiculous that they got all snotty over the kids being kids. I probably would have let Bri be even a little more naughty than usual just to piss them off. 🙂

  6. Can I just give you a different perspective?

    Shortly after Gabriel died, we went out for lunch, it was the day we went to the funeral home to pick out the urn and arrange for cremation.

    We went for lunch after, because we needed to eat, and we pulled into a family restaurant. And were seated next to a new baby. With two parents who, I swear, were 12. I’m sure I didn’t look happy, and probably wasn’t thinking nice thoughts about the couple and their wee one. I know I sat glaring, wondering why they got a baby and I didn’t. I know that I thought some thoughts that were far less than charitable. And certainly my usual kindess and understanding was noticeably absent. I’m sure they thought I was stuck up middle aged bag, rather than
    a grieving mother, who had just arranged to cremate her son.

    Maybe, they were just in a bad place?

  7. I second Mrs. Spit’s perspective. On the occasional bad infertility day, it KILLS me to see kids in restaurants. Most of the time, I smile, I play peekaboo, I wave, etc. with the little ones, but there are rare occasions when I really would like to find a place that I could go where I wouldn’t constantly be reminded of the fact that my uterus is a total failure.

    I speak from experience when I say that it sucks to have my wants and needs disregarded because I don’t have a child.

    It just might be worth considering that possibly some of those people were not childfree by choice. I get that it was kid night at the restaurant, but despite that, maybe those couples planned to meet there and didn’t know that it was kid night. Maybe they DID have kids, but were looking forward to an evening out away from their children. Maybe they just liked the food at that restaurant. Maybe they asked the host to seat them someplace where they wouldn’t be next to children, and then someone else seated you next to them anyway. I get your frustration at being judged by strangers, but without knowing their full story, it may not be appropriate to so harshly judge them, either.

  8. Well, the fact that OF COURSE I get those things is why I hessitated posting this. Don’t forget that I DID lose a child. I was there at the gym hating everyone that walked by me in the locker room with a child. I know the feeling.

    I did consider that. Still, even if that is the case, it isn’t right to ruin the one night out as a family that we have taken in months when I took pains to make sure it was a family appropriate place and time to go. That would be like me going to a very formal restaurant at 8 or 9PM at night and expecting everyone to put up with my children all night.

    All the same, I DO understand what you are saying. THAT is why I never ever would’ve said anything to them. Instead, we finished our meal and went home and I vented about how it was irritating from my perspective on my blog.

    As we speak, my little sister is teaching my daughter to make farting noises. Really. My little sister is a nut.

  9. Visiting from ILCW, very thoughtful post and comments. It’s a tough situation. I’m working hard to take a deep breath at whatever end of the restaurant booth I’m sitting to be tolerant of others, regardless of Age!

  10. Visiting from ICLW.

    I have always held my tongue eating out. It is not my place to complain.

  11. Wow, I guess I never considered that point of view. I just wish that couple would have asked nicely for us to remove the maraca, or asked to switch tables. They were downright rude, borderline mean and condescending,and I don’t respond well to being treated that way. I guess I wish that if they wanted to have a quiet dinner, they would have chosen a place other than one that caters to children at 5:00 pm. I do feel badly that I assumed they were just mean people – maybe they were just having a REALLY bad day, but I think they were assuming that we were bad parents for letting our toddler make noise…

  12. Hi, over from ICLW,

    The truth of it is that these people could have been either. They might have been in a bad spot or they might just be nasty people that like to judge others. I agree with you that they have to take responsibility for their choice of restaurant. I mean, if I am having a day when I am struggling with my feelings about IF and I know a pg woman or infants will make me sad, I avoid Target (the pg and infant metropolis that is is) So, I agree with you, they shoudl have gone elsewhere on kids night.

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