Saturday, April 19, 2008

please curb your children

I may get a lot of flak from parents of younger children for this column, but such is life.
This week I met one of my friends for dinner at a local restaurant. We hadn’t seen each other for quite a while so we had a lot of catching up to do.
We may have been a bit of an annoyance at first to our waitress, because after we ordered our drinks (just lemonade and diet coke), we were chatting and chatting, so it was a bit until we actually placed our order.
But since the place was basically empty, it wasn’t as if we were taking up valuable real estate.
It was a fun evening, hearing about the many changes in her life, telling her about the not-as-exciting updates in mine; swapping stories about our jobs and our families; lamenting the economy and the dim prospect of ever retiring as rich women of leisure; and staying away from anything too controversial.
There are always a few sad stories to tell, but we did more laughing than anything else.
We were enjoying catching up and yes, we did get around to eating, when suddenly our haven was rudely interrupted.
It wasn’t another adult patron making some kind of scene or even the restaurant just becoming crowded.
No, it was the dread that envelopes you when you realize unruly kids have landed in the booth next to yours.
I’m not sure which one of us had it worse. My back was to them, but they were in the seat connected to mine so I got the physical brunt of the jumping, kicking and otherwise obnoxious behavior.
But my friend was treated to the visual aspect of their lack of table manners — and any manners in general, really.
Neither of us could escape the audio portion of the evening, with the shrieks, crying and loud back-talk to the mother and grandmother who were accompanying them.
I say “accompanying,” because they certainly weren’t in charge of them or enforcing any rules.
I don’t expect perfect behavior from kids, but come on, there is a limit.
These women obviously didn’t care that the kids were being disruptive and annoying. They didn’t care that other people’s evenings were being turned into an unpleasant occasion.
I guess they just didn’t care, period.
It must have been easier to ignore them than to try to make them behave.
This was a far cry from the behavior my parents expected on those few occasions when we were treated to a meal in a restaurant.
And also a far cry from what was expected of our daughter when she was young.
It’s common courtesy; if your kids can’t behave, leave. Don’t make the rest of us suffer.
The commotion they were causing did prompt us to depart sooner than we might have, but we had one consolation.
After we got past the little darlings I told my friend, “At least we don’t have to go home with them.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nona- I couldn't agree with you more! As a mother of many I warned my children prior to entering any restaurant-"no one in this place thinks you are cute, but mommy". They further were told that one false move had them eating their meal in the car. It is too expensive to eat out without the experience being ruined by other people's kids. AND- everyone of us should go out of our way to compliment and esteem parents with well behaved kids in restaurants- parents need to know that others see the good job they are trying to do in raising kids in these times. d