Little Lady, Big Guy and Me

The daily adventures of MeMom (a part time SAHM) Big Guy (MBA student at University of Michigan) and Little Lady (adorable 13 month old).

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What to do in a restaurant when the Little Lady decides her time is up...

After reading this article ( http://nytimes.blogspace.com/genlink?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2005%2F11%2F09%2Fnational%2F09bakery.html ) in the NYT today, I have to say that I am totally torn with what to do about LL's habits in public.

It is a bone of contention between Big Guy and I as well. Somewhere around 10 months old LL decided that restaurants, especially at the dinner hour, were not for her. She refused to be in a high chair for more than 10 minutes, and would loudly let the entire returned know that the situation was unacceptable. The last time we took LL to a resturant happened to be our last night in Seattle this summer. BG's wealthy Aunt and Uncle (Childless and in their 50s) invited us to a very nice restaurant in West Seattle that has a wonderful view and a very pricey menu. LL threw a total fit. We had to take turns eating while the other person would have to walk LL outside to let her touch the trees and point at things. If we tried to put her in her high chair she would buck and twist like a little bronco at the rodeo while making ungodly wails not heard in the Seattle area since Grunge was still kicking. This made me pretty uncomfortable and made the Big Guy simply want to hide. Big Guy promptly put a ban on taking LL to resturants. I argued that a ban on LL also meant a ban for us since because we have very little income we also have very little money for babysitters. BG didn't care, he was absolutely not going to be sumitted to stares from other patrons, let alone thier gasps and evil eyebrow scrunching.

Now I hate looking like a bad parent, and I can't stand it when other people let their kids run amok, lay on floors, and generally be pains in the asses for other people enjoying the public place; but where do I draw the line? I want my kids to have good manners, but I don't want someone telling me where the line is for their manners to be "good" or "acceptable". Do I take my kid outside if she is wailing? Yes, I do but if other people are ok with their kids causing a commotion, who am I to tell them that they have to get them under control or leave?

Recently we have started to take the Little Lady out to breakfast and an occasional lunch. Her Noni and Poppi just took her to McDonald the other day and proclaimed her an "angel". (Of course their definition of that is a little loose as far as the LL goes) I took her to breakfast the other day with the Nana, Grandpa and another couple, and she was wonderful (of course I had the Nana with me who always goes above and beyond to entertain LL. At one point the Nana was singing ittsy bittsy spider very quietly and LL was dancing in her highchair).

A part of me says that the parents who are freaking out over the notes on the menus that say children should use inside voices, are over reacting. Chill out folks, don't go to that establishment if it bugs you. On the other hand, I don't like having a returned owner (Who sells the equivalent of childhood-crack: sweets) telling me how my kid should act and then describing the parents who are upset with him as "former cheerleaders and beauty queens" who "have a very strong sense of entitlement". If I lived in that neighborhood, I just wouldn't go to that cafe. Why does it have to be any bigger of an issue than that?

As for LL, I think she will be taken to the suburban joints like Chili's and Outback to be tested on her manners before I take her to four star establishments. It may be shocking to some restaurant owners, but I was not a cheerleader or a beauty queen, and I do expect my child to have manners. That being said, I will not come to your establishment if you proclaim that you have more of a say in how I get my child to behave than I do.

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