Someone else's difficult child in restaurant

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by TerryJ2, May 7, 2008.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Tonight husband and I went out for our date night. We ended up at a familiar local Italian restaurant. Right behind us sat a couple and their 2 or 3-yr-old screaming hellion. She was adorable--curly hair, big brown eyes, happy as can be, running circles around the restaurant. At first it was mildly annoying but after a while I couldn't stand it any more. I told husband that this was the kind of behavior I went out to get away from. I told him I'd give them 5 more min. to quiet her down and then I was going to say something. I also suggested moving but he thought the kid's voice would carry to any location. (Like, Mars.)
    Neither parent lifted a finger. Clearly, they thought this was normal. I am guilty of doing this to others with-difficult child, but I learned the hard way. I had a woman get up and leave a restaurant because he was so disruptive, and I left, too, in tears, not only because I was ashamed, but frazzled, and because it took us an hr to get our food and we all had low blood sugar. The waitress actually brought the food out to the car, where I sat in tears!
    So I decided to make this incident a "teachable moment." I tore two small pieces of paper out of my notebook and grabbed a pen and told the mom that her daughter was being disruptive, and since I wasn an artist, I could help her daughter draw something. The mother was totally shocked.
    "You think she's being disruptive?"
    (OMG, she was screaming at the top of her lungs and running all over the place. I can't believe she didn't trip a waitress. The parents did not bring a single toy or coloring book and didn't know they were supposed to.)
    I said yes, and drawing will calm her down. May I have permission to give her the paper and pen? I smiled but got right in her face so it was clear it was a command, not a request. The mother called her daughter, who sat on her lap.
    "Can you draw a flower? A daisy?" The girl nodded eagerly and immediately began to draw. I told her to draw her favorite animal too, and to be sure to sign her name. After a few minutes I showed her how hold the pen properly--she had it almost parallel to the table and was getting frustrated--but the point was, she was an ANGEL.
    It was that simple.
    I went back to the table and the waitress had cleared it and I thought, oh, husband is upset and leaving and I'm getting a doggy bag. So I told her to dump my wine. She said, "Why? You're just moving to another table."
    I am?!
    When I sat down, husband said, "I don't know why you bothered with that. They need an entire parenting class."
    Must be something the nuns taught me. I dunno. I just hope those parents realize how easy it is to calm a "normal" wild child and maybe they learned something. (Or else they'll never go back to that restaurant again!:dissapointed:)
  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    That poor little girl! What's going to happen when she gets to school and finds out you aren't supposed to behave that way? I hope her mom got the hint...

    You were very kind and patient with them. I don't think I would have been as nice.
  3. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Momma is going to search the web and find this website when the little tyke starts growing up and getting a 'lovely' voice.

  4. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    If I had been dining in this restaurant I would have sent you a bottle of wine!

    Its amazing how many parents can't even recognize their own children's disruptive behavior.......good for you to actually do something.
  5. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    When Missy was little, we've actually gotten up and left when she was acting up. I would never want to subject other patrons to her when she was that disruptive. We've actually taken her out of restaraunts carrying her like a football, because we couldn't get her out any other way.

    I applaud you for doing what you did.
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I don't know about anyone else here? But I think what you did deserves a medal. It's not that she didn't KNOW her daughter was being disruptive - it's that she was having HER night out and didn't CARE about anyone else. No one -NO ONE is THAT dumb. Oblivious to get what their needs met; ie: She wanted dinner period.

    The last time DF and I went out for a quick evening meal we went to Applebees. The people seated across from us had a newborn in a carseat (on the table) and a 3 year old. They BOTH smoked. OMG it was more than we could do. That woman was laughing, having her beer and blowing smoke all over the baby. Then because repeated attempts to hear the word, MOmmy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy x 1500 were ignored the 3 year old started to fidget...then crawl under the table and on the floor and out of the booth and in the aisle. And she SAT THERE oblivious. Smoking away. Then the baby started crying (more than likely due to nicotine withdrawl) as it was 8 minutes in between each light up. And when the baby cried - it smelled BAD. The aisles are not that far apart and well the kid had a LOAD. And she ordered another beer, looked at the father of her children longingly, and the 3 year old popped out from under the table just as the waitress brought our food - and well the rest is just history - DF's steak and shrimp hit the floor, the little boy started crying because he got his hand stepped on, the mother was yelling at the waitress, and the baby started crying and the father (I think she was in her late 40's and he was in his mid 20's) just sat there....never said a word.

    We were offered the managers apologies, and they would rush our order. We said the ONLY WAY IN HELL we'd stay is if they sat us in a non-smoking NON CHILD section and looked right at her. The waitress came to our new table, apologized and said they were leaving - but I kid you not.....since then IF we are seated ANYWHERE in ANY restaurant and people with children come in - WE ASK RIGHT THEN to move. I NEVER in my life allowed my son to act up or crawl on the floors or kick the table or booth or carry on. And if he even STARTED? we left.

    Apparently this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. But I think you handled your situation beautifully. And as far as where she'll be in a few years? Probably here. sigh.
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think I have gotten temperamental in my old age but I cant stand watching other kids acting up in restaurants. When my boys were little we did very little eating out with them but when we did, if they acted up they got escorted to the bathroom by Daddy! It wasnt a thing they wanted to happen very often because they got their hind ends busted. It got so just the mere threat of being taken to the bathroom was enough to simmer them down.

    I have been amazed when we take Keyana out to eat. I always take her cup, a few small toys, and even some snacks for her to eat before the food gets there. If she gets antsy, we take turns taking her outside to run. I have seen way too many babies and toddlers just left to run amok and scream. I dont get whats so hard about bringing their supplies with them.
  8. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Germaphob here. I would absolutely die to see my kid on the floor of a restaruant. I think I'd take them home and immediately poor clorox on them, then do the same to my car. (Kidding, of course) Unless you've never worked in a restaurant, you have NO idea what's on that floor.

    This would be like me taking my 3 screaming parrots to the restaurnat. Actually, they are screaming right now. Calgon...take me away.

  9. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    I get so annoyed when I misspell words.

  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    When husband and I came back from Mexico in April, we were lucky enough to have had enough miles in our program to upgrade to first class. I love it. You have a nice comfy seat, a bathroom you're only sharing with 7 other people, they bring you real food and drinks, it's quiet enough to have an actual conversation with husband and he's trapped so he can't ignore me. And you have your own stewardess that does anything you need.

    Now, bearing in mind that I haven't used this descriptive for a person for about 15 years, a couple of 30-something yuppies got on with their two small children on the last 4 hour leg of our trip. We were in the second row, so we figured they had kept right on going. As we sat on the tarmac, I realized that the husband was sitting directly behind me and the three year old boy was with him. The mom was sitting behind us in the other aisle, with the squiggly just learned to walk 14 month old girl in her seat. They were sharing! I heard someone say "Well, we aren't required to by a separate seat for a child under 18 months old." UGH! Then as they are finishing up the safety demonstration, the dad says to his son "So, do you like flying now?" "No, daddy. I like roadtrips."

    And thus began the crying and whining from the boy, and the little girl with the ear piercing "But I want to sit with Daddy!" The boy kept messing with the back of my seat. Dad kept demanding that the stewardess find a snackables lunch kit for his son right now. Wouldn't order him a pop or a juice or anything, just kept waving around $5 so that she would know that she wanted it right now. HELLO! You just came from Los Angeles International Airport! Why didn't you go buy him something there? There was not one toy, not one juicable, not a crayola or book.

    About 10 minutes after we reached altitude, husband got out the portable DVD player and popped in "Monsters, Inc." It happened to be in the pouch of DVD's we took. He asked the guy if his kid could watch the movie, and dad said "No thanks, he just needs something to eat." husband insisted. They turned it on, but wouldn't put in headphones because the little boy didn't want to watch a movie. But the little girl did, so she started screaming even more. The guy gave husband the DVD player back in about 15 minutes, saying they weren't all that interested in watching movies. And from time to time the little girl ended up on Daddy's lap as well. Screeching.

    About an hour into the flight, the entire first class cabin is drunk. Not a great idea to have what is essentially a flying enclosed cocktail lounge full of drunks with two ignorant yuppie parents and their two screaming kids squished into three seats. This is a really bad mix. I felt so sorry for the guy seated next to the mom and little girl. I went up to the stewardess and said "Since when do they let little kids share seats with their parents on 1st class? Don't they know how ugly this could get if someone isn't a very nice drunk?" Complaint cards were passed around, and we all got 5,000 bonus miles. But those kids didn't shut up once. And those parents didn't do darn thing about it. For four hours!

    During our trips we have had good and bad times with little kids around us, but these parents were so clueless they took the cake! I know that more than once we have commented to people how well behaved their kids were and they told us "We gave him/her benadryl before we took off." YAY! It takes care of the stuffy ears, and calms them down enough that they usually sleep through the whole thing because of all the white noise.
  11. So Tired

    So Tired Member

    "The parents did not bring a single toy or coloring book and didn't know they were supposed to."

    I had the same thing happen this past weekend at my daughter's dance recial. I was helping backstage and one little girl (10) got dropped off with nothing but a bottle of water. She only danced in one number, and had to wait back there the whole 3 HOUR show to dance the finale. You'd think her folks would have at least throw in a coloring book or some crackers for the poor kid, geesh! Luckily she just hung out with us and shared our stuff. Some parents are just clueless.
  12. Star*

    Star* call 911

  13. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    Pet peeve of mine as well. When we'd go to restaurants when the kids were smaller, I'd get worried the kids would be bothering someone if they tried to crawl under OUR table, let alone be loud or run around the restaurant. Never allowed it, and my kids behave very well in restaurants now, yep proud of them for that. I still bring stuff for easy child to do, just a case of markers and some paper at least. If we go on a trip in our OWN car I bring an entire backpack of paper, markers, games & toys, video games for the kids. I don't want to hear them whine and be bored on trips, I would never want it on a plane bothering others. It amazes me how clueless some parents are with this. There are parents at the karate dojo that do this. They have their kids in the 6:00 class, then the parents train in the 7:00 class while their kids wait, but don't bring anything for the kids to amuse themselves with for an hour. They usually end up being disruptive until Sensei has to come off the floor and read them the riot act. And the parent STILL doesn't bring anything the next week either.

    Allowing your child to disrupt other people in situations like this is just rude, and rudeness is my BIG pet peeve. Sometimes you can't help it, like in a plane you may be unable to get your child to calm down even with a movie or crayons, but to not have that along or even try to get them to settle down is unacceptable. Nobody can be that clueless, I think they just don't care how it affects others, as long as they get their meal out or plane ride.
  14. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    I don't even know why parents want to go out with young children in tow. Whenever we attempted it I was so worried about them getting antsy (and they would) that I couldn't enjoy it. I thought, "why are we spending all this money to have a lousy time?" So then we waited til they were older.

    I don't mind if kids are crying or noisy in a restaurant--I am just so thankful I don't have to do anything about it! But your stories would make me very annoyed too--way over the top!

  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the kudos. Next time I'll bring earplugs and handcuffs, LOL!

    My husband always brings a DVD player on flts. He has given it to strangers' kids for the exact reasons you cited, Witzend. Luckily, it worked well in his case.

    The MommyMommyMommyMommy 1 million X reminds me ... when my older sister was in her early 20s and her son was about 2, we went out to eat. He was very well behaved, except that he wanted his mom's attention and she ignored him and continued talking to someone else. He started in with-the "MommyMommyMommyMommy 1 million X" and we all tried to get her attention. Finally, he picked up his fork and stabbed her in the boob.
    Her eyes nearly popped out. It was hysterical. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life. Bad example for my nephew, who probably thought that was the best way to get his mom's attention forever after, but good example for my sister to pay attention!

  16. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I was and am a firm believer that I want my child to be comfortable in all social settings. So, when she was young, she was taken everywhere -- from the best restaurants to symphonies to formal dinners to picnics and bbqs. No matter where we went, I made sure I had something on hand to keep her entertained. No child under the age of 9 should be forced to sit for more than 15 minutes without something to keep that child busy. It's just not fair to the child nor anyone else around them.

    I love the fork in the boob. My daughter and I had a signal. If I absolutely could not pay attention to her at that moment, I would stand where she could see my hands and they would be wiggling, jiggling, basically moving around like crazy to let her know I knew she was there. If she still didn't quiet, it was usually because of something important and I would interrupt whomever I was talking to and see what was up.

    I love that you cared enough to help that little one find something to do. That her parents were that totally clueless is inexcusable. As a diner who prefers to eat her meal without listening to a child scream or see a child running around, I sincerely thank you! Wish more people would do that.

    Hmmm -- I may be carrying crayons and paper with me from now on. Thanks for the idea!
  17. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Witz...that is such a good story. (Although painful)

  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I made sure I had something on hand to keep her entertained

    Sigh. That's what most parents don't get. They just bring the kids along and let them loose. SO clueless.
  19. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Terry, I agree that you deserve a medal. It was very kind of you to draw with the little girl.

    Even handicapped as I am, I ALWAYS have a toy of some kind that I can give away if a child near me gets obnoxious. I have seen a real increase in disruptive behavior in children in public. It is as though manners are just not there - esp on the PARENT'S PART. I feel it is bad manners to let your child disrupt others.

    while I DO know how nasty restaurant floors are, thank you will go under our table if he is oversensitized. Esp if he doesnt' want to leave. I allow it for a FEW minutes, IF he is NOT disturbing anyone at our table, let alone others. He likes to sit in the dark and read for a few minutes. It soothes him. BUT it bothers NO ONE and he gets his hands washed up to the elbow before he eats. It is not other's choice, and not what I would LIKE him to do, but he is getting better and doing it far less frequently.

    If my children EVER bother others in a restaurant or movie or whatever, we first go to the restroom or outside to see what is going on. If it is simply brattiness, we LEAVE. I have even done this at a birthday dinner for Jess when SHE was acting up.

    One of the reasons I take my kids out in public is so they can learn to behave in restaurants. They always have books, crayons, puzzles, whatever is the current interest to keep them busy. They are expected to let husband and I chat, and to chat WITH us (not at us). It is part of learning manners.

    But this is NEVER allowed to disrupt others. And we ALWAYS tip very very well.