How Does Your Familiy Handle Going Out To Eat? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-11-2007, 10:53 PM
 
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I also think we all need to remember how lawsuit-happy Americans can be and how extremely aware resaturant owners are of this fact.
That is exactly what occured to me when I read the situation. I would bet very large amounts of money that the manager wasn't really worried about the booth seat. He was worried about little toddler shoes slipping on the shiny booth seat and mama trying to sue the sh*t out of him when her child slipped and cracked her head on the booth table.

Can't you just hear all the justification about how dangerous it is to have those hard edge tables, if it was dangerous they would have a warning sign telling parents not to let their kids stand/jump on the seats, anything to push the responsibility somewhere else?
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Old 06-11-2007, 11:18 PM
 
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As attached parents, we should know what our children are developmentally capable of handling. IMNSHO it is selfish for parents to drag children to restaurants if it is not also pleasant for the children and the other people in the restaurant. That means the children need to be able to be safe and respectful while enjoying themselves. Standing on furniture that is not meant to be stood on, running around in places that are not meant for running around, etc. is not respectful behavior for people of ANY age. It is different than, say, dropping some food on the floor, adjusting positions frequently while (mostly) sitting, banging forks on the table, even crawling under the table (although the ick factor gets me there). It is also not respectful to expect a child to sit perfectly still and quiet for an hour. If we expect respect for ourselves and our children, we also need to be respectful of others and teach our children to be the same.
Wonderful post, and saved me from having to write it all out

Owen (3.5 years) does really well in restaurants now, as long as I am smart about it. If he's really tired then I expect trouble. I also only go to places where I know there is something he'll eat (and since he has a very limited range of foods he pretty much eats fries whenever we go out : ). He is not allowed to stand on the booth/chair. He's not allowed to get down off the chair/booth unless he's holding my hand walking somewhere. He's not allowed to go under the table (I did bend on that one time when we were somewhere that he didn't like anything and was getting bored and tired). He can play with the stuff on the table as long as he's not getting carried away. Sometimes he'll stack the sugar/salt/cream stuff. As long as he's not disturbing anyone else it's fine with me. We put it back at the end of our meal.

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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Old 06-12-2007, 12:24 AM
 
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I'm confused: are we talking about 2 year old toddler boy or 4-5 year child???
To me it looks like the expectation was too high, my son would also not want to sit still...I would not let him jump on the seat but I wouldn't be having a calm dinner either, we would probably be taking walks every 10 minutes.

If I was your friend I would remove my son from the seat and ask to pack our food "to go".
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Old 06-12-2007, 04:49 PM
 
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I really don't think it is necessary to let a 2 yr old jump on the booth and I don't blame you for being embarrassed by your friend.
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Old 06-12-2007, 09:27 PM
 
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My kids have always pretty much stood in a booth to eat when they were 2. They were too big for a high chair, and those booster seats really scare me - they can slide forward off the booth. I have never thought anything of it. If they were sitting on the booth itself they would not be able to reach the table.

Boy, I just started a similar thread 2 weeks ago in TAO, only I was in a kid friendly place and an old man, dining by himself in front of me, who had actually already finished eating and was reading a news paper, complained about my 1 yr old not being quiet enough (he was letting out a loud squeal now and then and I was doing my best to distract him - he was also standing in the booth pending the arrival of our dinner). The old man was so rude to me I had my dinner put in a to go box and left crying. The restaurant staff was mortified by the man, tried to get me to stay and eat, offered to move us, the waitress was stroking my baby's hair and telling me that my kids were beautiful, hadn't done anything wrong.

My thread ended up getting removed by the mods because one mdc mama said she didn't appreciate being at a restaurant unless it was like a Chucky Cheese and hearing other people's kids scream. Boy, there were 92 posts in 2 hours, and another thread even referenced that thread and the other mamas were ripping into that mama like you wouldn't believe for being unsupportive of me (I painted a pretty pathetic picture, won't repeat the whole story here).

Kids DO have a right to be in public places. The op didn't say the child was running around the restaurant, or screaming (I don't think). I think the manager over reacted. And for those of you that have not had it happen, it can be painful when you feel your child(ren) is being unfairly criticized.

And totally off topic, I LOVE SHAGGYDADDY!
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Old 06-12-2007, 10:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Wugmama View Post
Kids DO have a right to be in public places. The op didn't say the child was running around the restaurant, or screaming (I don't think). I think the manager over reacted. And for those of you that have not had it happen, it can be painful when you feel your child(ren) is being unfairly criticized

I don't think the manager over reacted at all. He simply asked in a polite way not to let the kids jump in the booth. That is a perfectly reasonable request. He wasn't critizing her children. I don't think a child of any age should be allowed to jump on the seat in a restaurant.

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Old 06-12-2007, 11:08 PM
 
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This thread interested me because we just went out to eat (a very rare event) a few days ago. If my dc (12 mo and 3 1/2) needed to stay seated for an entire meal, we'd either 1) never ever eat out, or 2) parent our children in a very different way.

My 12 mo dd stood for most of it, turned around, "chatted" with the folks behind us, and made a few not-too-pleasant noises. My 3 yr old stood on the seat periodically, climbed under to get to me, and made a bit of a mess. I'm sure there are people who would be annoyed by those things, but they probably shouldn't be eating at Applebee's at 5:30 on a Saturday, kwim? We do try to model considerate behavior in these situations by asking other diners if we're bothering them (during the "chatting"), speaking softly and reminding dc to do the same, being polite and friendly to the waitstaff, getting up and going outside or walking when necessary, and cleaning up our table as much as possible.

We are very conscious of our responsibility to teach our children to be considerate of other people's feelings and property, but at the same time, you can't live on this earth without ever offending someone. Children should not have to act like little adults to be at family place. I think that those parents who have kids who are quiet and still for meals either have very different children than I do, or are disciplining in such a way to that they can get behavior that is not developmentally appropriate. Not many 2 yr olds are capable of sitting for more than 10 minutes w/o some major distraction.

This is really a slippery slope topic, and is covered on mdc regularly (e.g. what is appropriate behavior in church?, can kids go to fancy restaurants?, can kids go to concerts?, where is it OK to bf and how much skin can you show while you're doing it? etc.) What it boils down to, imo, is that we all have different levels of comfort with acceptable behavior in children, and adults for that matter.

FWIW, I would let a 2 yr old bounce on a diner seat, and I would be embarassed if we were asked to make him stop, and probably wouldn't return! I'm sure that's where the OPs friend was coming from. It's embarassing to have someone correct your parenting, hence the need to leave asap! But I would never never assume it was OK to make anyone else leave, too.
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Old 06-12-2007, 11:22 PM
 
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I guess I just don't see the need for any child to be standing on a booth while eating. To me that is *far* more dangerous than a booster. We always brought our own boosters with a 5 point harness or he sat on his knees. Sometimes he'd sit on my lap. By one of these methods he always reached the table. If he was antsy we'd go to the dreaded buffets because you can get your food fast. Different strokes I guess.
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Old 06-12-2007, 11:25 PM
 
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FWIW, I would let a 2 yr old bounce on a diner seat, and I would be embarassed if we were asked to make him stop, and probably wouldn't return! I'm sure that's where the OPs friend was coming from. It's embarassing to have someone correct your parenting, hence the need to leave asap! But I would never never assume it was OK to make anyone else leave, too.
Really? I went back and read what the manager said and it was just a request. It didn't sound like he was being snotty, or sneering at her or doing anything but asking her to stop letting the child jump on the seats.

I can see being embarrassed and leaving (huffy or not) immediately if someone was speaking in a harsh, insulting or demeaning tone of voice, but this definitely didn't sound like what happened.

Also the friend's reactions didn't sound embarrassed. She was the one that sounded like she was pissed off and left in a huff.
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Old 06-12-2007, 11:43 PM
 
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Also the friend's reactions didn't sound embarrassed. She was the one that sounded like she was pissed off and left in a huff.
I really don't know. Just trying to put myself in the other mama's shoes. I think the OP would get more out of trying to sympathize with and understand her friend if she wants to maintain the friendship. Was she pissed off, or was she tired, hungry, and overwhelmed the way I am on a regular basis? Maybe it seemed silly to her that her 2 yr old could actually damage a seat. It does to me.
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Old 07-29-2007, 12:49 PM
 
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When we went out to eat with our little ones, they always sat in the highchair the entire meal. If they were figety, they went outside with a parent to run around for a little while. Climbing out of the high chair was never a problem because we would slip the seat belt through their shirt sleeves and attach it under their shirt. So they had freedom of movement, but had to sit still. I would also do that in shopping carts. We also brought lots of coloring books and toys for them to play with, so they weren't bored. It really helped to keep them in the seats, and taught them what was expected without the constant nagging to sit down.
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:06 AM
 
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Yeah, I just can't get behind kids being up and about during mealtimes at restaurants. I know that puts me in the minority here on MDC, but that's OK with me. Mealtime is sitting time in our family. So, when the kids are little, mealtimes are short, and we don't go out to eat much at all. They learn to sit longer as they get older and are able to sit longer BECAUSE they are older. I understand that not everyone is like us, but others need to understand that some of us aren't charmed by wandering, enthusiastic kids in restaurants (though we WOULD be charmed by them in other, more appropriate places - I LOVE kids and their energy and passion, in appropriate venues). I realize I have pretty high standards for public behavior, especially in church, in theaters/performances, and in restaurants...those are the three main places I believe people go and desire to be undisturbed. In other public places, I'm pretty relaxed and enjoy kids in all their glory.

I just am not down with kids standing in booths, walking around, engaging other patrons, etc. I just don't find it cute or funny. My kids have plenty of other opportunities throughout the day to stretch their legs/walk around/stand on stuff/interact with the general population.

I came here off the spinoff thread, and will post my general motto here as well: "My right to enjoy myself in public ends when I (or my kids) start to disturb yours."

I LOVE kids, but I don't love expecting them to be socially appropriate before they are developmentally ready to do so - and I do not entirely endorse the 'but how will they learn if they never practice?' - I respond with - 'they will mature into the ability'. Then again, what is socially appropriate now is apparently different than it was when I was a kid (she writes with some sadness) - but THAT is a topic for another thread.

ALSO, a BIG ALSO, much of it has to do with the parental reaction to the child, at least for me. "Johnny, stop that honey" repeated 20 times while not actively doing anything to teach your child REALLY bugs me. But a prent engaged with their child actively trying to teach them in public places gets a LOT more sympathy/support from me. The second parent scenario is NOT what I'm talkign about in my post - that one isn't even an issue to me, because those parents are engaged and responsive; the first scenario is, and is the one I've unfortunately seen much more often.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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Old 07-30-2007, 02:02 PM
 
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I don't think "take off your shoes" is a legitimate option (for anyone walking age) in a restaurant. Its a health code violation.

There was about a year and a half with each child that we just didn't eat out. Between like 18 months and 3 years old. Just was not worth the stress, to pay money to spend 90 minutes trying to control a small child in an uncontrolable situation. Not fun for any of us. We had take-out pretty frequently during the toddler years!

Now that they are older -- there are new issues. Like negotiating 4 different but strong opinions about where we should eat out. And booths are now out of the question. Everyone fights about who gets to sit next to mommy! We get a table, so that both kids can sit next to mommy, in their own clearly designated space, that does not encroach so closely on mommy that she cannot actually lift her fork....

But -- I am going off track here, I guess.
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Old 07-30-2007, 03:42 PM
 
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We pretty much stuck to take out until my younger DD was 4. We didn't find eating out very enjoyable with a toddler.
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:10 PM
 
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My definition of a family friendly restaurant is one that doesn't have table clothes on the table. Seriously.

Table clothes and wiggly kids is a recipe for disaster.

We get loads of complements on our kids in restaurants. I have no clue why though, but they don't run around , scream or bounce on the seats.

Our kids are 7,5,2 and 10 weeks
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Old 07-30-2007, 05:44 PM
 
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We took DS to a fine dining restaurant on Saturday. Our babysitter canceled 30 minutes before our reservations. I was all dolled up and didn't want to miss a nice meal. I told myself it would be fine...and guess what it was. We sang songs(quitely), played eye spy, colored, and took a few bathroom breaks. DS was really good. I kept reminding him to show his manners and he did. He had a fun time and so did DH and I. I would have never thought an almost 3 year old would sit through a five course meal for 2 hours. The waiter was very helpful, never having us wait more then a few minutes between courses.

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Old 07-31-2007, 01:02 AM
 
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I would have been pissed at the friend.

I wouldn't "let" my kid jump up and down in the booth at Chuck-E-Cheese. And believe me when I tell you that my kids dive off the back of our couch, perform on the coffee table, and jump on our bed. But out? Nope. Not cool.

A HUGE part of my parenting style (what most people here call Consensual Living) is respecting other people's needs, wants, and wishes--and finding a solution that takes all parties into consideration.
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