Am I becoming "that parent"???? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 96 Old 05-26-2005, 12:57 AM
 
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Ps. If you did have to act quickly to protect your son or keep him from tripping up someone else, what would happen to that coffe cup in your hand?

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#62 of 96 Old 05-27-2005, 09:15 AM
 
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Another vote for no, I'd never let DD run around. I have a friend who was horribly burnt as a child (mom accidentaly spilled hot oil on her while cooking) and so I am SO paranoid.

With DD, we always just took her out of the restaurant while waiting when she was at the on-the-go age. Now she's fine at restaurants, though we do plan to go when she's not too tired.

ETA: DH and I have always gone out knowing that we might have to leave if it gets to be too much for DD . . .it has never come to that, but I think it took pressure off of all of us just knowing we COULD go home if it got too hard.

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#63 of 96 Old 05-27-2005, 10:10 AM
 
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I'd be curious to hear from more Europeans on this subject. I am Canadian and many of my friends from Europe have counselled me that I should make sure my two old son knows how to eat and sit properly when out in a restaurant. From what my European friends told me - yes, children go out everywhere with their parents but they are also expected to act in a more adult fashion (as opposed to the behaviour you'd see in a North American fast food restaurant - running around and eating Happy Meals). Just curious what other Europeans do?
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#64 of 96 Old 05-27-2005, 10:16 AM
 
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Tuesday, I am American but I did live in Belgium for a while. What I experienced was much like what you described. Kids are expected to sit quietly in restaraunts, and there are not kids' meals. Kids eat what adults eat.

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#65 of 96 Old 05-27-2005, 01:09 PM
 
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dharma - it is intresting that you pointed out that there are no kids meals. One of the ways we help our children behave is by ordering them real food and not finger food. This goes a long way towards keeping them busy and making it feel like a real meal, not a happy meal.We don't allow toys once the food comes (just like we don't allow toys at the table at home). I guess the other thing we do is really work on table manners at home too. they aren't alowed to get up run around during meals. For us meals are social and we want everyone to be able to interact socially. what fun is going out to eat if mom and baby are running around while dad is alone at the table? I guess I want my children to learn at the earlyiest possible age that it is more fun it be at the table and a part of that action. we start grooming them for manners at birth.

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#66 of 96 Old 05-27-2005, 02:59 PM
 
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My views on this subject are most in line with yoopervegan's.

We are six: Me : Dh : Ds1('00) Dd('02) Ds2('05) Ds3('08) and, wow! Soon to be seven, Dd2 due 4/23.
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#67 of 96 Old 05-27-2005, 03:35 PM
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#68 of 96 Old 05-27-2005, 05:10 PM
 
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I also bring my kids outside if they can't sit still in the restaurant. Though, really, we have been teaching them proper restaurant decorum since they were small so it's not usually a terribly pressing issue. We do bring a small toy (like little cars or a mini magnadoodle) and most restaurants have crayons and paper for the kids to color, we tolerate a fair amount of noise, and don't allow yelling, and there is absolutely no running around. Even besides the obvious safety concerns, it's just plain rude to the otehr diners in the restaurant.

HOnestly, if I arranged childcare and planned a "date night" out with my husband and someone was letting their two year old run around the restaurant we were in, I'd complain to the staff and ask to have our seats changed. No one wants their meal interrupted by someone else's adorable child. My own adorable children run around our house and wreak havoc all day, I don't want to see someone else's kid doing it in a restaurant in the evening, you know?
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#69 of 96 Old 05-27-2005, 06:42 PM
 
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honestly? yes, it would bother me.

there are situations in which i think a child "running around" a restaurant is okay, but they are few and far between.
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#70 of 96 Old 05-27-2005, 09:53 PM
 
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I think it's fine if:

1. You're eating there outside the dinner/lunch rush, and request a table away from the kitchen.

2. It's a restaurant appropriate for children who have not yet learned table manners. (e.g. Don Pablo's, Applebee's, local diner at 4 pm, okay, Le Chic et Tres Cher Cuisinery at any time of day, no)

3. If dc's actually "running" so that you can't keep up by doing a brisk walk, you need to take dc by the hand and help dc wander more slowly.

4. When it begins to affect the other people in the restaurant (dc starts using an "outside voice", you might get in the way of the waiters (this is why you should go slower, so you can keep an eye out)) you immediately head outside or return to your table.

One of the reasons I've got no problems with moms and toddlers exploring the restaurant when I'm eating is because I assume the mom has the situation entirely under control (plus cuteness ). Any sign that things aren't under control and I'll start to be annoyed.
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#71 of 96 Old 05-27-2005, 10:32 PM
 
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I think this depends on the kid and the place.

Loud and exuberant children in family-type restaurants don't bother me at all. I'm thinking your neighborhood joints and the mass market places like Outback, Chili's, Red Robin, etc. Those places practically encourage loudness. Running around bothers me no matter where I am but loudness in these places isn't a big deal. After all, it's not really about the food now, is it? To me, these places are more like belly-filling assembly lines - get 'em in, get 'em fed, get 'em out. Anyone casting a hairy eyeball at a babe having some babe fun probably has higher dining pretensions, you know? Some of the best places now have longer booths so my husband and I can each sit on one side and have the kids toward the wall - they can have all the fun they want but are contained. And, of course, if a meltdown comes we get the food wrapped and we're gone - the same courtesy that I'd hope for.

In more foodie-type places I expect that children will be respectful of the environment and that their behaviour will not interfere with the sensory pleasures of the meal itself - including enjoyment of well-modulated conversation. My son could enjoy these kinds of places (not $$$$, but maybe up to $$$) - eat the food, enjoy being with grown-ups, and at age 2 would quietly look at a picture book or run a toy car around. We could take him anywhere and he went to some GREAT restaurants. It was awesome.

Now we have this other child, see, and we're not going anywhere for a while that's not your basic Applebee's-type experience. She won't eat, won't sit for longer than three minutes, tries to eat her crayons, throws food at other people and so on we just don't go out much with her - and won't until her development gets to the point where she's not a menace. Her brother got to that place earlier than most, she seems to be fairly late. She'll get there and, once she does, we'll start enjoying better restaurants again.

Anyway, I think that discussions of fair are misplaced. A child who can or cannot eat a meal out at a given age is more likely just a matter of the hand you are dealt. There's no choice but to cope with it as best you can, choose your places wisely.
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#72 of 96 Old 05-27-2005, 10:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Holy toledo, did I open a can o' worms or what! Go away for a couple of days...

Ah well. If we figure that this group is pretty much representative of all the possible opinions in any given restaurant, I guess I'm "that parent" to some of them and to others just the tired mum of a very cute spirited toddler (who never stops to talk/swipe food/etc - people actually try to stop HIM to say hello).

I'm not talking about dressy restaurants. We save the big bucks for our "dates" LOL

Thanks for the input everybody!

Edited to add: Hi Brandi!!! Good to see you too! Hugs to you and your girls! xo
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#73 of 96 Old 05-27-2005, 11:24 PM
 
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Chalupa - if you wouldn't let her fill up on the crayons she would probably have room for her meal jk

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#74 of 96 Old 05-27-2005, 11:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka
Chalupa - if you wouldn't let her fill up on the crayons she would probably have room for her meal jk
Wait...the wax isn't roughage? What if they're Stockmar crayons? Or beeswax with....vegetable coloring? Even then it's not a good idea? Well, we'll just have to let her eat paper then, because she's gonna eat something and I'll bet dollars to donuts on any given night that it won't be actual food.
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#75 of 96 Old 06-09-2005, 02:27 PM
 
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Ok, I realize this is getting a little old but I still wanted to add my 2 cents. Yes it would probably bother me a little, one because of the coffee mug and two because it could probably be handled better with some outside "running" than indoor. But I feel some of posts have been overly harsh about it. I don't think anything is wrong with you getting up with your son when he can't bear the waiting portions of the evening. It not my favorite thing to see and I do feel it can be unsafe but I've seen much worse things in restaurants. I have seen a few drunken people wandering out from the bar area yelling/cursing, throwing things, and causing a ruckus and having to be escorted out or the police having to be called and I must say I'd rather see a laughing child anyday. And the "I paid good money for this meal" stuff doesn't sit right with me, the aforementioned drunks surely 'spent good money' getting that way likely even more than I spent on my meal but that doesn't entitle them to the experience of their choice and no one would dare imply it does. You can't expect to buy other people's behavior anymore than you can buy yourself out of responsibility for your own. I don't feel it's fair to say I only spent $12 at Taco Bell so it's ok for the kids to run amok but I spent $250+ at The Fondue Pot so they should be the Stepford kids. Unless you're in a bar or casino or someplace where kids literally are not allowed to be, then you can't go somewhere with the expectation that there won't be kids laughing, crying, or playing. And I totally understand the not wanting the meal to be interrupted thing but I don't feel it's a kid specific thing; lots of things can interrupt a meal and it's just a part of going out in public to accept that anything is possible--if you truly expect an dinner date without interruptions you could stay in and higher a caterer or a personal chef, but part of the fun of life is the unexpected moments we could never have planned and would have missed if we had tried to control the whole thing.

We take the kids wherever we go (unless it's a date or we plan to drink alcohol) they've been to semi-formal weddings, late night dinner parties, and $50 a plate restaurants as well as Chuck-E-Cheese, Applebee's and and other "kid-friendly"/"family oriented" places and the standard of behavior we expect is the same regardless of where we are. And despite the fact that I have really high expectations of my kids at the table, I don't feel that it is fair to expect a young child to be able to control themselves for the extended dining period there is at a restaurant. (Besides how would we like to be strapped in one position to our chairs for the course of the evening.) Jase often needed to get out of his chair during long waits, we take him out and walk him around the outside of the restaurant or at certain places take him to the lobby or outside waiting area (depending on which is less crowded) and "dance" to the cheesy music they play for the people waiting for a table. But Ben is content to sit through anything so long as he can people watch other patrons. Crayons and other activities can be great and some kids don't mind sitting still for long periods of time, but other kids need breaks to get up and move around. So I say keep doing what you need to do to make the experence as peaceful as possible for all concerned.

But for the fear...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robinna
People mostly seem to smile but I worry that we might be disturbing people.
Judging from the assortment of responses here, I say that worry may not be so unfounded. It's entirely possible, some of the smiles are just a polite front I even think I remember reading a post where someone said that they told the mother it was alright even though it wasn't. People are more inhibited in everyday life than they are online so I'd imagine if this is the reading of AP/GD parents that it's probably safe to say it may be even worse in the restaurant, so your instincts are picking up on some of that. On the other hand, some of them are probably smiling because he's cute or because he's laughing and having fun so you can't worry about every smile. I guess the question is: What would you do differently if you knew you were disturbing people? If nothing, then let it go and quit worrying. If you can think of something you think would be better or less disturbing, maybe you could just do it so that you aren't worrying in the first place. Because you really can't change how people are going to feel about anything...
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#76 of 96 Old 06-09-2005, 07:30 PM
 
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Hello Mothering Fans,

I LOVE children, I smile at them in the grocery stores, at the park, and at family restaurants, I love playing with them and talking to them, but, I find this very rude.

The adults (parents) know full well where children are able to run around without disturbing people: outside, in the lobby, a closed section, or at a "family" eatery, etc.

I find it VERY rude if they pretend not to notice that the dear darling is bothering people at the tables, as a previous poster said.

I had a parent do that with us at a posh coffee shop. People were studying for finals, doing business deals, reading the newspapers, working on things, having adult discussions and carrying hot drinks, etc. A parent was occasionally watching her daughter who was running back and forth, back and forth, back and forth through the middle of the shop, giggling and squealing. She was very cute, and the mother was very rude.

I was tempted to take the child by the hand, get down to eye level and explain that coffee shops aren't for running and playing, they're for sitting, talking and thinking, and maybe MOMMY should take you to the park. I didn't because I didn't want to start a fight, but, we had to leave. I was doing research, my husband was studying for finals and we couldn't think. That's money out of the owners' pocket.

As far as restaurants go, THINK about it from the other diners' point of view. Maybe they are out for an anniversary, a serious talk, a once-a-year treat meal out together, it could be anything. People generally expect that if they go to a real restaurant, they will be able to eat in peace, not be disturbed by others and enjoy their meal.
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#77 of 96 Old 06-09-2005, 07:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by edamommy
That's great that you do not have a high needs toddler! Unfortunatly WE DO! And up until just the last few weeks if WE wanted to go out to dinner HE had to come to and it's just not fare for us to NOT go out EVER in TWO YEARS... so chase him around is what we did. He's now doing really well staying with his Gram or his Great Gram or Grandpa so we can have a "run free" dinner every once in a while.

No, it's not fair.....but not much about being a parent is fair. We didn't dine out for 2 years because of our high needs toddler. I'd tripped over a running toddler and spilled hot soup on him when I was waiting tables. And ofcourse, the parents blamed me, yet they were the ones that wouldnt' take their child outside.

Heather married to my highschool sweetheart 6/7/02 :cop: Mother to Dani age 14 and Timmy age 10 Nadia 1/29 :
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#78 of 96 Old 06-09-2005, 08:00 PM
 
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No, it's not fair.....but not much about being a parent is fair. We didn't dine out for 2 years because of our high needs toddler. I'd tripped over a running toddler and spilled hot soup on him when I was waiting tables. And ofcourse, the parents blamed me, yet they were the ones that wouldnt' take their child outside.
I agree with you. It's not fair, but it's life. We got take-out for two years. We really just didn't go out, or if we did decide to go out on a rare occasion we understood one of us might be sitting in the lobby or outsite with dd for a good part of dinner, or we might have to quickly get our food packaged to leave, or whatever.
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#79 of 96 Old 06-10-2005, 12:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Trinitty
Hello Mothering Fans,
I was tempted to take the child by the hand, get down to eye level and explain that coffee shops aren't for running and playing, they're for sitting, talking and thinking, and maybe MOMMY should take you to the park. I didn't because I didn't want to start a fight, but, we had to leave. I was doing research, my husband was studying for finals and we couldn't think. That's money out of the owners' pocket.

Ok this is off topic

but

this drives me absolutely crazy and is so rude. I know how irritated you must have been buy the childs mom not taking care of her and letting her create a disturbance. I feel that irritation. trust me. but if anyone ever has somethins to say to me about my child or my parenting they better have the nerve to say it to my face. nothing in my parenting life has been more irritating than people lokoing at my child and saying "oh your mommy should. . . ." or "you should tell your mommy . . . " infuriating I tell you.

Not to pick on you or anything, seriously but just for future reference. maybe no one has done this to you (yuor child) before but if you are going to have the nerve to judge someones parenting (and sometimes it is totally warrented) at least have the nerve to talk to them about it and not thier child.

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#80 of 96 Old 06-10-2005, 09:15 AM
 
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Hey there, no, you're not picking at all.

I understand your concern, but, I did NOT do it, and wouldn't for the reasons you gave.

I said I FELT like doing it because I was so irritated, and, since the mother figured it was just fine for her child to disrupt strangers for at least 20 minutes and engage them in "conversation" while they were busy, then, perhaps she wouldn't have a problem with me engaging her child in conversation in response?

No, we didn't say anything. We left. I usually speak up when people are being jerks, but, when it comes to kids and moms, things get really heated really fast and I almost always keep my mouth shut and vow to do better in my own life.
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#81 of 96 Old 06-10-2005, 10:15 AM
 
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oh wow

i had no idea that so many people would be bothered by this.

when safety is an issue -- busy place, child running too fast that the parent cannot be close enough to have a hand hovering over the child's shoulder, etc, yes, i would not do it, and would be concerned for the child if saw this happening.

otherwise -- a happy child with the parent nearby would not bother me a bit.

this does not mean that i do not model manners to my children or that i imply to them that this kind of a behaviour is the norm. but kids will be kids, and i choose my 'battles' carefully.

when we go out, i do not plan the outing so that the restaurant is empty -- we go out when we want to go out. but then we judge the situation -- if it is really too crowded, we know we won't enjoy it as a family.

this said, i would not be bothered by a screaming toddler either -- i know THINGS HAPPEN. i would not be bothered by a breastfeeding babe / toddler.

i would be bothered if someone yelled or spanked their child. oh yeah. i would be bothered by seeing an unsupervised child -- not because it is interferring with my meal, but because i would be concerned.
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#82 of 96 Old 06-10-2005, 12:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinitty
I had a parent do that with us at a posh coffee shop. People were studying for finals, doing business deals, reading the newspapers, working on things, having adult discussions and carrying hot drinks, etc. A parent was occasionally watching her daughter who was running back and forth, back and forth, back and forth through the middle of the shop, giggling and squealing. She was very cute, and the mother was very rude.
Wow--I have to say I completely disagree with you. I would be concerned in this scenario about a child running about while people carry hot beverages, but the giggling and squealing? Let me just say that I worked at a coffee shop for five years and the expectation by some that it should be kept at library-type noise levels for their benefit was totally unreasonable. You want quiet for studying, go to a library. You want quiet for a business meeting, rent a conference space. A gaggle of high school or college students "studying" could be louder than a toddler or two any day.
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#83 of 96 Old 06-10-2005, 01:20 PM
 
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Okay, I'm seeing some sort of logical fallacy at work here...

At least... Some variation thereof...

Now, discounting that our society may or may not be too uptight w/regard to children, BUT all of us having a basic understanding of what is considered appropriate by the vast majority of the population:

Agreed: Certain child is too young to sit reasonably still long enough to have a meal of X-level of formality (could be a family restaurant, could be more formal).

Most Agree, Though Some Dispute: Anyone, child or not, walking or running around said restaurant, is inappropriate. Certainly all agree that this would be odd and/or inappropriate for adults. (Note: "inappropriate" does not = "bad," IMO)

Therefore:

Opinion #1: One either avoids said restaurants until there is a reasonable chance that child will be able to behave appropriately, or *tries* to visit restaurant with child, but leaves if expected behavior is not achievable by child. Child is not required to sit politely with hands folded in lap, conversing with adults-- BUT must be able to enjoy restaurant without *needing* to be excessively loud, wander the floor of the restaurant itself-- with or without guardian, etc.

Opinion #2: Because child is too young to behave appropriately in the setting, he should be allowed to behave inappropriately. Others should understand that the child is a child, and not unfairly require him to do anything which he is not developmentally able to do.

--

Frankly, I just do not get #2. And I am not talking about strict, authoritarian parenting, here. Perhaps the proponents of #2 are lobbying for a change in the way we view the behavior, arguing that we should not see it as inappropriate-- but I still disagree.

Certain venues require a degree of sophistication that *most* children have not mastered. If your 2-year-old can enjoy a 5-course state dinner-- heck, even a dinner at Applebee's!-- with the corresponding modicum of politesse, then more power to you! We are not talking about you, then. But if your child cannot sit still for more than a minute or two, WAIT-- if at all possible-- WAIT to take him out to a nice dinner. (Whatever he can handle).

Of *course* adults should make certain concessions to children, even in adult settings. It would be inappropriate for an adult to read a book or color at the table while his companions conversed, but not necessarily so for a child (in all but the most formal of settings). Likewise, drooling, eating non-finger food with one's hands, changing seats, etc. are reasonable when children do them, but not adults.

But at some point, it may become clear that no amount of reasonable concession is going to make the situation work. At which point, your order becomes to-go, and you rethink any non-mandatory restaurant outings for the near future.

Several people point out that they have to deal with inappropriate behvior from adults, too. Gabbing loudly on a cell phone, public drunkenness, disgusting table manners, etc. To which I say: "and your point is?" Those things are rude and inappropriate. But since when should rudeness beget rudeness? Just because those things are not uncommon and are sometimes tolerated (perhaps frequently, as many employees are not allowed to comment on them), does not mean that you or your child have free reign to do something equally inappropriate.

Otherwise it's just: "That woman was nasty to me!" "Well, I hope you were nasty right back!"

What does *that* teach our children?

I may indeed witness inappropriate behavior from adults, but that does not mean I will allow it in my children-- not willfully, anyway.

Further, I will address this, from CJNeely:

Quote:
I don't feel it's fair to say I only spent $12 at Taco Bell so it's ok for the kids to run amok but I spent $250+ at The Fondue Pot so they should be the Stepford kids.
I don't think it's a matter of $$, but it is a matter of formality level.

Fast Food: No table service, no waiters roaming the floor. No or few utensils. Easily cleaned floor and tables/chairs. Entire mealtime expected to last 10-25 minutes. Possible *active* amusements provided specifically for the children. Main requirement for attire is shirt and shoes.

$50+/person Restaurant: Quiet music, soft lighting. Roaming waiters with hot food and possibly sharp implements. Less durable seating. Entire mealtime expected to last 1-3 hours. Perhaps a coloring book of some kind is provided, but probably not. Somewhat formal attire may be required.

Is there not a major difference here? Wouldn't we *all* behave somewhat differently in each of these environments? Except that we would use a bare minimum of polite table manners at both?

That's the other problem I have with the above argument. I think it is inappropriate for a child to "run amok" *anywhere*, *including* Taco Bell. Children should be expected to use manners at a reasonable level for their ages, such as sitting while eating, using a napkin, not burping loudly and purposefully (depending on their ages).

However, I do think that the fast food environment is more forgiving, as no one has to deal with a squirmy toddler for long, and it's an open-- and loud-- enough space to accomodate toddling and squealing children. HOWEVER, I don't believe that ANY child should be allowed to scream incessantly, run around willy-nilly, or throw things, etc. in any venue other than those expressly designed for that purpose, such as a playground, amusement park, possibly Chuck E. Cheese, etc.

I *also* don't believe that your "running amok" child should be forced to act like a "Stepford child" in any restaurant. If he is too young to behave reasonably maturely in a formal restaurant, though, he is too young to be in that restaurant. Not a condemnation, just a fact, in line with Opinion #1, above.

Acknowledging that our children are too young for certain activities is a big part of GD. It's not a negative judgement on them! It helps us set them up for success! Why anyone would have a problem with that, I do not know.

Finally:

Quote:
(Besides how would we like to be strapped in one position to our chairs for the course of the evening.)
Once again, this sets up a false dichotomy.

First, we *are* expected to be "strapped in one position" for the course of the evening at nice restaurants (and even more casual places)-- with the exception of bathroom breaks, to which a toddler is just as entitled.

Second, I think it is a reasonable accomodation to allow a child to sit in one's lap for part of the time, and even to take him or her outside or out of the way for a bit, when possible-- even at a fairly fancy restaurant.

Third, children are not adults. This is why they are not allowed to make many of their own choices, even when parents are not at *all* authoritarian. Even TCS parents must guide their children quite a bit when they are very young, and do not allow them to *freely* choose *any* option, like, say, drinking antifreeze.

In addition, adults are not children. This is why we do not find it charming when adults say "I am better than everyone else at singing!" or tolerate adults with full bladder and bowel control expecting to have their diapers changed. Likewise, we would find roaming adults inappropriate in nearly any restaurant.

That was awfully long, but I hope I have been clear. We should absolutely respect our children, but we should also respect ourselves and our fellow diners, et al. And, while it is often useful to consider "would I say/do that to an adult? If not, why would I say/do that to my child?"-- it is not *always* a question that should be answered in the negative.
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#84 of 96 Old 06-10-2005, 02:23 PM
 
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Chuck E Cheese (with exceptions...see below) is the ONLY place it is appropriate to let a Toddler roam, laugh, play etc..

Anywhere else is NOT acceptable (even kid friendly restaurants) UNLESS they have a playground "outback" like Joe's Crab Shack, McDonald's, Burger King. etc...it is simply too dangerous and they can get themselves killed.

I DO have a Toddler who would upset the waitstaff, go up to other's tables and play with their utensils and upset their dinner...

and I stay home. If DH and I want to dine out we call Mom and ask her to babysit

By Age 5 (and I'm sure there ARE exceptions), most kids should be able to sit quietly in a restaurant.
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#85 of 96 Old 06-10-2005, 02:41 PM
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I feel lucky that my DD just doesn't care if she's in the highchair for an hour or not. I can take her anywhere and she just loves it. I always bring crayons though...
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#86 of 96 Old 06-10-2005, 02:51 PM
 
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I just wanted to give yet another waitress view...I worked at TGI Friday's and Ponderosa for 4 years. Neither one is the slightest bit formal. I've tripped over and spilled stuff on kids three times.

All three times... I COULDN'T SEE THEM COMING I had NO blessed idea, because it's really hard to see over the tray you are carrying if the person is less than 3 feet tall. The third time, the child was maybe 2-3, and was running around his own table, only out in the aisle a little bit. If I had known there was a child there, I would have been fine because I could have avoided him, but again I COULDN'T SEE HIM OVER MY TRAY. His parents were furious with me, because I "should have been paying more attention". He was fine, got a bit of food on him. I twisted my body to keep the huge tray off of him and seriously hurt my ankle, and almost fell down a short flight of steps. But that's the thing--he was right by his own table, just running in circles around his own table to let off some steam. Perfectly normal 3 year old behavior.

We could look at this as me being un-child-friendly, or that I'm trying to deprive the 3 year old of his rights. And in a loud non-fine-dining restaurant, you'd think it would have been perfectly okay. But that kid really could have been seriously hurt, and I know no one at that restaurant cared, but I *WAS* injured, because he was engaging in perfectly normal 3 year old behavior. And his mom was less than 2 feet from him, and was paying attention to him. But by the time she saw me coming around the corner, and realized he and I were going to collide, she couldn't grab him.

Just my experience...whether or not it irritates other diners (and yes it does...like a pp said, you can decide whether or not it bothers you that it annoys others, but yes you are probably annoying about half the people there) I don't consider it a safe practice.

Mom to Liz (14) and Dillon (3) and Mitchell FINALLY born 7/11/10!
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#87 of 96 Old 06-10-2005, 04:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmaramba
Several people point out that they have to deal with inappropriate behvior from adults, too. Gabbing loudly on a cell phone, public drunkenness, disgusting table manners, etc. To which I say: "and your point is?" Those things are rude and inappropriate. But since when should rudeness beget rudeness? Just because those things are not uncommon and are sometimes tolerated (perhaps frequently, as many employees are not allowed to comment on them), does not mean that you or your child have free reign to do something equally inappropriate.
My point is that lots of behavior in restaurants is rude. It's a given of going on public that there are people who don't behave appropriately. Children should never have free reign to misbehave regardless of where they are. But they certainly aren't the bain of all interrupted meals either, nor the most severe or most dangerous. The OP's specific circumstances have been overlooked by some posters as they take the opportunity to complain about other horrible children they've encountered in restaurants (whose behavior no one would be questioning was inappropriate but really has nothing to do with the OP's question) and acting like children should be relegated to certain locations only. If you're child can't behave in public they need to leave regardless of where it is. But the OP was not asking about a mini-terror streaking through the restaurant getting in the way and stealing food but a child who can't sit through the waiting portions of dinner out and need to get up and move and whether the way she was allowing her son to do it was offensive. Which honestly not everyone actually seemed to want address, too many people wanted to talk more about their own encounters than what was being asked about. And a few posters seemed to have an air of too much hostility about children in restaurants in general to actually think about the mama and child in question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmaramba
I don't think it's a matter of $$, but it is a matter of formality level.
I personally don't see how when someone talks about it being expensive, spending good money, or saving money to have the meal, one can say it's not a matter of $$, but ok.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmaramba
That's the other problem I have with the above argument. I think it is inappropriate for a child to "run amok" *anywhere*, *including* Taco Bell.
. . .
I *also* don't believe that your "running amok" child should be forced to act like a "Stepford child" in any restaurant.
I agree and this was my point. That regardless of where it is (even Chuck-E-Cheese) children shouldn't be excused from running amok or expected to act like a Stepford child. They are people too; they have good days and bad days, if they can't handle a situation they should be removed from it. But they shouldn't have to jump through hoops to prove they deserve to be there if they are not disruptive or expected to behave at a higher standard than the adult patrons (ie. the Stepford CHildren remark).

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmaramba
First, we *are* expected to be "strapped in one position" for the course of the evening at nice restaurants (and even more casual places)-- with the exception of bathroom breaks, to which a toddler is just as entitled.
That's not entirely true we are not belted in our chairs and we can shift ourselves in our seat as we wish rather than sitting in a single position until our lower half is numb, a luxury we would not have in a three point harness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmaramba
We should absolutely respect our children, but we should also respect ourselves and our fellow diners, et al.
I really don't feel the OP doesn't respect her fellow diners, much to the contrary I don't think she'd have asked for opinions on if what she was doing ok if she didn't respect the other people who were there to witness it. She made a decision in the moment that she apparently questioned enough later to ask for a few 'second' opinions, hence her post. And while I may not condone repeating the action in question, I respect and admire her for asking (not to mention for the way she so gracefully took it all as some people ripped into her for other people's unruly children who stole food and tripped up waitresses and other assorted possibilites) and really wish more people could have suggested possible solutions/alternatives instead of just possible disasters. If feel like she posted a query as a mama was unsure of herself and want help (or even reassurance) and was not responded to as such. What kills me is most threads I've read here are not like this and she apparently touched on a hot button topic for some people that made it hard to look at her situation for the forest of situations it made them think of. And I'm very sorry I turned into such a provoked lioness but I get overly defensive when I feel like someone's being ganged up on.
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#88 of 96 Old 06-10-2005, 04:39 PM
 
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CJ--

I don't think we are too far apart on this, but I would like to note that I, too, am not talking about "horrible" children "running amok," for the most part.

I was addressing this topic holistically, including the protests of some parents here who seemed to have Opinion #2, as described above.

I agree that the OP was brave and right to pose this query to others, but my response to her OP remains the same as I described above.

Let's take a look at what she wrote:

Quote:
Would it bother you to see a parent with a coffee cup following a laughing running toddler (20m) around a restaurant?
The answer, for me, as well as many others, is YES.

Now, that doesn't mean her child is an ill-behaved hellion-- nor would I see her child that way. But it would bother me, and I do think it is inappropriate, especially assuming this is a sit-down restaurant.

A "laughing, running toddler" running "around a restaurant" is a problem. Not mitigated by the parent with the coffee cup behind him or her-- probably worsened, in some ways.

That doesn't mean I think the OP is a bad parent or a terrible human being. Not even a little bit. But my answer remains the same.

I agree that rudeness and inappropriate behavior is, to some extent, to be expected, if not "tolerated"-- whether it comes from an adult or a child.

Therefore, I am not the least bit shocked when I encounter something like the OP described-- or even much, much worse.

But just because it doesn't surprise me doesn't mean I think it's okay. I'm sure you agree.

And the fact that it's not the "worst" thing out there? It's still a problem.

I don't care if it's not the "worst" one.
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#89 of 96 Old 06-10-2005, 04:46 PM
 
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Oh, and I did want to add...

If we assume that most children do not walk until at least 12 months, and that they can sit in a booster by 24-30 months, then most mobile children are *not* "strapped down"-- or at least, they don't *have* to be.

And those who are can still shift in their seats a bit. Not to say that it's the *most* fun thing for a 20-month-old, but that's just another reason why they should not be *frequenting* sit-down restaurants, FTMP.

In any event, as most of us have stated, no one here has a problem letting the child sit on mom's lap for a while, or walking outside, if he or she is antsy.

Just not around the restaurant.
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#90 of 96 Old 06-11-2005, 02:24 AM
 
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I already do with my now 8 mo. old what I would do when he's older as well. First of all, if I can, I leave him with Grandma now because he just discovered he can crawl---fast and EVERYWHERE and that is what he wants to do ALL THE TIME. (this is just in the last couple weeks)
Or get takeout because I can eat at home and let him do what he wants to do.

If he does go to the restaurant, he sits in the highchair on on a lap, he has toys and maybe a teething cookie, and he might get walked around while we wait for food. (He's not walking yet obviously, so this is adult who can watch out for people walking with baby.) He doesn't get walked if it's busy, and we don't usually hit 'busy' times. And if we do give him food, we make sure it doesn't end up on the floor. (not a thrower yet, but a dropper) I've gotten up and picked up after him.
I have the same expectations for him when he's older--he either needs to be able to handle the restaurant with age-appropriate toys and maybe a walk to somewhere out of the way if we need to wait awhile for our food, and behave appropriately while eating (table manners, no throwing food, not making an unnecessary mess) or it's our job as the adults to accept the fact that he's not ready for dining at that restaurant and to keep working on manners at mealtime at home and try it again in a few months.
He will NOT be allowed to crawl around under tables, walk around and bother other diners, etc. no matter what his age or where we are. Even Chuck E. Cheese and McDonald's have play areas--sit at a table next to it! Saying 'oh he's only....(insert age here)' and allowing it teaches *nothing* IMO other than it's OK to act like that in public.

Another thing that works well with my preschoolers (especially the older ones, 4 and up) is to go over the rules that apply to a situation before getting into it, and what will happen if they do/don't follow the rules. Then stick to it--if you went over no running, no throwing food, etc. and they do it, remind them *once* and if they don't change the behavior, follow through with the consequence--for me, it would be that we're packing up the food and going home. They'll learn quickly that if they want to go out to eat, they need to behave appropriately.

Nothing wrong with kids walking in a lobby, or playing (including noise) in a play area, or even being louder in say, a Chuck E Cheese than a nice sit-down place.
No matter *where* you are, IMO, kids don't need to run/wander where they might be tripped over, go up to other tables, crawl on dirty floors, or throw food or make a huge mess with their food. (well, babies and toddlers are naturally messy eaters, but I'm talking above and beyond normal, and about intent. Kids spill things, that's accidental. Playing with the ketchup isn't.) It's about teaching respect for others (*somebody* has to clean up that mess, and maybe the people at the next table found a sitter so they could have a nice little date) and safety. And the fact that it's just gross to let a kid crawl around under a table.....who knows what's under there? If they find say, a fry, they're likely to eat it....eww.

basic rule of thumb, if you wouldn't let them do it at say, a big holiday dinner at home, they shouldn't do it in a restaurant either.
And to me, part of being a mom is accepting there's some things I might not be able to do right now because of where my child is developmentally. Just last week, the only reason he wasn't screaming at Ruby Tuesday because daddy held and played with him the entire time. Would NOT sit in the highchair. (A month ago, highchairs were cool. Now they're not.)

I just learned that for the next while, unless Grandma will watch DS, we will not be eating in a nice restaurant--he just can't sit that long, and he's not old enough yet to eat anything with us that they'd have. Cheerios and a teething biscuit only go so far. (and a lot of things that maybe an 8 mo old COULD have, I don't give him because of problems with dairy.)
Maybe when he is a little older and can eat more with us, he'll enjoy it. We'll test the theory at home first. (he is fine sitting and eating soft finger foods and with me feeding him, but he makes a HUGE mess, most of what he eats would be a mashed-into-the-carpet mess in a restaurant, (good eater, but like any baby, he drops food) and he likes to steal the spoon and make a big mess that way too, so I generally don't try to feed him a 'meal' in a restaurant....)

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