Restaurant Karma

Posted by: , October 2, 2011 in 9:35 am


Restaurant Behavior | Buried with ChildrenTaking kids to a restaurant is well, let’s face it, a crap shoot. You just never know what you are going to get. Jeff and I are firm believers that if you want kids to behave in a restaurant then you have to take them to one and teach them how to behave. If you never take kids out to eat and then one day decided to take them, how are they going to know what is expected of them?

Practice makes perfect.

Sure this method has caused us stress and leaving the restaurant in the middle of a meal because one child is screaming their head off, another child won’t sit still and knocked over a tray of food and yet another child vomited on the table but we still do it. Not often, but we still go out to eat at restaurants.

I am now proud to say that my for the most part, my children know how to behave in a restaurant. Jeff and I even get complimented on how well our kids behave from other people. Yes, they still have their moments that make me want to crawl under the table and never come out again but for the most part, practice has made perfect.

Last weekend, we were asked to join my parents, grandma and aunt at a local restaurant for dinner. I do every thing I can to avoid cooking on the weekends so I readily agreed to go.

We got to the restaurant, were seated and ordered our food without any issues. The kids were happily coloring and chatting with each other and family members. I even sat back in my chair and just for a moment thought maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if I let my guard down and enjoyed myself.

But just as that thought crossed my mind, a loud, terrible, ear splitting wail rang out across the restaurant.

I quickly laid eyes on all my children to each which one was yelling but they were all as startled as I was.

Suddenly, the yell happened again.

“Mommy, that is too loud,” Jake said.

“Mommy, that is hurting my ears,” Quinn chimed in.

“Mommy, make them stop.” Hayden said looking up from the cross word search he was doing.

I looked around the restaurant and saw that at the table behind us a family with one child about 8 or9 and a set of twin boys probably about 2 had been seated.

They were doing their best to quiet the screeching toddler but nothing was working.

“Mommy, that is to loud!” Jake said again this time standing and covering his ears.

At first, to be honest, I was annoyed at this screaming toddler. Why in the world would the parents take a child who didn’t know how to behave into a restaurant? This sucked and was totally ruining my dinner and making my children crazy. Is one peaceful dinner too much to ask for?

Then just as if someone came up and slapped me on the head, I began to empathize with the parents as the toddler screamed again causing silence in the restaurant.

I knew this embarrassment all too well.

As the mom got up to walk out with the screaming toddler, leaving the dad with the other two kids and to pay for their drinks they ordered, my heart went out to them and I saw the two full wine glasses at the table.

I wanted to tell them that I understood, that I had been there and in fact we all have probably been there.  I wanted them to know that it will get better. Kids grow and their behavior gets better. I wanted to hug the mom just so that she would know that she is not alone and tell her that this whole situation is perfect blog fodder and she would one day laugh at it.

There were so many things that I wanted to do but the only thing I could do was say, “For the love of pete, drink the wine! Drink. The. Wine.”

And then I wondered if any one would care if I just went over to the table and grabbed a glass for myself?

Now, the story could and probably should end here but karma is a bitch so there is more.

After the family left and we were almost threw with our dinner. Hayden asked Jeff to take him to the bathroom. Jeff agreed and off they went.

Moments later, my dad’s cell phone rang. It was Jeff.

“Yeah, Jen.” my dad began, “Jeff wanted me to tell you that he is going to be a minute because he needs to get the vomit cleaned up from the lobby.”

I looked up at my dad, confused but as Hayden wondered back to our table looking like death it made sense.

“Mommy,” he said as he crawled into my lap, “I puked three times on the way to the bathroom.”

Well played, karma. Well played.

I will never again even if even for a moment get annoyed or judgmental about someone else’s children.


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