Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Note Entitled: The Annoying Disregard for Others [Alternately Titled: People, Curb Your Children!]

Last Friday night Dave and I went to a nearby Mexican restaurant we’ve been to a few times. Normally it’s a nice quiet place with decent food at a reasonable price. Not so that night. That night as soon as we walked in I knew we had a problem. It was loud. There was jiggidy-jiggidy Spanish rap music playing.

Really? How is this conducive to a nice dinner atmosphere? It’s not a night-club or a bar. It’s a restaurant.

We were seated and it got worse. Directly behind us there was a grandmother, mother, and 2 little kids ages 3-5 I’d guess. They were being SO LOUD! The girls were up standing between our table and theirs dancing wildly and singing loudly (making up their own words). The mother and daughter were having a nice conversation not caring at all that the two little girls were running around yelling. Add this to the jiggidy-jiggidy music and there was no way I was going to be experiencing an enjoyable evening.

I get that kids are loud. I get that they get silly. Seriously, I had 4! But there was this total disregard for others that I find so annoying in people today! The mom and daughter we able to talk and the kids weren’t bothering them so why would they stop the kids? They weren’t bothering them but the other 5 or 6 tables in the restaurant were definitely being bothered!

(Disclamer: This was a restaruant. It was not Chucky Cheese or a fast food joint with a playland. If you go there, kids will be running amuck. That's why they are there. You're in their world now. You can't go to a place like that and complain about the noise.)

I don’t mean to sound judgmental. Really I don’t. I have had my kids behave in a not so nice way in public before. It’s embarrassing! But the thing is, when you see an overwhelmed parent or parents eating at a restaurant and their kids are being less than stellar in their behavior, but those harried parents are trying, I don’t know about you, but I want to go over there and give them a pat on the back, tell them one day it’ll get easier and offer to entertain the bored toddler or hold the fussy baby while they finish their dinner.

But when I see parents totally okay with their kids running amuck and bothering everyone but ignoring it because it’s easier to ignore that engage…? Yeah, that makes me see red.

I remember once when Bryce was about 5 and Gunnar was about 2 and I was miserably pregnant with Evelyn we went with a realtor to look at houses. He took us to a house that was being shown by the owner and when we were in the garage they all got to talking and we were just standing around this warm garage. This was the last room to see and I’d held hands and entertained and kept them quiet and made sure that the boys didn’t touch anything and we were all worn down. All of a sudden, while he was right smack in the middle of the circle of adults, Bryce looked down at the garage floor and spat. Right on the floor. There was a collective silence and the home owner was absolutely horrified and gave me a rather nasty look. I apologized, took the boys back through the house and out the front door to our waiting car and sat there, waiting for the ground to just go ahead and swallow me up. When later asked why he would do that, Bryce said that the garage is just like outside, and it’s okay to spit outside right? *sigh*

So, while my child did something awful and insulting to this poor homeowner, I as the parent at least had the decency to look properly horrified and remove the child from the environment post-haste. I probably should have cleaned up the spit first, but I was in fight-or-flight mode at that point. I fled!

I’ve been there. Parenting is hard. Kids can be unruly. But parents, please, don’t give up. Keep trying. Keep working at it. Be considerate of your child’s behavior around others, so that one day they will learn to be considerate themselves.

After sitting for a few minutes in the restaurant, we decided to leave. We left a few dollars on the table for the 2 or 3 chips we’d eaten and our glasses of water and walked out the door. Dave did stop on the way out and mention to our waitress that it was just too loud in the restaurant for us to stay. The waitress looked over at the yelling, dancing girls and said, “I understand.” I felt bad for her.

We went down the road a bit to another little Mexican place (this is Texas, you can throw a stick and hit 2). This place was okay. The food was mediocre, but you know what? It was quite. Non jiggidy-jiggidy Spanish music was playing at a reasonable level and all the kids in the restaurant were sitting at the tables with their parents and not yelling. So, in my book? Score!

I remembered this article that I’d read a few years ago and thought I’d post a link here. This guy said it so much better than me, and he did it with such wit and humor. I was cracking UP!

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