“I’ll have the sirloin and a glass of chardonnay.” The waitress wears a look that is equal parts amused and bewildered. She looks at my husband and I for guidance. It’s obvious she’s never had a five year old place an order quite like the one my daughter just put in. I look at her, smiling. “You can skip the chardonnay”. Laughter ensues. Molly, finally realizing she ordered a glass of wine, laughs too. The reality is she would have ordered lobster if they had it and prefers tender loin but they didn’t have that either. So a sirloin and a glass of milk will have to do. I’ll take the chardonnay.
This is a typical meal out for us. It always has been. My husband and I, long before we had a little one in tow, have always loved going out to nice establishments and eating good food. Some people spend their money on movies or concerts, etc. – we are foodies and this is our thing. And there was no reason being parents should change that. And it hasn’t. Our daughter is every bit the foodie that we are. She is an adventurous eater, never afraid to try something new, and appreciates a nice setting and great food. The apple does not fall far from the tree.
Yes we go to nice places. If I’m going to spend my hard earned dollars to go out it had better be good. I don’t want to go to a place where they consider iceberg lettuce and some shredded carrots with ranch on the side a salad. I don’t like noisy places and sticky tables. I pay for comfort, good service and excellent food. And I could not care less if you don’t like it. I really couldn’t. Because if you don’t want to take a chance dining where a child might be then you have some options – go to an establishment that isn’t open to kids (there are plenty of them), sit on the lounge side of the restaurant (most nice places have one and they are perfectly nice) or stay home.
I am not going to cater to your needs. However, I also am going to do my best to ensure that our dining experience is pleasant for everyone. My kid is no stranger to going out. She knows how to behave. No she’s not perfect (neither are you). She occasionally sasses me when we are out. And I deal with that. But it doesn’t affect you. There’s no yelling. There’s no tantrums. There’s no running around. There is a well behaved, polite child (now seven) that loves going out. And that right there is enough incentive for her to be a great diner. Because she wants to do it again. She adores getting dressed up and going up. And we love taking her out.
I’m not sure when people became so intolerant towards children. Or why they think children should just be left at home or with babysitters. My husband and I both work out of the home full time. Our daughter is in various classes and activities. We literally have less than a handful of hours with each other on week days. Family time is precious. And sometimes we choose to use that time going out to eat. And those are wonderful moments that create great memories for all of us. So, suck it up buttercup.
I know, I know, kids sometimes act up. That’s what kids do. And as much as it irritates you, I assure you that it is extremely stressful for most parents. They don’t want a scene. They don’t want people judging them. They just want to sit and enjoy their meal, like you do. And most of the time that’s exactly how that goes. When I think about all the times we’ve gone out for dinner at a “nice’ place I recall very, very few where a child caused a scene. You hear the odd baby cry, because that’s what babies do, and that is almost always remedied swiftly with a breast or bottle or a parent taking the babe for a walk. Most parents do their best to to make their outings successful and enjoyable. And, quite honestly, I’ve had far more dining out experiences marred by an obnoxious adult than a child. Far, far more. I’ve never had to ask my child to stop dropping f-bombs. She’s never once been rude to staff. She washes her hands if she uses the washroom and doesn’t pee on the seat. She doesn’t cause a scene if something on her plate is not exactly how she thinks it should be. She never forgets to say please and thank you. In fact some of you could take lessons from her on how to be a good customer. She accepts steak as payment. But don’t let her order the chardonnay.