Parents: control your children when in public

I recently encountered two incidents while dining out in town. The first incident was at a family restaurant, so the presence of kids was not unexpected. However, from the moment this mother and daughter walked in the door the child was shrieking “I want I Sckeem!” I found it cute at first, but then it repeated every 30 seconds.

The mother, in an attempt to pacify her child, took her to get some crayons from the waitress stand. There was a large container of crayons but only three different colors. The mother told the child she could only have three, the child insisted on the entire container. The child won that argument, colored with two crayons and dumped the rest on the floor.

The child had a milk shake to drink, which to me is the same as ice cream. When the child whined about the speed of the service, the mother simply agreed and began to whine herself. The girl got her meal and in between bites she continued with “I want I Skeem”. I was about the yell back “I want you to shut up” when the poor waiter finally delivered the ice cream (which she only ate two bites of anyway).

The Second was one evening, when my Fiancée and I went out to eat at a seafood restaurant. We had hoped for a quiet date night. That wasn’t what we got.

The restaurant was packed, and while waiting for our table in the lobby, a mother, her 12 year old daughter and eight year old son were also waiting. The boy ran through the crowed lobby bumping into people, screaming, and ramming his head into his sister so she fell into other customers. Exasperated the daughter begged her mother to “make him stop.” The mother sighed at the burden, and informed her daughter that if she wanted him to stop, she would have to make him. This continued for the rest of 45 minute wait. I can’t tell you how relieved I was when we were seated.

Ten minutes into our dinner the mother and children were seated on the other side of a partition from us. I was able to push most of the screaming and antics into the background noise.

However, on multiple occasions, the manager had to stop the boy from running into the kitchen (filled with many hot and/or pointy things) scoop him up and return him to his booster seat. Not once did the mother apologize or even act embarrassed.

About halfway through my meal, I hear the mother shout: “Oh [explicit], I knew this was going to happen.” This statement was followed by the sounds of the boy vomiting. If you knew it was going to happen lady, then why didn’t you try to stop it?

The mother made no attempt to take the child to the restroom, or even to get him away from other tables. The manager came over and quietly calmed down the whole screaming, puking family.

He suggested that the mother clean her son in the restroom. While the mother and son were in the restroom, the manager cleaned took care of the vomit. When they returned, he told the mom that he had boxed up their food for them so that she could go home and properly care for her sick child.

I’m not sure, but I don’t think she even got charged for the food. While the incident did have an effect on my appetite that night, thanks to the professional staff, I bear no ill will toward the establishment.

The point I’m making here is “parent” is not just a title, it’s a verb. When you go out in public’ at least pretend you care what people think about your parenting skills. Try to keep your child under control. If that’s too hard, at least take them someplace like Chuckie Cheese where children are expected to run wild.

I know the saying is that “it takes a village to raise a child.” It doesn’t mean that hapless restaurant managers are required to clean up your kids puke. It doesn’t relieve you from responsibility. That means that I won’t swear in front of your kids, and in return you have to keep your child from hiding under my table while I’m eating crab legs. Until the aforementioned people get that through their heads, I would like thank all those restaurant managers who do clean up puke.