One of the things I’m most looking forward to as the girls get older is being able to go to a restaurant without becoming that table. You know the one. Where the kids are screaming and fighting and throwing food and spilling things and you wonder why the parents aren’t controlling their kids better and you hope they’re going to tip their abused waitress a whole lot. We’re that table.
For the most part we don’t go out to eat. On the rare occasions that we do, we choose “family friendly” establishments. They can easily be identified by readily available high chairs, separate kiddie menus often with crayons, cups with lids and straws, and plastic dishes. When we were traveling in Hawaii, we made a poor restaurant choice and I’m still recovering from it.
In my defense, since I chose the restaurant, I looked in the restaurant guide in our hotel room. It said it was a family friendly, Italian restaurant with a price conscious menu. It was also on the hotel property and an easy walk. It said family friendly right in the description. Apparently, they weren’t talking about our family.
That day we went to the Honolulu zoo and the aquarium and spent a couple hours in our room resting before dinner. (That means we turned on the television for the kids.)
We got to the restaurant. We should have turned around immediately. It was quiet in the restaurant. People were sipping wine and having quiet, adult conversations. There were only a couple of children and they were eight to ten and were dressed nicely and eating using utensils. We were in shorts, T-shirts, and flip flops. But they greeted us warmly and led us to a table, grabbed a high chair, and three colorful kiddie menus. Plus, we were hungry. So we stayed.
Apparently, the girls were exceptionally tired (or just bent on embarrassing their parents). They fought and bickered. They stuck their hands in their glasses. They whined and complained. Samantha and Ella started an actual food fight. Never have I seen them throw food at each other. We scolded and yelled in hushed tones.
Then there was Penelope. She was screaming. A high pitched excited scream. Which I shushed. As did some cranky old person half-way across the restaurant. Thanks for that cranky old person. It really helped.
By the time dinner was done one couple had moved tables, one couple, on seeing us, elected to not eat in the restaurant that night, and I’m pretty sure they needed to just cut out the carpet under our table. We didn’t even let the girls get the sundaes that came with their kiddie meals.
It was horrible. And embarrassing. And infuriating. But I just remembered my planned mantra for the plane rides. I’m never going to see these people ever again.
Are your kids well-behaved in restaurants? Any tips to get mine to behave?