One of my personal favourite things to crib about has always been a nice evening out for dinner with friends and being seated at a table where the table next to us has kids on it. And mind you, not just kids, but rip-roaring. ruckus-creating, ill mannered loud kids. Motherhood, people around me assumed, would mellow me down because I would stop being so judgemental and see it from the other side of the fence. It didn’t.
I simply fail to understand why parents, specifically in our culture, suddenly become deaf to their children ruining a good time out for other people in the restarant, with endless screaming and clattering. I fail to understand the logic that just if you are paying for a meal out means that you are allowed to let the kids run wild. I recall an eid lunch once at a reputable thai restaurant where the 4 couples sat at one end of the table happily chatting/smoking/eating while their 9 assorted kids (with an ayah for every 3, perhaps) ran amuck the restuarant, even indulging in a food fight, much to the dismay of the poor waiters. I felt like going up to the completely made up, blow-dried aunties and telling them that maybe if they spent more time with the offspring and less time with the hairdresser, the monkeys would actually evolve into humans.
“It’s not always the parents’ fault”, said a friend defended, who I impassionedly related this tale to, with vows that my children will not turn out like this. “And maybe your kids will be like this too, and you won’t be able to control them at restuarants.” “Why not, though?” I had refused to understand at the time that this could be anything other than parental deviance. If our parents told us to be quiet and sit down, we do it. We might shuffle and whisper (aahh the young rebels) but essentially, we would tone it down.
Having had Nadi, and now mashallah him being almost 10 months old, we have done our bit of eating out and I will admit as much that it’s already not easy to keep him from being…well…a kid. He wants to already run around and walk and pick up things- and he doesn’t even quite know how to yet. He wants to babble endlessly- rather adorable if you ask me- and yes shhh has no meaning for him whatsoever. I give in a little and say yes maybe, it’s not all the parents’ fault. However, to keep it from getting out of control it is their call. When we are out and Nadi gets a little restless, either k or I take him outside to settle him down- or if he gets tired/whiny, take a drive around the block (while our food sits cooling) to slumber him down. Why put the other nice people trying to have a nice adult dinner to test?
Our lives have started evolving too. Our smoky coffee place encounters at Espresso have been limited severely. We prefer going to not so quiet, kid friendly now places when he is with us. We try to hang out more at friends’ houses so he has the run of the floor. For now, to put a halt on our more sophisticated outings is no big deal, especially since I am very big on not ruining a good time out for other completely judgmental parents like myself.