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Babies/Children in Restaurants (merged topic)


Mark Sommelier
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Whew, that was quite a rant!

The table behind has a wailing toddler who is upset that his complimentary blue crayon snapped in two. "We'll get you another one, honey," coos the dingbat mother, trying to placate the horrid beast. Why would anyone do such a thing? "Shut up, you cretin!" is the proper response to such a display. The kid should be happy he got a damn crayon at all.

My general policy is to not frequent restaurants that hand out crayons if I'm looking for peace and quiet during my repast.

Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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Nothing we haven't seen before...

Why not have restaurants that no one's allowed to go into? That way no one's inconvenienced by anyone else's dogs, children, iguanas, cicadas, poor hygiene, bad habits, stinky perfume, footwear, lack of stick-thinness, or gaucheness in daring to order chardonnay. :hmmm:

"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard
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I think it is a responsibility of a good parent to not go to places where a person would come expecting a "nice quite dinner"...on the other hand, my wife and I always take our kids at off peak hours...before lunch, after lunch dinner etc...

on the other hand, if you are sitting in a chili's, or other type family place....you have to expect that there will be kids there..so suck it up and deal with it....and if anyone attempted "5 across the eye"...they would be in for a nice suprise and a booking number!

Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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Why not have restaurants that no one's allowed to go into? That way no one's inconvenienced by anyone else's dogs, children, iguanas, cicadas, poor hygiene, bad habits, stinky perfume, footwear, lack of stick-thinness, or gaucheness in daring to order chardonnay. :hmmm:

Yeah, that's the ticket! And while we're at it, please add men who don't trim their toenails to that list, because that grosses me out. No sandals!

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Bleachboy

My general policy is to not frequent restaurants that hand out crayons if I'm looking for peace and quiet during my repast.

I generally don't mind crayons when I am dining alone when there is a dearth of other entertainment. :raz::laugh: They do get testy when I draw on the tablecloth, but I tip pretty big so generally they get over it.

Minister of Drink-you clearly had not had enough to drink :raz: , but if you want plenty to read on both sides of the coin take a gander at this lively thread, which started out in DC, concerning Babies in Restaurants! The conversation turns to include children of all ages and behavior abilities.

Funny how both of these threads began in DC, though.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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And while we're at it, please add men who don't trim their toenails to that list, because that grosses me out. No sandals!

Never mind the toenails - what about the hairy Hobbit toes? EWWWW!

"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard
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Funny how both of these threads began in DC, though.

Blame the pandas. We're all frustrated because there ain't been no panda lovin'. :laugh:

"Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cookbook! Little Red Cookbook!" --Eddie Izzard
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Never mind the toenails - what about the hairy Hobbit toes? EWWWW!

What do you have against us Hobbits? Just because you can braid the hair on our toes doesn't make us anyless charming dinner companions. :biggrin:

Tobin

It is all about respect; for the ingredient, for the process, for each other, for the profession.

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I'm definitely guilty of having the child screaming in the background. It sucks, believe me, I want to cry with the child out of frustration and/or dig a hole in the floor and hide. You can rest assured that the mother in that scenario did not take her kids out hoping gleefully to ruin someone elses evening, let alone her own. If she really was the callous "limosine" mother you describe, she would have left the child home with nanny. I hear you, it's no fun listening to a child cry, but I think you are lacking in the empathy department. He's two. You ruined a lot of meals for your parents and others when you were that age too. I'm sure there is a bar somewhere near you that serves decent food to the over 21 only crowd, try that next time.

What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

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Did anyone else see that episode of Sex and the City where Samantha took on the mom and her noisy child, and got a faceful of food in return? :biggrin:

I've had plenty of meals disrupted by children, by drunk people, by bad servers, etc etc etc. But whether that 'ruins' your dinner is actually up to your ability to handle yourself.

Food is a convenient way for ordinary people to experience extraordinary pleasure, to live it up a bit.

-- William Grimes

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Gee, der Brucer and I have never had children of our own (well, duh), but have always enjoyed seeing the young'uns with their families when we dine out.

The way I figure it, the parents deserve a little time out, too. In most cases, they both work these days, and then come home to spend quality time with the kids and each other, along with all the necessary household duties. No, babysitters are not always available. So, the best option is to bring the kids along.

The best encounters we've had with families have been where the parents take an interest in their children, including them in their conversations at table.

As for der Brucer and myself, we have always waved hello to the kids if they take notice of us, and are friendly with the parents. We're dining in a public area, after all. To us, that means that the other diners are part of our environment, and deserve our respect. If we really wanted to have no part of other people while we dine, we'd have asked for a private room.

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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The Minister harms his case by linking to one of those whiny, self-absorbed "child-free" sites run by people who just hate kids.

I think he also harms his case by failing to name the restaurant or place the age of the child. There is a huge continuum of possibilities here, and the situation of, say, a 6-year-old at Sam and Harry's is very different from a 2-year-old at Nectar.

We need details.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Quoth the Minister of Drink, in the thread on dogs in restaurants:

All this fuss about dogs eating where people eat. I mean c'mon folks!!! I see more filthy-looking, unkempt, bacteria carrying, disgusting lard-ass people (not dogs) all the time, including while I'm out having a meal. To think that I could have the misfortune of having to share a restaurant dining room with one of these odd-toed ungulates while my dog has to stay home makes me sick! Practically all of Europe allows dogs in restaurants, fine hotels, and other public places -- no one gets sick! NO ONE!!

Word to Miss Anthrope (aka MOD): You're supposed to put the milk on your Corn Flakes, not the yellow stuff!

Seriously...while I will agree that dogs are indeed allowed in many fine (and other)restaurants in Europe, I have to admit that my dogs and my child have, over the years, presented equal degrees of difficulty in the control and quiet department.

During James's infancy, we took him to any number of great restaurants in DC(Citronelle, Obelisk, et. al.). He slept quietly in a bassinet under the table and, when he would begin to agitate for sustenance only mommy can provide, we'd take him outside for a bit.

He is now five and loves dining out. He is a fan of everything from tavern-type burgers and fries to foie gras. If he could type, he would be contributing to the recent thread on the Upperline in New Orleans, since he happily gorged himself last visit. He did think Bayona was a little off the day he went.

Between about six months and three years, do you know where he went? He went only to family-type places, because he was not in a phase where he could be quiet for long periods of time and behave appropriately in a formal or serious establishment.

Taking him out for a Grammercy Tavern meal at that point would have been about as rude as showing up at a restaurant that keeps a stock of crayons for frequent young diners and then bitching about the kids. But none of us would do that, would we?

Peace brother -- you're not as important as you think you are. Neither am I and neither was that meal. A little patience for those around you is, however, pretty important.

Jim

NB -- This is not meant to minimize the importance of teaching children to behave appropriately in restaurants (and everywhere else, for that matter). It's just that I've seen as many spoiled middle aged whiners as I have teething aged ones.

Jim Jones

London, England

Never teach a pig to sing. It only wastes your time and frustrates the pig.

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Minister -

I rarely stray from the bounds of considered politeness, but in this instance, I will echo mnebergall's sentiments. I work my ass off. So does my wife. Together we own and operate a fine dining restaurant. Our little boy of 3 is, on balance, an exceedingly well behaved kid (says "please" and "thank you" to servers bringing him water and the like, and simply loves the theater of eating out). We love our son, and love being with him - and also love dining out (when we can, which is extremely rare these days). On the rare occasions when he's done what he's supposed to do at 3 going on 4, namely, throws a hissyfit over the lack of butter on each quadrant of a piece of bread, we give it a minute and try to redirect his energy - believe me, from our side, it's a drag to have to bail on a great meal for this - but, if after a minute or two we are unsuccessful, we will leave rather than spoil others' enjoyment.

Trust that most parents are not insensitive jerks out to ruin your evening. Most just want a break.

Your comments on battering a child are wholly inappropriate, beyond comprehension, and disgust me to the core. If getting a rise is what you sought, you have achieved it in this father. I can assure you your recommended control methods would not pass by me (nor my boy - as a father, and martial arts instructor, I've seen your kind far too often, and I have made it a point to teach children the value of defense, both of one's spirit and body). You might find your "five across the eye" would be better contained to other pursuits.

Paul

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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I see screaming children much more often now then five or ten years ago. There is no discipline. That only happens at 5, when they enter school- which crates a really lovely child, ready to interact with society NOT. No discipline, no book reading, no activities, and no caring by the parents -you don't have to have children.

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Wow...I am stunned by the venom of this subject. Kids are kids, for cryin' out loud. Change your table if you are that disgusted. Up your prescription... take a deep breath...and get over it because no one's prepared to stop producing progeny so you can eat in a tomb!!

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I see screaming children much more often now then five or ten years ago. There is no discipline. That only happens at 5, when they enter school- which crates a really lovely child, ready to interact with society NOT. No discipline, no book reading, no activities, and no caring by the parents -you don't have to have children.

Wow, I wasn't aware of the pandemic we now have of demonic children. And we don't have to have kids?? I thought it was a required act, like registering for the draft here in the States. And to think I could've avoided the early morning eyes smiling to tell me, "I love you dad," or the daily renewal of my own life through the life of this precious, growing being, as in wonderment he looks to Lake Superior and declares it "pretty." Or the insane romps of ticklefests and bouncing on my back as I give piggyrides. Man, if I only had the sense to forgo this hell, and, additionally, not foist his goodness on this world.

You know, your idea (and, I'm sure, that of your confrere, Minister) of "crating" 5 year old kids is not half bad. Most would've thought you made a typo in "create," but now that you've shown me the virtue of being parentless, I know what you mean, and couldn't agree more - crate the monsters, much like the kennel dogs.

I'd feel sorry for you and Minister if you weren't so abrasively arrogant in your appraisals of children generally.

Edited in the interest of civility, at least to an extent. Cheers, jrufusj.

Paul

Edited by paul o' vendange (log)

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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You know, somehow I missed the part about smacking the child the first time I read this. Leads me to think this guy is more troll than anything else. If he is serious, then I definitely have nothing appropriate to say. (Wouldn't my mother be proud?)

There's a great folk expression about pigs that applies equally well to trolls.

"Never teach a pig to sing. It only wastes your time and frustrates the pig."

Damn, that's a sig line if there ever was one.

Jim

Jim Jones

London, England

Never teach a pig to sing. It only wastes your time and frustrates the pig.

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I see screaming children much more often now then five or ten years ago. There is no discipline. That only happens at 5, when they enter school- which crates a really lovely child, ready to interact with society NOT. No discipline, no book reading, no activities, and no caring by the parents -you don't have to have children.

Wow, I wasn't aware of the pandemic we now have of demonic children. And we don't have to have kids?? I thought it was a required act, like registering for the draft here in the States. And to think I could've avoided the early morning eyes smiling to tell me, "I love you dad," or the daily renewal of my own life through the life of this precious, growing being, as in wonderment he looks to Lake Superior and declares it "pretty." Or the insane romps of ticklefests and bouncing on my back as I give piggyrides. Man, if I only had the sense to forgo this hell, and, additionally, not foist his goodness on this world.

You know, your idea (and, I'm sure, that of your confrere, Minister) of "crating" 5 year old kids is not half bad. Most would've thought you made a typo in "create," but now that you've shown me the virtue of being parentless, I know what you mean, and couldn't agree more - crate the monsters, much like the kennel dogs.

I'd feel sorry for you and Minister if you weren't so abrasively arrogant in your appraisals of children generally.

Edited in the interest of civility, at least to an extent. Cheers, jrufusj.

Paul

Not sure I want to touch this topic...but you really don't see a serious DECLINE in the way kids are raised in the US, especially in middle and upper middle class households? The focus has shifted from raising a child to supporting and justifying the child's every wish, desire, fear, etc. The result is incredibly self-centered non-adults who have no concept of right/wrong and think that since they always won playing Candyland with mommy and daddy, then their college professor has no right to give them a C+ in Chemistry.

I compare the way I see children raised in the US to France and its scary. Certainly, this is personal observation, but French children at meals are PART of the meal, not the focus of the meal. As young as 4 or 5 and they are expected to eat whatever is being served and rarely do they act up to the point of becoming the center of attention for the family or restaurant.

This Minister guy is just trying to get a rise from everyone. However, many parents cannot be trusted to consider the greater good when dining out since their abilty to say NO to Jane or Johnny seems non-existent.

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French children at meals are PART of the meal...

Yes, but are they sautéed, braised or roasted?

Sorry, couldn't resist. I have observed the same thing for many years: French children, sitting quietly through extended meals in fancy restaurants. Like the French dietary paradox (smoke, drink, eat, but be thin and live longer) I find this one elusive. Perhaps it's the little sips of wine that the kiddies receive.

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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I am a teacher, I work with kids (aged 10 - 13) all day. I have seen a huge decline in how children behave vs. how they used to. Some are still perfectly fine, but many have no signs of discipline at home, have no attention span to speak of, and have no clue about proper standards of decorum and decency. Parents try to push it upon the schools to instill the discipline into their children, but we can't do it without their help. A detention or suspension carries no weight when it isn't backed up with a grounding, a stern lecture, or a belt across the buttocks at home. Not to mention that if our detention records show that more males than females have been disciplined, or more minority than caucasion students, we get special interest groups like the NAACP breathing down our backs and protesting the schools. The situation is horrendous, and as much as I think the Minister was somewhat callous and extreme in his ideas, I would tend to lean towards them myself, but only in the case of children who do not know how to behave.

What bugs me is that in my home state (of Delaware) all restaurants have gone no-smoking. It used to be so nice, you could just request a table in the smoking section (I don't smoke) and have to deal with far less of a crowd, and virtually no, if any at all, children. Alas, that time is now gone....

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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I thought the article was funny and didn't think for a second that the author was serious in his recommendation of violence. Occasionally, violent thoughts occur when we are frustrated, annoyed, inconvenienced; writing an essay on the subject seems a very healthful release. Lighten up people!

For those conscientious parents who are quick to placate or admonish their crying/screaming/running/dancing children we thank you. Unfortunately, you are in the minority in our experience. Of particular memory was a toddler at a Spanish restaurant, in attendance with her extended family (mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, uncle & aunt). She ran circles round the table, squealing, crying, and having tickle fests with her uncle, who encouraged the whole thing. He probably did it thinking he was entertaining the child. Those of us sitting at tables adjacent to theirs were not entertained or amused.

The parents looked mortified and probably could have had the child under control, if they had corrected the behavior of "fun uncle."

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