This week I read a story about the owner of a diner in Portland who screamed at a 2 year old who was having a temper tantrum in her restaurant. Apparently the parents had been asked to leave or take the child outside and when that didn’t happen, the owner slammed her hands down on the counter and told the child to be quiet. The woman has gotten equal amounts of praise and scorn from people on social media. I’d go out on a limb and say that almost all of the people calling the diner owner a hero are people with no kids, and most all of those who are condemning her are parents. I don’t know how the parents attempted to handle the situation but I do know that it is never okay for a stranger to yell at your child and the owner of this diner should consider herself damn lucky that it wasn’t me and my family sitting there because we would have had a serious issue.
People who don’t have children don’t seem to understand that taking a young child out into the world is not unlike driving the bus in the movie Speed. Go too fast and you’re going to go careening off the road, but go too slow and your trip ends with a huge explosion. Pop quiz hot shot, what do you do? The answer is clear if you listen to the Portland hipsters on the Marcy’s Diner Facebook page, you are supposed to stay at home with the shades pulled until your child is of an age where it’s relatively safe to go outside and then you can join the rest of society again. Well screw that noise. We have just as much right to go to some over priced greasy dive as everyone else. I apologize if my kid sometimes gets noisy or throws a french fry on the ground, but I really don’t find that any more offensive than the drunken dude-bro yelling and swearing at the hockey game on the TV at Buffalo Wild Wings.
The decision to take a young child to a restaurant or a movie isn’t something that most parents take lightly either. As fun as it may sound to sit next to a dormant volcano at lunch, it can be a little bit stressful. I just want to sit and enjoy my burger and fries without feeling like that guy from The Hurt locker. But little kids are by their very nature emotionally unstable and unpredictable, and there’s very little any parent can do to predict when and where their tiny time bombs will detonate. Anything can set them off too, from the restaurant you’re at not having raspberry lemonade to dropping their crayon under the table for the 10th time. There is no issue too small that can’t turn a well behaved kid into a mini Shia Labeouf in a heartbeat.
Everybody wants to enjoy a nice meal in peace and quiet. And if you have small kids then you know how much of challenge that can sometimes be. All I ask is that the next time you’re out and a child at another table starts to act up, instead of rolling your eyes or mumbling about how those parents need to “control their kid”, maybe show a little understanding. We’re all doing the best we can. And remember that once upon a time that super annoying kid that just dumped his bowl of mac n cheese on the floor used to be you.
Do you have any stories about your kids acting up in public? Tell us your survival story in the comments below!