When we were young and childless, Chris and I would joke that we loved kids one of two ways: in a cream sauce or slowly roasted over an open flame.
We still find that kind of amusing in a macabre way. So it really shouldn’t have shocked us when our little snowflake became the fly in someone’s soup at a restaurant a few years ago.
The incident happened at an airport restaurant in Detroit after a long flight. We had to let our two-year-old toddle around the restaurant a little. He grabbed a fork and walked around the table.
Seconds later, we heard another patron yelling: “What makes you think I’d want to interact with your son?”
And there was Aren, playfully waving a fork at the offended guest. Oops.
Has this ever happened to you?
As new parents, Chris and I were mortified. We felt like we’d been slapped. The man continued to complain to the server and anybody else within earshot.
“I don’t know if that’s acceptable where you come from,” he hissed, as Aren slowly backed away. “But it isn’t here.”
Were we being bad parents? Had we broken an unwritten rule (“Don’t let you kids make eye contact with strangers”?)
I get it. There are places where kids aren’t welcome. They include:
- Fancy restaurants.
- Strip clubs.
Also, I get that until your children are capable of understanding how to act and can control their behavior or understand the responsibility inherent in a situation there are activities you should hold off in participating.
- SCUBA diving.
- Observing a surgical procedure.
- Group meditation.
- Family pictures (see below).
Still, if you’re in a public area you should expect to have to deal with the public, right?
How should you respond when this happens? Do you slink off, tail between your legs? Apologize politely? Or, as I was sorely tempted, do you give the offended patron a piece of your mind?