The room is crowded and waiters are scurrying around, yet the atmosphere is pleasant. Darling Husband is enjoying crab cakes, Girl #1 has parmesan-crusted tilapia, Girl #2 and Girl #3 are playing it safe with lasagna, and I’m eating, for the first time, crab and shrimp cannelloni. It’s
As we’re savoring the last morsels of our meals, the waiters begin pushing tables together that are located behind my back. Apparently, a large party is expected.
When they parade in, patrons begin to look in their direction and so does my family. Of course, I have to turn around to see what the racket is, too. The ten or so adults and eight or so kids are loudly discussing where everyone should sit. A boy begins to cry. A girl dressed almost entirely in pink feathers can’t find a seat, so the waiter squeezes in a high chair for her that she can barely fit in. Somehow, she falls out… and cries.
The boy cries louder. “Why isn’t someone taking him out,” I wonder. I do another U-turn to see him and realize that he’s probably autistic, so I give him a temporary pass. However, another little missy who is dressed in white feathers (I thought all the ballet recitals were over for the year) begins to whine and cry. The mother says a few useless words as she holds her on her lap. The boy stops crying, but the diva continues and continues and continues.
My daughter, Girl #3 says, “They’re like the Jersey Shore cast.”
“No, more like the Cake Boss family,” Girl #2 corrected.
People are still trying to enjoy their food and dining experience, however I can tell it’s an effort because heads are still diverting to the uncouth bunch; maybe because white feathered diva is still going at it… about 3 minutes now.
My kids have ordered dessert and I’m almost regretting it, because now we have to sit through this longer.
It’s now restroom time. Two of my girls and I go, which is a good opportunity to laugh at Grandpa. Still giggling as we enter the restroom, who should be there, but the mom and white feathered diva on the hip.
When my kids were smaller, people would look at us as we walked to our table guided by the restaurant host. I didn’t give it much thought beyond assuming that people were saying, “That man has all those girls,” or I’d think, “We must be looking good today.” Sometimes, people would come over to our table as they were leaving and compliment DH and me on our well-behaved children. So it wasn’t that we were looking good or the amazement of our all girl children; it was FEAR! The diners had probably been praying that we wouldn’t get seated anywhere near them.
Which leads me to this question: What do you think about the growing trend in barring children from restaurants?
The Huffington Post reported that a Houston restaurant, La Fisheria, is banning kids under 9 years old after 7 p.m. The executive chef, Aquiles Chavez, told local news station KHOU 11 that “Many customers had complained about ‘noisy and rowdy’ kids overtaking the restaurant. The children… they are crying, some are running under the tables.” The Huffington Post also reported that Chavez “explained that the new policy will help improve business because patrons will now be able to dine in peace from 7 p.m. to the 10 p.m. close.”
While reading the story, I clicked over to the links within and found stories of more restaurants with similar restrictions. The owners, when questioned, seem to have no ambivalence about banning the kids and many patrons are supporting their decision. One of the owners commented on how our kids may be the center of our universe, but they are not the center of everyone else’s.
On the other hand, others have said that “the ban makes it harder on parents of young children who also want a night out, or penalizes parents of well-behaved children.”
A mother was quoted on the restaurant’s facebook page, writing, “Just because I’m a mom doesn’t mean that I’m not entitled to eat out somewhere. I don’t eat fast food and I will not feed that garbage to my children. I am shocked that people think that just because you are out with children you should go to Chuckie Cheese or some other obnoxious and unhealthy fast food place.”