Oh No You Di’int!

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Well, well. well! It’s been a while my dear Momzilla folk, but not nearly long enough. There I was in Infertility Rehab doing my best to mind my own bid’ness and then you come back to taunt me, and not just once but TWICE in one weekend … a weekend dedicated to celebrating my anniversary with my guy in the California wine country.

Just when I thought you were becoming nothing but a distant nightmare, more of a gnat that I’d have to swat away from time to time, you decide it’s time to introduce me to Gramzilla.

Imagine this scene: It’s 6:45 pm. You enter a fine dining wine country restaurant. A large fire roars to your right. To your left is a dining area where among other tables there’s a party of eight people seated — three of whom are under the age of five. You make a mental note to seat yourself as far away as possible as you always do when kids are prominent in a restaurant other than the likes of a McDonalds, Bakers Square or Chuck E. Cheese.

Just to be sure that you have some uninterrupted romantic time you find a cozy table in the bar to enjoy a light meal with your squeeze. (Let me repeat, you are seated in the area of the restaurant where alcoholic beverages are served to people 21 years of age and older). At a small table nearby sits another couple sharing a light meal in the bar. Did I mention we were in a bar?

The romantic ambiance of the place is torpedoed within minutes by the table with the kidlets starting with shrieking and fussing from the youngest, a toddler in a high chair. It’s further aggravated by the todder’s table mates, two little girls in party dresses who start using their outside voices. You are irritated but you say to yourself, “hey, I’m going to do my best to ignore them. They’re over there, I’m over here.”

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The waiter brings two glasses of a lovely, local red varietal wine. We peruse the menu and order a risotto dish.  The adults in the party of eight are about to finish their meal and the little ones grow more restless. I wonder how much longer the adults are going to torture the kids by keeping them cooped up at the table when clearly at 7:00 pm the toddler and little girls would prefer to be home watching the Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon before bath time. The toddler lets out a world class sneeze and starts coughing his brains out. I’m thankful that we are outside the germ zone.

Our food arrives just as the adults at the table of eight kick back to let their food digest.  Eager to nurture their food-induced stupor they release the two girls who — delighted to be free — scamper around the bar in what amounts to tap shoes — unsupervised. CLACK, CLACK, CLACK on the hardwood floor they go running by our table in one direction. CLACK, CLACK, CLACK. They return to to the big table to report on what they’ve found. CLACK, CLACK, CLACK they’re off again this time playing hide and go seek amid the bar sofas. I feel my blood pressure rise. To my left the toddler appears walking with as much coordination as a drunk, holding his bottle of milk. I’m immediately left wondering when he’s going to cough and sneeze again.

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A mother or aunt figure realizes after five minutes that he’s disappeared out of sight and goes off in search of the lost boy. The little girls continue frolicking around our table as though they’re on a playground. I see the couple at the other table stiffen. They’re clearly bothered, too.

Then I had my own Norma Rae or Howard Beale moment.  I was not going to just gnash my teeth and submit. I was mad as hell and I was not going to take it any more. I calmly pushed back my chair, walked over to one of the errant adults who was coming back by our table with the toddler in tow and said in an even-keel, but firm tone, “Excuse me, but this is NOT Romper Room. This is a bar. It is not appropriate for children to be playing here.”

I slipped back into my seat while the somewhat mystified woman rounded up the three children in the bar and took them back to their table. Not less than five minutes later, a positively indignant Gramzilla marched over to me and got in my face while I cut a piece of asparagus. She was defiantly holding her tired and fussy grandson whose nose desperately needed to be wiped. She was seething and in a voice loud enough for everyone seated at the bar and immediate area to hear hissed at me, “When I called this restaurant I asked if it was okay to bring children. They told me I could. You have … well, you need to think about where YOU are!”

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The first thought in my head: I AM IN A BAR.  Why is this crazy lady holding a baby (in a bar!) confronting me. Why is she implying that I am out of line?”

I was almost speechless. Almost.  Then, her chastising complete, she turned on her heel holding her grandson triumphantly. And that’s when it happened.

Every meal I’ve ever had interrupted by someone’s over-tired, loudly whining child, every romantic evening trashed because parents put their own convenience ahead of the consideration of others, visions of every Momzilla, Dadzilla, Gramzilla who gave their children permission to have the run of non-kid places came bubbling up inside me.

“F@#$ YOU!” I said in the same tone she used on me.  And then I raised my hand and flipped off the entire table of inconsiderate adults. Their inability to consider how their children might be affecting others was their way of saying F@#$ you to those of us in the bar. It just seemed the right thing to do.

The adults managed to contain the children in their dining area while we finished our meal.

P.S. I promise I didn’t swear the rest of the weekend and I won’t ever do anything that crass again, but dang it felt good.

 

41 Responses

  1. peesticksandstones

    February 25, 2008 1:20 am

    Yikes! What a story. You are totally my hero for saying something — I would’ve sat there quietly wimpering to myself, letting the anger seething inside me ruin in my whole weekend.

    It’s funny, I grew up an only child and recall having to sit and be quiet and behave myself in restaurants as a kid. To act like an adult. But it seems like these days, the kids are the boss and god forbid you refuse to smile along with the worshipful parents.

    Anyway, happy anniversary! Hope you had a great time regardless. I would LOVE to lose myself in a Calistoga mud bath with a bottle of wine right now!

  2. luna

    February 25, 2008 5:09 am

    oh, I’m so sorry your anniv. celebration was compromised by such selfish ignorant people. good for you for speaking your mind. I only hope you felt better after and it didn’t ruin your whole evening.

    amazing that people think it’s ok to let their kids run wild and disturb everyone (I suppose gramz figured that permission meant it was ok to use the bar as their personal playground). ugh.

    hope you enjoyed the wine and food and view regardless. ~luna

  3. Bea

    February 25, 2008 11:43 am

    Hehe – you’re about to get some interesting comments, I can tell. But fair cop – you were seated in a licensed area and you did have a right to expect that everyone within your immediate vicinity was over 21. In the restaurant area – well, we could debate appropriate behaviour for hours. But you were in the bar. The bar!

    Anyway. Will be interested to hear what people have to say.

    Bea

  4. loribeth

    February 25, 2008 1:36 pm

    (standing & applauding) Bravo, PJ — I only wish I had half your cojones. And I hope you managed to enjoy the rest of your anniversary weekend.

    I suppose some people (parents) would accuse us of sour grapes, etc…. I know children are bound to to act up… but that’s the whole point, isn’t it?? I know hindsight is 20-20, etc., but I really like to think that, had I been fortunate enough to be a parent, I (a) would not have brought my children to inappropriate places & (b) would remove them promptly when they acted up in public.

  5. Ellen K

    February 25, 2008 2:27 pm

    Hey — good for you for saying something at first, although the second part was a bit crass. ; ) The bar is not an appropriate place for children to be seated, let alone running around. Yet I have noticed a tendency in D.’s relatives, when we’re at a family gathering at a local small-town tavern/restaurant, to let their kids run wild in the bar area, as though more floor space equals play space.

  6. shinejil

    February 25, 2008 2:49 pm

    Your response was completely appropriate! You know, as I recall, most fine dining restaurants in countries like Germany don’t allow children. I never got that, until this post. Some places are adult places, period. Kids don’t like them, and adults go to them to have a quiet moment together.

    And just because the restaurant doesn’t ban children outright doesn’t mean you can set up a daycare center in the bar. I mean, a mature 12 yo young lady is not the same as a trio of badly supervised toddlers. Why did their family think it was okay to put them through that? Especially if the little boy was sneezing, coughing, etc.? Crazy. F them indeed.

  7. Portia P

    February 25, 2008 3:46 pm

    Go girl!! I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to say anything, but why should badly behaved children ruin your time in a BAR!

    If you’d gone somewhere like a children’s playground then fine, they can run amok. A bar is an adult environment. Children allowed if they can behave!

    BTW – I tagged you on my blog the other day. No need to play if you don’t want to. I love being tagged, but know not everyone does.

    ps: loved your post and the gorgeous black and white pic about your DH the other day x

  8. Deathstar

    February 25, 2008 5:21 pm

    HOLY COW! Good for you! I am actually proud of you, I’m so proud of you I’m actually making your a honorary Canadian. Well, if you were Canadian, you would have pulled grandma’s sweater of her head and punched her, but good on you anyway!

    My husband and I have noticed increasingly over the years how parents drag their kids EVERYWHERE with them, bars and casino parking lots included. Not only is letting your kids run rampant inconsiderate of other people who are trying to enjoy a peaceful night out, it’s dangerous for the children who are at risk having hot coffee spilled on them or adults unwittingly knocking them over. We knew a couple who brought their young kid everywhere with them, even adult oriented parties where people just want to drink and talk without censoring themselves. Hence, they found themselves subtly not invited to certain group events. Dear grandma should have sacrificed her evening out to watch the kids (like they used to once upon a time) or heaven forbid take up a collection for a babysitter. I vow that I will never drag my future child to a non-family restaurant and/or bar.

  9. Gabrielle

    February 25, 2008 5:37 pm

    Now I can only hope our paths cross in real life because I want to buy you an enormously large drink which I will toast to you for doing what I have always wanted to do.

    I am so sorry that your meal was interrupted but thrilled that you re-appropriated grown up space for grown ups.

  10. Anonymous

    February 25, 2008 5:45 pm

    Bravo PJ! I think these parents are doing a great disservice to their kids by not being considerate of the kids’ needs – if it’s not a reasonable expectation for the kids to behave appropriately, why subject them to this experience? Get a babysitter or one parent takes them out for a drive after the meal or something. “kids will be kids” but some venues just aren’t set up for kids to expend their energy.

    I think you covered the inconsiderateness towards other patrons, not to mention the establishment, very well.

    And they say that CF are the selfish ones?

    (disclaimer – I am an IF veteran but do have kids)
    If DH and I had arranged a babysitter to go out for a lovely, romantic, adult evening, I’d have been po’d about this too. I don’t think it’s so much a CF thing as expectations of what is suitable. Unfortunately society’s norms seem to encourage “monster children” behaviour more and more. When & why did this permissiveness start, I wonder? It does no favours to anyone, especially not the kids.

    Andie

  11. Chrissy

    February 25, 2008 11:19 pm

    What the hell ever happened to common sense??? We had a similar situation while on vacation, the kids were running in and out (the place offered out door seating) and finally one of them got their fingers pinched in the doors. Only then did the mom even glance to see why the kid was squealing. I have 3 kids and if they were with us, they were expected to have MANNERS that WE taught them…yeah I know, imagine that…parents teaching their children acceptable behavior.

    Oh and your fu@k you cracked me up. Let them explain that one to the kids.

  12. Babychaser

    February 25, 2008 11:29 pm

    Please tell me you felt better after that. I could see myself eventually doing something like that, then inwardly raging and seething and being mortified the rest of the night.

    So I’m telling myself that you not only told granny to f@#k of, but you then had several more self-righteous cocktails and laughed your ass off at her the rest of the evening.

    Thats my story, anyway. 🙂

  13. LJ

    February 26, 2008 1:54 am

    You are my hero. That is just awesome.

    I actually would have chickened out and complained to the management.

  14. foreverhopeful

    February 26, 2008 5:02 am

    Good for you for standing up to them. Someone needs to tell those parents to be more considerate of others and to control their children. Sorry you had to go through that and hope you were able to still enjoy the rest of your time with DH.

  15. Rachel

    February 26, 2008 5:28 am

    LMAO!!! You. Go. Girl. That was so the right thing to do, I don’t care how crass it was… why do the self-righteous, stupid, insensitive prigs and a**holes get to breed… why God, why, why, why?!?!?!?!?! P.S., I have yet to see a child where we’re going soon… ynuck, ynuck!

  16. Sunny

    February 26, 2008 12:25 pm

    YOU GO GIRL! I am so proud of you! I had to share this on my blog. You made me smile ever so big. The next time I am surrounded by brat kids with people who brought them but ignore them, I will think of you and wish I had your guts! YOU ROCK!!!!

  17. TeamWinks

    February 26, 2008 1:33 pm

    I don’t care if you were in a bar or not in a bar. Parents, grandparents, and guardians need to remember their manners. They also need to remember their children’s limits. Poor parenting (which they obviously were displaying at that moment) hurts not only the parents, the other patrons, but the children as well.

    I probably would have complained to the management, even if I had my own child sitting next to me. It’s just a matter of principle.

  18. beagle

    February 26, 2008 7:08 pm

    With a grandmother like that, no wonder the kids have no manners.

    I would never have had the nerve. That’s why I’m headed for an n. breakdown.

    Bravo for not letting it ruin your evening!

  19. Courtney

    February 26, 2008 9:28 pm

    Well, I have to say that you gave me a laugh on that story. Not that the situation was a good one, but b/c I was so happy at the thought of you sticking it to that group. As much as I want a child, I get so aggravated (even at my own sister) when parents let their children run around a resturant/store that is clearly NOT Chuck-E-Cheese! Grr…
    But, happy anniversary. Hopefully this one will be the last one to deal with that kind of situation in.

  20. Sara

    February 26, 2008 9:54 pm

    YOU ROCK! Let me bask in your glory! You have done what I wish I had the guts to do so many times- yet I have just sat back and tried to control myself and keep my dh from saying or doing something that will get us banned from the establishment for life. But now- I say sometimes it needs to be done…Parents, Grandparents, Guardians they need to remember where they are and make their children behave- like someone else commented- I am also an only child- I would never have gotten away with any of that behavior-EVER I would have gotten spanked while still in the establishment and then taking to the car while the adults that I was with would have been apologizing to everyone trying to enjoy their evening for me having ruined it. Parents today are too afraid of what everyone around them are thinking- stop it and discipline the screaming annoying little monster- get a babysitter for gods sake- I was a nanny- that is what we got paid for- it doesn’t make you a bad parent- taking a screaming ill-behaved child to an adult establishment and letting them run wild- that is what makes you a bad parent- BRAVO to you PJ- you deserve a complimentary bottle of wine and dinner!!!

  21. Liana

    February 27, 2008 3:40 am

    I might have to make you an honorary sista for that one!

    But if you gonna rock the “oh no you di’int” you must learn part two, “First of all…” said with finger pointing as you begin to read that silly beotch!

  22. chicklet

    February 27, 2008 3:51 pm

    Nicely done – woohoo! Take THAT bitches! (Stupid bitches to be clear… in a bar… with kids… aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!)

  23. Bean

    February 28, 2008 8:18 pm

    Great post, and kudos to you. I actually have a 5 year old, who is stubborn, not at all shy, LOVES to talk to anyone who will give her the time of day, and I’m sure on many occasions has been the one annoying innocent people just out for a quiet dinner, or quiet cup of coffee, or quiet browse through the book store, etc. I truly try my best to rein her in, but sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I’m just not successful. But still I do try and I’ll try harder having read your post. Also, even though I have a kid, thoughtless parental behavior such as you described makes me angry too, so I think what you did was AWESOME! Thanks for sharing a story and I hope the rest of your weekend was more relaxing.

  24. JJ

    February 29, 2008 3:23 pm

    I am sitting in my chair right now giving you the arsenio hall “whoop, whoop, whoop!” YOU GO girl! How inappropriate of them-and the NERVE of her to come over to you. Great story-but sorry you had to go through that on a celebratory weekend–hope you got to smile thinking of your triumphant moment the rest of the weekend!

  25. Freyja

    March 5, 2008 3:01 am

    That is so fabulous! You are my hero!!! (And for the record, this has NOTHING to do with infertility – this has to do with people who don’t recognize that their laziness in disciplining their children impedes others’ ability to enjoy a nice meal!)

  26. Ann

    April 2, 2008 6:06 pm

    This post absolutely cracked me up! Good for you. I’m not sure I would have had the guts the guts to tell her off like that, but you go girl! I probably would have just been staring daggers the whole time without saying anything.
    I have a couple of little hellions (5 and almost 3 & 1/2) and it would bother me just as much if I was in a bar and kids that age were running around. Personally, I don’t take mine out to eat unless it’s someplace noisy and even then I try to keep them under control and would NEVER just let them run around. When my husband and I want to go out to eat at a nicer restaurant, I get a babysitter. That’s what they are for. If I can’t find a babysitter, then we stay home.

  27. Eve

    June 10, 2008 3:32 pm

    Golly, it must have been that same exact family that sat right by my husband and me when we went to a nice white-tablecloth French restaurant to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary! The only difference is, while the girls were running around in their tap shoes, the mom calmly placed the baby on the table and proceeded to change a diaper. We probably would have complained to the manager — I’m sure this is a violation of health code — but he appeared to be a personal friend of this ill-mannered family. Yeeessh.

  28. AmyinMotown

    June 15, 2008 9:04 pm

    OH MY GOD. I am also an infertility veteran who has kids, and we don’t get out much for THIS EXACT REASON –kids are kids and cannot be counted on to behave in public (which is the argument people who pull this BS use to defend themselves), and thus there are places THEY DON”T belong.

    And “yes, you can bring children” doesn’t mean “and let them run around like maniacs.” I have a 3 yo who has trouble sitting still for any length of time, so we take her outside and let her run around, let her walk around a less populated area of the restaurant with one of us, and sometimes just turn down invites if we can sense disaster. It’s the height of rude to just let your kid run around unattended. HUGE pet peeve. You were in the right–it’s not like you were at the zoo.

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