Progress

You know what kind of blog post I would love to stumble across?

A post about well-behaved children in a restaurant. And I don’t mean 10 and 11 year olds — I mean a post about a mom sitting with her almost 5-year-old and 2.5-year-old, and how very well behaved they were.

I would like this post to be written by a server in said restaurant, or by another patron, one there without children.

The post would extol the behavior of these two girls. It would describe how they sat in the booth, coloring (“What a smart mom, for bringing something for her children to do while they waited for their food,” this poster would write), drinking their lemonades without spilling them (“…and the restaurant did not have plastic kid glasses with lids! Just straws.”). Our observant, uh, observer would note that the children did not run around the restaurant. They did not scream, and when they got a little loud, how the mother leaned in and quietly reprimanded them, asking them to use their “inside voices.” And how well the children responded.

This on-looker would note other remarkable things, such as:

“Even though the wait for food was long, in toddler terms — about a half-hour for vegetable lo-mein and tofu with mixed vegetables — the children did not get out of hand. When the mom, a very striking red head who could not have been more than 32-years-old herself*, noticed her younger daughter getting bored with the coloring book, she pulled out her iPod® Shuffle™. She put one of the ear buds in the child’s ear, and the other in her own (no doubt to make sure the song was suitable listening for a little one).

“Her daughter was instantly fascinated. The older daughter wanted to listen, too, and walked to her mother’s side of the booth without fuss. The mother had her listen for a bit, but the girl was, eventually, more interested in going back to her own seat, and the book she had been ‘reading’ beforehand.

“I believe I overhead the mother tell the younger girl that she was listening to Coldplay’s ‘When I Ruled the World’. How nice to know that parents expose their children to more than toddler tunes or the tinkly sounds of classical music redone for babies.” [Little would this person know that the next song was Rihanna’s “Breaking Dishes”, which caused a little seated booty wriggling.]

And then the observer would exclaim over the fact that the girls ate their dinners with minimum fuss.

“When the food first came to the table, the older daughter balked at what the mom was calling ‘Chinese spaghetti’ (pretty and clever! what a lucky man her husband is). But the mother assured her that she did like it, and put some on her plate, along with rice and some broccoli from the tofu and mixed vegetables. The mom doled out similar amounts to the younger daughter, who also wanted some of that baby corn in the tofu dish. I think the younger daughter actually ate all the baby corn she could find!

“And after sampling some rice, both girls tried their ‘Chinese spaghetti’. The older girl’s eyes lit up. ‘Hey,’ she told her mother, ‘this is good! I love it!’ Both girls proceeded to have two more helpings of the lo-mein, plus rice and vegetables. Being more familiar with kids who won’t eat much more than hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and mac ‘n’ cheese, I was amazed at the adventurous palates of these two cutie pies!”

That’s the kind of thing I would like to see on-line. Instead of people bitching about how their dinner was ruined by rambunctious kids whose parents let them run rampant; instead of servers complaining about clueless and inattentive adults who let their kids get away with the equivalent of (in a busy server’s mind) murder.

But it’s like a-hole protesters or loudmouth, rude celebrities getting media attention. People don’t cover the good news, all the planes that land safely.

Which if you think about it, is encouraging. Maybe the ill-behaved kids are noteworthy but more rare. That way of thinking is probably either hopeful or naive, I know.

This is all a round-about, fanciful way of saying: My children were angels the other night when the three of us went out to dinner. And I hope someone other than me, their ridiculously proud mommy, noticed.

*Hey, it’s a fantasy.

15 thoughts on “Progress

  1. Hopefully our critter can be so well-behaved in restaurants! (Well, he is now, but it’s a lot easier at 7 months.) There is a nice Tapas place in our neighborhood that is one of the places we take him. We usually go early on a Saturday as not to annoy the date-nighters. (Also, we get hungry early. Like old people.) The first time we went we were amazed that a lot of people with older kids had the same idea. This is a fairly upscale place, but it was mostly families. And there were no notable bad seeds. And all the kids were eating tapas!

    • I actually think exposing them to the public and letting them know what you expect (and also applying consequences to their actions) is vital to good behavior down the line. It’s the same thing with food; if you’re matter-of-fact about it, they’re going to eat it. Heck, my two-year-old wanted hummus and carrots for breakfast today. I was like, Okay!

      And: Critter is 7 months old already? What?

      ciao,
      rpm

  2. THANK YOU. My kids- all 4 of them- are incredibly well-behaved in restaurants. But I don’t think I’ve even so much as gotten a comment on it in public. I make a point to stop by and say something good when I see kids being really good.

    • Why, you’re welcome, lady!

      It’s not that we eat out regularly, which is probably true for you too. It’s expected behavior (I think). And some practice.

      ciao!
      rpm

  3. High five, girlies! Awesome!

    We are working on this. Peanut still thinks that everyone at the restaurant is there just for him and he has to tell them all “hi!” and “bye!” really loudly. Yeep!

    • Aw, that’s okay — he’s still learning. Peanut will get there. Believe me, Flora would sit right down with another table and start talking about her day if I let her. Just keep taking him out & be patient. Someday, someone will stop at your table to tell you what a good little boy you have!

      ciao,
      rpm

  4. I think Miss O has been pretty well-behaved in restaurants (helps that she loves to sit and read), and though it’s rare, we have had people make positive comments. Not only is it nice for the parents to hear, it’s also great encouragement for the kid(s) to hear. Miss O was always so proud to be complimented on her nice manners, and the next time she got a little antsy, it only took a quick reminder to bring it all back.

    Good for Monkey and Bun, and yay to you. Because their behavior is definitely due to your hard work. 🙂

    • Thank you very much.

      My girls have never been holy terrors in restaurants, although it’s been close. They have their breaking point, as you might expect. I will still be asking for the check early. No point asking for trouble!

      I did tell them several times what a nice job they were doing. And of course they were rewarded with gumballs (they had those $.25 vending thingies; the girls love those).

      thanks for the comment!

      ciao,
      rpm

  5. That is awesome! Back in July, I was out to lunch with my two girls and my friend and her three boys. We were waiting for our food when a man came up to us and gave us $5 and asked us to give a dollar to each child. We were both shocked. We were stunned. He said he had been on a flight the day before and that he had never seen such horribly-behaved children in one place. He admitted that he was worried when we came in with our brood, but he was so impressed with the kids and their good behavior.

    I think a LOT of people notice when chidlren don’t behave, only a FEW acknowledge when kids are well-behaved. BUt it does happen 🙂

    • A woman once gave each of the girls $1 once at eat’n’park. They were being pretty good, and friendly with the other tables. The woman said the girls reminded her of her granddaughter, which I thought was sweet. (Getting money was a little odd at first.)

      Nice story! Your girls are sweeties. I am trying to picture three well-behaved boys, but then again, I don’t see my nephews in restaurants, where I’m sure they are just fine!

      Thanks for the comment.

      Ciao, rpm

  6. How about this?

    A stunning red-head who looks barely 23 came to visit for the weekend bringing her two daughters. Daughter one is nearly 4 and daughter 2 is 2.5. It was a bold venture for the stunner. Think about it . She took the girls sans their dad, on a fairly long (for them) car-trip to a place where none of them had been before and had no real idea what was in store in terms of things to do, where they would sleep, what it would be like there. And of course there would be the suspense about whether the nearly 2 year old who lives here with her equally stunning mom (who looks barely 25) would be copacetic about sharing her toys.

    The red-head, who got up early enough to finish last minute details, get the children ready for school and day-care, and then go to work herself arrived in fine time and though surely exhausted, managed things beautifully. She got her girls inside and set them up to help their hostess make their own pizzas while she unpacked and had a much-needed beer. When the pizzas were done, the girls sat at the table and ate, like civilized people, not like small children who’d been cooped up in the car for nearly 3 hours.

    Thanks to a patient and clever mom, the stunner got her girls to bed in a new place quite well with no major meltdowns. It’s true they woke earlier than usual the next day but who can blame them when they were staying with such a gorgeous and gifted hostess, right?

    The next day went much the same including when said hostess had the great pleasure of taking the girls on a walk and to the library with her while their mom enjoyed some much needed rest. The girls listened well, played well, were polite and were lots of fun. What a testament to the parents, right? And to their own skills at navigating the world at such a young age.

    It goes on from there, but the major brushstokes have been painted, right?

    And I don’t even work for tips!

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