so, there is a big old discussion about kids in restaurants happening again.
this time it is the parents of a 3 month old versus a wine bar ( i am not using names because ultimately it does not matter – the article is in the ottawa citizen if anyone wants the details).
this is a topic that comes up often enough, rousing arguments about the rights of babies, their parents and the restauranteurs.
i have conflicting views on the subject. i have been both the childladen and childfree diner in good and bad situations.
i have 3 kids, it is inevitable that we will need to eat.
sometimes we are not the ones to dictate location or time.
and when we travel, restaurant meals at “adult times” are sometimes unavoidable.
as a rule, i have always brought the baby with me if they were under 8 months old and i was breastfeeding. over 8 months old…i have left them at home in the care of their dad or babysitter or i have not gone.
i have missed more dinners out that you can imagine, especially with this last child.
i have left restaurants with meals unfinished with cranky toddlers.
i refused to eat out between the ages of 2 and 4 with one child (the girl child, for the record ) simply because we KNEW it would end badly. every time.
and as we speak, we debate meals out now with the baby…for at 22 months, he has been known to launch cutlery across dining rooms. we can not, in good faith, put other diners at risk;).
however, many of you have actually been out with my kids for dinners…we rarely have disasters.
because we recognize the limitations of our kids and respect the right of other diners.
i get that we may be sitting next to a couple who are out for the first night since their colicky child was born and that the last thing they need to hear is someone else’s child crying. i reeeeaaaalllllyyy get that. trust me. then again, we may be sitting next to baby haters. and that is okay as well.
i also remember sitting in a restaurant, after my third miscarriage, heartbroken and watching the parents of an infant coo over their newest one. the baby did not make a peep. and i did not eat a bite.
my issue not their’s…but reminds me that you never know what people are reacting too.
it come down to respect.
the owner of the restaurant in this case likely approached these client the wrong way. perhaps she could have used a little more tact?
bringing the breastfeeding into it? big mistake, BIG MISTAKE. she has just guaranteed herself ages of bad press in the LLL and attachment parenting circles. which, if she was not completely aware, make up a large part of the community she just set up shop in.
and the parents in question…well, if they are going forward in the media and with the human rights complaint with this purely over the breastfeeding issue, then fine. but if it is to simply vent? because they are mad at being denied a restaurant reservation? it certainly is a lot of drama.
and that is where the arguments get frustrating. it will turn into a happy hipster vs self absorbed parent debate and then drown in verbal rhetoric. it is already happening. and the tone is one of derision and definitely lacking in respect.
it will be interesting to see what happens…i am betting on “not much”.
all this brings back our most memorable terrible fabulous dining experience in paris last summer.
it was late, we were weary from walking all day, unable to find a family friendly restaurant with space for us and the baby (10 months old at the time, with major food restrictions).
we finally found a relatively upscale spot willing to take us – the owner, a woman laden in jewels and obviously enamored of our little boy set us up nicely. However, the babe was not being…um tidy…and the nice lady’s husband, the maitre d, every time he passed our table, would grab a busboy by the cuff and demand loudly that they clean the crumbs up off the floor from around alex’s highchair.
he was less than thrilled with our presence. and let us know it.
but then his wife would come by and squeeze our “petit cochon americain”, our “leeeeedle peeeg”, cover him in kisses, take him out of the highchair and squeeze him some more. we ate as fast as we could, left a huge tip and tried to get out of there. the husband could not have been happier to see the back end of us;)…
but his wife?
she followed me out of the restaurant (i left before mark), cooing after alex the whole time. i thanked her profusely but then alex reached out his arms to her and she grabbed him from me one last time, surrounding him in her perfume and parisian enthusiasm.
mortifying and wonderful all wrapped in one restaurant:).
it is all in the delivery…
(the link to the original post on flickr about this night is here – http://www.flickr.com/photos/duchesslala/3740415990/in/set-72157607397031173/ )