Wednesday, August 18, 2010

BQOTD: Restaurant Wars

 Last night, we went to dinner at Outback with my parents. Lizzy was way overdue for a nap, and I thought for sure she'd fall asleep in the car, but she didn't. Once we were seated, she started whining a bit. Not screaming or even really crying, but she'd let out a vocal whine/protest every couple minutes or so as I swaddled her arms up and tried to rock her to sleep. I was able to shush her pretty quickly each time she made any noise, so I didn't think much of it, especially since I tend to think of places like Outback as being pretty kid-friendly.

I usually try to be really conscientious of other patrons whenever I go out with Lizzy, and take her outside if she gets loud or if I feel like she is interfering with the experience of other patrons (not necessarily on the first peep though). I really {honestly} didn't think that Lizzy's few whines had risen to the point to take her outside. Until the couple next to us asked to be moved to a different booth.

Then, I felt terrible. Because like I said, I really do try to take Lizzy out if I feel that she is disturbing anyone else. Justin assured me that she really wasn't being loud, but I still felt badly.

So today, my question is two-fold:

1. When you're out and about (say at a restaurant) and encounter a whiny kid or a kid making noise, how do you respond? Does it not bother you at all, or do you ask to be moved?

2. If you're a mom, at what point do you remove your kids from the situation--at the first peep of noise, or at the first signs of impending meltdown?


  1. That is messed up- I can't believe they asked to be moved.

    1- When I am out and hear a kid making noise I honestly almost always think it is cute. I do NOT think it is cute though when the noise reaches the screaming/temper tantrum level. I understand that kids do that and am not upset at all with the kid- I get upset when the parents ignore the screaming and don't consider the people around them. It doesn't sound like you are in that camp at all.

  2. We don't have our own children yet, but both my hubby and I LOVE children! We usually smile or giggle a little but it doesn't bother us really. The only time I remember being slightly annoyed was when a [young] mom brought her [I can only assume] newborn child to an adult movie and it screamed on several occasions. It is something I definitely expect to a certain level at most restaurants...what a prude! :(

  3. That's silly. When I'm next to a loud kid, it kind of depends on their age. For babies, I generally don't care at all but am grateful when the parents eventually excuse themselves if the baby is screaming, but a little fussing doesn't bother me. For toddlers and older, I expect the parents to keep their kids in line in the restauarant.

    With Tommy, we are pretty conscientous of other people's meals. We take him outside if he screams, and try to calm him quickly with a little fussing. It's hard though.

  4. I didn't really understand until my sister had kids & we used to be sitting at the table and one of them would scream/cry/whine. I think you have to have a kid/family member in that situation to really be understanding. It doesn't bother me at all now, because I know that the mother/family isn't blatantly ignoring the kid. And from the way it sounds, Lizzy wasn't really bothering anyone.

  5. That would was just being difficult. You handled it perfectly! We had someone move away from us last week at a pizza restaurant. My kids were being good, but they saw there were kids there and asked to be seated farther down the line. I was so annoyed just at that!

    1. I don't ask to be moved. I do probably talk under my breath about the family if they let the kids get too loud though! When parents let their kids sit at the table screaming, I am always confused. Who is that enjoyable for? A little wimpering though, and then asleep in a few minutes is surely not a bother.

    2. I take them out at the earliest sign of a peep. I really don't like to be embarrassed, or get hairy eyeballs from other people. If it is a loud restaurant, I might have a bit more tolerance, but for the most part we make a quick exit. I have rocked all my babies to sleep in a restaurant at one point or another - and certainly would have done that in an Outback, if there was no screaming.

    We are very lucky that our kids have been going to restaurants since they were young and behave very well. They know it is a special treat and love to just enjoy the event, assuming we haven't pushed them too far without a nap, or made them wait too long without food.

  6. 1. Pre-baby it probably used to bother me slightly. NOW? I just look at them and think "OH DEAR GOD I KNOW THE FEELING" and feel utterly bad and sad for them and offer them the "i understand glance".

    2.I am OVERLY courteous about her being crying/whiny in a restaurant. Honestly? My biggest fear are FLIP OUT Sessions in public places. I know it happens...I know they're babies...but sadly, I feel SO judged when it happens. I literally just bolt for the door, or wherever. I hear that with your next kid it gets easier...

    I get a little anxiety everytime we go somewhere "quiet" and ultimately now, we pick the loud retaurants, if any. haha.

  7. Wow, I can't believe they asked to be moved.

    When I am out and hear a child making noise, I immediately feel for the parents. I know how hard it can be to take Brayden out to a restaurant or event that isn't generally in our day to day. I mean, I can be flexible, but its hard for kids to get out of their routines sometimes, and boy do they show it.

    I also believe there are certain places that little kids should not be: visitations, funerals (unless its super immediate family), movie theaters, etc. Most of time time, I feel for the parents.

    I would never ask to be moved because kids are kids- unpredictable! But I don't want the parents to ignore what is going on either.

  8. Oh my....some people just have no patience for children! I take mine to a salon for cuts (3 of them) b/c their auntie does all of us. We're only in for a bit over a 1/2 hr, but one day someone complained. They talk a bit louder, but were not being unruly or cranky....etc. I remove my kids from a situation where others are involved when they're starting to melt down. Seriously....some people! You should not feel matter where you go there'll be someone who needs to complain about just happened to be it that night...I'm sure they were looking for some kind of drama for their evening! Just my opinion.....I've always been a lover of children & known that they're bound to make noise!

  9. I hate it when people do things like that. They have to understand a kid is a kid, and that will happen from time to time. As a mom, I am always understanding of that. Even if there is a child that is screaming their head off, yes it can be a little annoying, but I would never say/do anything because I know, that could be me. I think it's usually people without kids or people who plain just don't like kids that are going to be the ones who move or say anything.

    With our kids, I will take them out if they reach a point where they are being too loud like to the point people's heads are turning! We have made several trips back to the van and let them know we mean business! We have had several different complete opposite reactions to our kids. One time at a truck stop, this older lady literally yelled at us saying "shut your kids up!" and they weren't even being bad! I complained to the manager about her saying she was disrespectful and inappropriate. (And I also yelled back saying she can find a different place to sit if it bothers her, not one of my finest moments.) Yet another time literally a week later at an Olive Garden our boys were being a a little rowdy and the couple next to us thought it was great and laughed, even thanked us for the entertainment! ha I think it all depends on the people.

    Bottom line: You do what you think is best, and don't let the gawkers get to you. It is hard.

  10. 1. Mostly, kids out don't bother me. I agree with one of the other commenters that there are places where children shouldn't be, but for the most part, when I'm out they don't bother me. Of course, I'm young and have my own child, so I think that colors my perspective.

    2. I do try to make sure I don't let Colton disrupt other people when we're out. Recently though, we were eating out with friends, and he had an epic spit-up all over himself and his carseat. He was MAD, but I was overwhelmed with cleaning him and the seat, and didn't take him out, which I should have until he calmed down.

    No one has asked to be moved when they see us, which is nice, but I'm not sure I would be offended if they did. While it seems like most people I've seen think he's cute and want to see him and make a nice comment, some people are not into kids. I'd rather them move away from me than have a miserable night. But, if it happened, I think I would feel like they didn't think I was a good mother.

  11. Disclaimer: We don't have children yet.
    1- There are definitely some places infants should not be (ie movie theaters), however, Outback is certainly not one of those places. I taught preschool for 5 years so children don't bother me like they may bother others. When it does become disruptive is when it's obvious that the parents are not concerned with their child being in distress. But mostly the adults are talking, shouldn't the babes be allowed to do the same thing? And if it is bothering someone, I believe it is their responsibility to move. Most certainly not yours!!!

    So sorry this happened to you, but I don't think it is the majority of restaurant patrons to be so rude!

  12. Now that I have children, I'm much more tolerant of other children and babies in restaurants.
    It's one thing when a baby lets out a fuss/whine every once in awhile but it's another when a toddler is being obnoxious and the parents aren't doing anything. Big difference! Don't worry about it- it sounds like Lizzy was being a normal baby.
    I get why you feel bad- sometimes I feel bad when Cameron is getting loud and doesn't want to sit any longer. We do our best to re direct attention, or take him outside till the food comes.

  13. I'm not understanding how these people were wrong in anyway. I'm sorry that your feelings were hurt in the matter, but sometimes people just do not want to sit near children.

    I do not have children of my own, but I am very close with all my little nieces and nephews (one with autism, ages 1 to 5). I know kids will be kids. I'm usually pretty patient and understanding when out around groups of people with small children.

    It only really bothers me if the child is unreasonably loud, or invading my personal space (I've experiences children leaning over the booth, screaming in my ear, touching my purse, banging on the back of the chair). As long as the parent is trying to quell the child's outburst, I tend to empathize with them. However, all too often, these incidents are ignored and the child's behavior continues. Perhaps the customers just wanted to avoid any discomfort by switching seats from the start.

  14. As long as it is not a total screaming meltdown I usually either feel bad for the kid or bad for the parents. I mean if there was a kid crying for the entire hour I was out to dinner, I'd be peeved, but even a 5-10 minute whine fest is bound to happen every once in awhile. I would never ask to be moved.

    If Ryann is really fussy I do everything in my power to shush her, and if nothing is working we hurry up whatever we are doing and head out. I definitely don't let her completely meltdown before we step out, but I try and keep her as happy as humanly possible. As most parents do I'm sure.

  15. I think it depends on the place and surroundings.

    I am not shy about moving/asking to be moved if parents don't calm kids or if it gets to loud for my taste. Outback has a high probability of kids, so I wouldn't go there expecting a tranquil dinner.

    I don't expect parents to leave every time Child has a moment, but I have the right to change the situation too.

  16. Oh my gosh, are you serious?? People are ridiculous. I calm Isaac or take him outside if he's upset, but if he's just happily jammering away, even if it's loud, I let him be.

  17. umm that's ridiculous. I think the way you were handling is just fine! The only time I would EVER ask to be moved would be if the child was throwing a temper tantrum or screaming loudly or loudly misbehaving AND the parents were doing nothing. The only time I ever remember getting annoyed was with a couple sitting right in front of us on an airplane and their kid spent nearly the entire plane ride screaming and throwing cheerios and bananas over the back of the seat... You better believe I was ready to blast those parents, they just ignored him and slept/read their books the entire time!

  18. wow...they obviously have no children!

    I can understand if she was throwing an all out tantrum or shreaking at the top of her lungs but a little whining is nothing.

    For us, Noah's usually pretty good. I shush him best I can. I can tell when he's starting to escalate and will take him outside to the car or something.

    I know that when we're next to a cranky baby I'm empathetic to the mom to a certain point. Whining and complaining is fine - out all bawling for a prolonged pd is not.

  19. Babies cry. People need to get over it. People who don't get that freak me out. Are they human? Do they have souls?

    That is all. Don't feel bad girl.

    And maybe they didn't move because of you. At least that's what I'd tell myself.

  20. First of all, I think everyone would agree that if you have kids or have been around kids you build up a certain tolerance to whining. That said, if a kid is having a full out meltdown in ANY public place, everyone is looking at the parents knowing they should be removed. I will, however, argue this: we live in a state where smoking in restaurants is still allowed (an the whole smoking/non smoking side of the restaurant is total bs because you can smell it no matter what) and if someone has the audacity to smoke a pack of cigarettes while I try and enjoy a meal...I will gladly let my daughter cry/scream/pee/poop all over their I guess if people want to enjoy their freedom to do what they please, than Lizzy can do what she pleases!!!

  21. I don't have children yet.

    When my husband and I go out for dinner at a place like Red Robin or an inexpensive restaurant, if there are kids there it really doesn't bother me if they're being loud.

    However, if we are at a nicer place paying more money for a nice experience and good food, I would ask to be moved. I don't see it as being rude to the family with the kids, but simply to ensure that we'll have a nice experience as a couple without kids.

    And I have asked to be moved after sitting near a family with an elderly man that had trouble eating. I am incredibly squeemish and asked to move so that I could actually eat the food I had ordered. But, that's just me.

    I think that as long as the parents manage the child's noise level and don't take a loud kid to a fancy restaurant, it really shouldn't be an issue.

  22. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Yeah, some people have trouble understanding that children are children and prone to squawk, but some other people have trouble understanding that some of us don't much care for them in general. Like some people don't like dogs. Perhaps we're genetic failures. There's a word for this in German, "Kinderfeindlichkeit," which literally means hostility towards children. (German has all sorts of awesome words.) Anyway, we all have different thresholds. I don't feel like you needed to rush outside because Lizzy was being a little rambunctious. On the other hand, I don't think there's much wrong in those people wanting to move, either. As long as they didn't sneer at you or something. Hell, maybe they're just like me and wanted the freedom to swear guilt-free, without children hearing them.

  23. You know, now that I think about it, every time I've been in Outback Steakhouse it was so fucking loud from background noise I'm surprised they could even hear Lizzy at all. Perhaps they were autistic and thus gifted with superhuman hearing.

  24. I'm not a parent so I'm only commenting as a patron here. :)

    it totally depends on the child's age to me. if it's a baby or a toddler who can't exactly express his/her complaints in any other way but fussing or crying, then I don't really care. a baby is going to be a baby, and there's no way to tell what's wrong, whether it's hunger or needing sleep.

    on the other hand, if the child is old enough to understand that whining and being loud in a restaurant is unacceptable behavior, and they STILL throw tantrums, I get pissed... mostly at the parents for allowing their children to act that way in public.

    honestly, I'm that really annoying patron who wants to stare and gawk at babies when I see them in restaurants/the mall/gas stations/anywhere. I want to talk to the parents and find out how old he/she is and tell them how cute their kid is. I want to hold them and cuddle them. I guess it's the baby fever.


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