As I've noted before, I have never been enthralled with children. I used to hate going out to dinner to have kids screaming at the table next to me. Or to be in a dressing room and have little Jimmy crawl into my room or look under the door. Or be at a book store and have kids running up and down the aisle. Ick.
I was assured, when I would roll my eyes when kids were misbehaving in public, that once I had children of my own I would understand.
I have children of my own.
I do not understand.
We were shopping- not something we do often as shopping is one of my least favorite activities (with the exception of book stores and Williams-Sonoma)- Wednesday night. We stopped at Kohl's. It was late. The kids were nuts. After the initial "KNOCK IT OFF" didn't work, I pulled them into an aisle, looked them both in the eyes and said "Stop it now. Period. This is ridiculous. You know better. I will not allow you to act like this." I think the smoke coming out of my ears emphasized this point. They both apologized and were completely fine.
Last night we went out to dinner to celebrate the end of the year and my son's straight A's. Skip picked Sage Sushi, his favorite restaurant. While it's not high class, it is not Chuck E. Cheese. They do a decent bar business, people were drinking sake, watching the NBA finals- it's not a kid's restaurant. Any time a restaurant doesn't have high chairs, I know they mean business. For this reason, my kids know if they want to go to places like this they have to behave.
Apparently, no one told the other family in the restaurant. They had 3 kids, 2 under the cage of 5- probably 3 and 4.
While they sat there and chatted their kids terrorized the restaurant.
The jumped in booths- including the one behind us, banging into us.
They took the chopsticks off other tables, opened them, threw the wrappers and had sword fights.
They crawled ACROSS TABLES.
And the parents just sat there.
We go to Sage quite a bit so we know the wait staff. Our waitress is also a part-time nanny. We know this because she complimented us on our kids about a year ago. We thanked her, thinking she was sucking up for a tip. She explained that no, she knows kids really well as her real job is as a nanny, and she really thought Skip and Zoe were great. Of course, she got a big tip.
Last night, she could barely focus. We could hardly hear her. I almost spit out my water when she actually said "I'm sorry, I can't hear you because of those damn kids." This woman is normally sweet and like a very nice auntie. She was pissed.
After about 10 minutes, as my seat kept bouncing up and down courtesy of the demon children, I understood. I should point out, they weren't seated in the booth next to us-- their family was at a different table.
Oh. My. Goodness.
The mom kept saying things like "Stop that. You need to sit down. Come back here. I'm getting mad."
Never once was there a consequence. Never once did either parent physically move.
We noticed our waitress disappeared. The other woman started to fill in.
The other patrons, not just us, were noticeably annoyed at the screaming, running banshees.
My daughter Zoe even said "Those little kids are not behaving."
Then our waitress reappeared after about 20 minutes. She also had been waiting on the Satan Family and it had become a bit much. She was pretty polite, explaining she had brought them the wrong roll because she couldn't hear over the children.
But then the best thing happened....
She lost it.
She finally looked at the Demonic Duo and said, fairly harshly:
"You boys need to sit down. NOW. I will not bring you your ice cream until you sit in your seats."
They boys looked stunned.
"I mean it. Sit down. I don't care if your parents bought the ice cream, I won't bring it to you until you SIT DOWN."
You could have heard a pin drop.
I was afraid the parents were going to say something. They didn't. They sat there looking sheepish.
The kids sat down.
They ate their ice cream.
I was stunned. Stunned that she had the nerve to say something. Stunned that the parents didn't mouth back at her. Stunned that the evil children listened.
She is clearly not just a good waitress but a pretty kick butt nanny as well.
But the sad part, once they were done with the ice cream, they went back to running around the restaurant.
Even AFTER the waitress got pissed, the parents still did nothing. NOTHING.
I don't understand. If they can't control them now, what is going to happen when they are teenagers? The kids clearly had no respect for the parents whatsoever. I'm sure the parents thought they were "cool."
Helloooo--you're not being cool by letting your children run the show. You're being lazy.
And they didn't offer to clean up the mess their kids were making, either. The chopsticks all over the place. The wrappers were everywhere. I am not exaggerating.
So no, now that I have kids, I don't understand. I don't understand at all.
Put on your big boy and big girl pants and be a parent.
And while you're at it, tell your kids to SHUT UP AND SIT DOWN.