Wow. This is quite an amazing story, and it throws up so many questions that I’m not really sure where to start!
Here’s the essence of the story:
A couple are out for the evening having a meal. Let’s call them Man and Woman A. Their evening is being interrupted by a bleating small person on the next table, with Man and Woman B, and Man C.
Man A approaches the other table after listening to crying for half an hour, and suggests that perhaps the child is tired and wants to go home. It seems he got a rude rebuff from the woman, and the two men with her suggested they take it outside. How ridiculous! I can just imagine them puffing their chests out and strutting about!
They were seemingly quite offensive, as restaurant staff escorted them from the restaurant. Poor old Mr A thought that was the end of the matter and continued with his meal, only for Man B to come back in and smash his bottle of wine over his head! Man B is now spending a couple of years at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.
It seems to me that Man A has been really unlucky here, aside from the obvious hole in his head! He didn’t accuse them of poor parenting, but put his point in such a way that the family had a clear, dignified exit strategy, which they chose to ignore. How hard would it have been to say, “Yes, the baby’s probably tired, we’re just leaving now.”
There are several things here that I have an issue with. I understand that grown-ups still have the right to go out once they have children, but like most things, there is surely a time and a place. Is 10pm really an appropriate time for little people to be out? I’d say probably not. Babies need an awful lot more sleep than most grown-ups, so they need to start early to get the hours in.
Aside from the parents’ rights, don’t non-parents have the right not to be subjected to other people’s grizzling babies?
That takes me to my next point – shouldn’t non-parents be able to choose a nice place to eat, knowing there won’t be any little people there? I know Mummy and Daddy love me very much, but sometimes, they want to go out and be themselves, without kids, for a couple of hours. And they’d be mortified if they even thought people were looking at us and talking, let alone if someone approached the table to pass comment!
There are places that are child-friendly, and they are to be commended. I love going to them, and Mummy and Daddy like taking me. It’s important to teach me how to behave in public. When other people are eating, it’s not all about me. I can’t get up and run around, I can’t draw on the walls, and I can’t sit and scream. They could take me somewhere like Brewsters for that, but Mummy and Daddy have vowed never to darken their door (they’re too scared!)
But, a restaurant on a Saturday night is less likely to be child-friendly. I think that’s perfectly reasonable. If you’re eating out with your children, make an early reservation.