Five years ago, I figuratively trembled at the thought of three infants at a restaurant with just two adults. My friend's twins were born two weeks before my eldest. Her attitude was that the babies were not going to slow her activities. I wasn't so sure about that, but she seemed confident. I only had one. I could do this, too.
Obviously, when the children were infants, we couldn't enforce certain polite behavior in restaurants. Yet, as the children grew older, we demanded proper behavior of these children. They are now efficient (her boys more so than my girls) at ordering for themselves and behave wonderfully, even if I say so with immense pride.
This evening, we sat near a mother, her two children ages 8 and 10, and a grandfather. Those two children made more noise than our five children combined, and one of mine is just four months shy of two years. I could see my friend's annoyance from my end of the table.
At another restaurant, I watched two three year old boys stand in their chairs during the entire dinner, eating that way. Standing. As a mother, I'm sure that beams of burning light were emitted from my eyes as my children, nicely seated, stared at these two Neanderthals in training. (Some of you may laugh at this as you know that my son sits on our kitchen bar while he eats. He has a legitimate reason: he fell out of the tall bar stools and still harbors fear from that fall. However, I doubt that standing in chairs to eat is the result of a sitting accident. More likely, it is lazy parenting.)
Don't I sound judgmental? Terms such as lazy parent bring all sorts of images to mind. My neighbor called herself a lazy parent just this weekend. However, she wasn't really being lazy. A woman who volunteers to negotiate a table of three five year olds, two three year olds, and two two year olds is not a lazy parent.
Now that I have rambled a bit far from the original bad behavior of others' children, I would ask questions of you.
- Do you get annoyed when children misbehave at restaurants?
- Do you ask to be seated far from the little beasties?
- Do beams of burning light emit from your eyes towards the parents?