The Lydster, Part 138: Dining in public with an infant

I have an odd fascination with that story about the mom whose encounter with an angry Maine diner owner went viral.

Without rehashing the whole thing, I was taken by this sentence in the mom’s version: “When the food came, my daughter was still fussing.” After extensive observation, I’ve discovered that parents have very different criteria for what constitutes “fussing,” and moreover, whether to stay or go.

I’ve decided that there are two types of parents of children `who are under two years old: those who don’t think other people would mind a little bit of adorable noise because ADORABLE, and those who are mortified by their child’s disruption. Maybe it’s because we became parents relatively late, but the Wife, and especially I, are most assuredly in the latter category.

The first time The Wife and I decided to go out to dinner after the Daughter was born was when she was six months old, give or take a couple weeks. She had been nursed before we went to a nice Vietnamese restaurant in Albany. She seemed fine in one of those car seat carriers.

Very soon after we were seated, the Daughter began wailing. Maybe it sounded like wailing to us because the stone floor was very echoey, but as it didn’t seem to stop, even as we took turns holding her. We left, leaving an enormous tip for a couple cups of tea.

Seems we went somewhere else to eat – McDonald’s? – and she was cheerful.

I told The Daughter this story about herself fairly recently. She felt badly about it, which was NOT the intent.

We avoided taking a transcontinental trip to Washington state when she was two, because she didn’t travel always well in the car, where we could control the environment. Surely, I didn’t want us to be those parents all the passengers glowered at for hours.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

2 thoughts on “The Lydster, Part 138: Dining in public with an infant”

  1. 1. I once asked my mom what she and my dad did if my brother or I threw a tantrum when we were out in public. She looked puzzled and said that neither of us ever really HAD. (Part of it may have been, they always paid a lot of attention to us, for example, once we were verbal, they played games like “I Spy” with us while we had to wait somewhere)

    2. The other day I was at the grocery and standing in line and someone a couple of checkstands over had two children that were doing that high-pitched screaming thing. It was painful to listen to because of the volume and the frequency of the sound. No one said anything to the children, the parent didn’t try to quiet them. I stuck my fingers in my ears. I realized this was like something a Buddhist monk in a movie I saw once said: “You cannot cover the whole world with soft leather to make walking easy, but you can wear sandals.” However, sticking my fingers in my ears would not work so well if I were actually shopping in the aisles…

    (I tend to feel that if the “fussing” is loud and lasts more than 5-10 minutes, if it is at all possible, one of the parents should walk with the child or take them out of the room. It’s not always possible but subjecting others to 45 minutes of a tantrum when you COULD take the child for a walk seems to me to be uncaring towards others)

  2. A great story and very familiar. We were invited by my parents-in-law in a very distinguished hotel. Our three children were with us. When we were seated, my( now Australian) daughter ,four years old, looked around and said:”Who is going to pay for this?”in a loud voice.
    So it is much better to stay at home instead of eating out.
    Take care Roger and hopefully you will get soon better.
    Wil, ABCW Team.

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