10 August 2008

Dining Out with Small Fry

In our town, midway between our house and the kid's daycare, there's a restaurant. It's one of those tavern-type places with adequate food and a low-key atmosphere, and you can always get a hamburger if nothing else appeals. It's not a chain, it's nothing special, and kids eat free on Monday nights.

We avail ourselves of the Monday night special from time to time. I order a chopped salad with a side of mashed potatoes, W. gets a burger, Miss M. gets gloppy kid-friendly "mac & cheese", and everyone is happy. Almost every time we go there, we run into other people we know - like daycare compadres, or neighbors en masse with all kids accounted for.

One night, we went in and ran into another daycare kid, with her mom and baby sister. Miss M. and her friend were in pig heaven and we ended up switching seats so the kids were at one table and the grown-ups were at the adjacent table. The kids were under the table, across the room, and generally carrying on, but in a really happy way - there were no tears, there wasn't any whining, they were just having fun.

Well. Some couple across the room got completely bent out of shape about these two charming four year olds having the time of their little lives - at a restaurant, together, not at school! They seemed to think these kids should be wearing white gloves and sitting with their hands folded neatly in their laps. I think, if you go out to dinner at 6:00 on a Monday at a restaurant where kids eat free on Monday nights, you should expect there to be high-spirited kids, being kids. Next time, eat out on Tuesday.



This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by Burger King Corp. I don't usually do the PBN blog blasts that require such an overtly commercial blurb, but I confess to having a soft spot for Burger King. If we must stop for fast food, I generally choose Burger King. And it's all because of a family friend. He'd grown up in the food business, and ended up owning a bunch of Burger Kings. Every time he'd stop by our house, he'd leave behind BK swag: glasses, toys, tchotchkes, and this fine backpack I unearthed recently. If you click to enlarge, you'll be able to read the fine print:
(So you other restaurants can get off my back)

He was a mensch of the highest order.

21 comments:

MamaGeek said...

Oh that's just par. I bet those same people go to the zoo and get bent because animals are there.

OY.

Kyla said...

Ack. Grumpy grumps.

The sounds of delighted children are so wonderful, they were lucky to get to listen, I think.

Mayberry said...

LOVE your disclaimer, and the backpack's too.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Plus they have the best fries around.

i am very mary said...

I'm rather a sucker for their Italian chicken sandwich. And also? If the kids were eating under the table? Maybe that would have been too funny!

nonlineargirl said...

When I was about 4, my parents took me out for dinner and I was apparently quite loud. When they told me I needed to quiet down, I retorted: "you don't have to be quiet at burger king!"

noble pig said...

Anyone eating on kids eat free night better like KIDS! Seriously, that's ridiculous! Poop on them.

the dragonfly said...

You've got to wonder about people who go to a restaurant on kids eat free night and then get upset about the kids. Maybe they decided to go because they like to complain and figured that would be a good excuse. :)

FreshHell said...

Maggie - catching up and will leave comments pertaining to your actual entries soon. But, I'm getting ready to mail the doodle prizes today but don't have your correct zip code. Can you email me at myfreshhell at hotmail dot com?

Anjali said...

That's right, and you can always go to eat later, so you don't have to deal with kids being kids!

emma said...

You know, I have four kids, and I'm not exactly strict with them, especially in that kind of situation. I figure, it their happy and not actually accosting other patrons, they're good.
On the other hand (Hypocrite Alert!) when I am out WITHOUT my kids, I am all impatient with people who let they're kids play in exactly the way I do.
I know, I know. It is totally hypocritical of me. Somehow, I feel very strongly in each situation and unable to remember that I ever felt the opposite.

the queen said...

Chopped salad! Woo .. with a side of mashed potatoes? huh?

soher529 said...

Sigh ... Thanks

Kyddryn said...

Hmm. I am of two minds about this. On the one hand, if the kids are playing nicely, having a good time, and not loud, whiny, disruptive, or invading my dining space, I don't really have a problem with them. If it's a restaurant that's marketed as "family", I expect kids to be there and be...well...kids.

On the other hand - sometimes, some parents let it get out of control. Playing nicely, laughing cheerfully, and maintaining boundaries is fine. Letting their precious snot-nosed offspring run around and around and around and around and...oh, getting dizzy...while screaming at the top of his lungs, jostling other diners, forcing the wait-staff to do the Watusi to keep from dumping trays of food and drinks, and generally behaving like monkeys on crank, well...not so much.

Sadly, it seems that more and more people see rude antics as "Oh, aren't they cute?" and ignore them.

Perhaps the couple in question have recently had the most negative of experiences and were a bit kid-shy because of it. Or they could be related to my grandmother and think kids should sit down, be quiet, eat what's ordered for them (until I was eight or nine, I NEVER got to order for myself, and even then I wasn't allowed to order a hamburger or anything else I knew - I HAD to order something I couldn't get at home) and be grateful for it. Bleh.

Meanwhile - my first job outside of baby sitting and berry picking (standards for kids wanting pocket money, where I grew up) was at Burger King. I ran the drive-through window and loved it.

Shade and Sweetwater,
K

Aunt Becky said...

Same thing happened to us on Friday. We took the boys out for dinner (which is rare) and the small one was too...exuberant for the table of older kids/family. I confronted the lady who was staring at us, but we ended up leaving anyway. Not from the hairy eyeballs but because Alex wouldn't behave. Period.

Ah, kids.

kathy a. said...

our kids are grown [kind of] now, but we like a local pub that is very kid-friendly. they have a play area, which later becomes the performance stage or dart arena, depending on the evening -- so little kids are encouraged to run around, play, let off steam. there are 3 tons of kidlets having a grand time from about 5 to 7 p.m. it just makes so much sense to offer that outlet for young families. we enjoy watching the tykes, too. very few tantrums, since the venue lets kids be kids.

Vered said...

When you are out and about with kids, there will always be someone who looks at you - at them - with that disapproving look. I have learned to ignore it.

flutter said...

mmmmm whopper.

david mcmahon said...

Or you can bring the clan round to my place for a good Aussie BBQ ....

womaninawindow said...

You tell'em...Tuesdays!

Kate Lord Brown said...

People like that have very sad, quiet little lives. We have a family friendly pub near us (you know, not the Ritz but kid's menus and big signs saying 'Dogs Welcome') - I was sitting with the kids while my husband ordered the food. For once they weren't even swinging from the lampshades. I overheard this old guy saying 'God, just look at that! What is this place coming to? Look at that woman over there with children and a dog! Disgusting!' I started to look around wondering who he was talking about, then realised we were the only people in there ... Maybe they should add to 'Kids and Dogs Welcome' a sign saying 'No Miserable old Gits'. Grrrr.