Grumpy Old Men

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Perhaps the name of this post is a bit harsh but I wasn’t sure what else to call it, so this is what I decided on. It really is the only explanation that I can come up with, so grumpy old man it is.

This afternoon we spent a wonderful afternoon with my parents and the kids at Disney on Ice. The kids loved it. Even Ms. J, who has a hard time sitting still for more than 30 seconds, managed to sit still ooing and ahhing for a few acts before needing to walk off her restlessness.

After the show we went out for dinner. We decided on a family restaurant on the way home. I’m usually picky about where we take the kids out, especially to eat. I always opt for family restaurants because they are usually louder, tend to have other kids around and I don’t have to worry about disturbing other people’s dinners.

Tonight was no different, we were at a family restaurant enjoying a meal surrounded by other families. It was getting late and both kids were getting hungry but were very well-behaved. Mr. T chatted about the show he just watched and Ms. J. demanded more and more bread while we were waiting for our meal. At one point Mr. T. let out a scream. Not sure why, maybe excited? It was a happy scream, not an angry or tantruming scream. It was an excited 3-year-old letting out his feelings. As soon as it happened we asked him not to scream and told him that he had to keep his voice down since we were inside and there were other people around.

That was the end of it from him. He continued to be very well-behaved. No more loud noises. He chatted and ate his dinner and his behaviour was actually quite impressive for a 3-year-old.

Beside us sat a table for 4 older people. When Mr. T. let out his squeal the older gentleman at the table was not impressed at all. He put his finger in his ear and complained loudly. Mr. C. apologized to the table and sat down. They then proceeded to complain about our child, professing that their children had never behaved in such a way when out in public and began comparing bratty children experiences.

I was offended to say the least. Mr. T. was perfectly well-behaved. He did let out one loud noise and when asked not to do it again he didn’t. He was by no means a misbehaving, unruly child. Let me make it clear that I am not a parent who is ignorant to her childs mischievous behaviour. I am perfectly aware that at times my child is a child and does misbehave and I react to it in what I feel is an appropriate way when it does happen.

What did they expect? Do they expect a 3-year-old to sit there without saying a word at all? I’m sorry that is too much to expect of any child. That type of behaviour is not in a childs nature.

Every ounce of me wanted to protest this to the table next to us. I wanted to ask them why they came to a family establishment if they didn’t want to be bothered by children. I wanted to ask what it was that had made them such perfect parents. I wanted to tell them that perhaps time had clouded their memories if they felt that their children never stepped out of line once in their entire childhood.

I also wanted to scream at them that if they had any idea what this 3-year-old had been through early in his life that they might think twice about their judgement. That we were told he would probably be very quiet so that any noise he made was music to my ears so their opinions were not wanted. I wanted to ask them what made them feel as though they even had the right to give me their opinion on my child? An opinion that was based on one second of his entire life. I wanted to ask them how they would feel if one of these bratty kids they were complaining about grew up to be a doctor that would have to treat them as they continue to grow old and fragile.

My protective instinct had kicked in and I was ready to fight back. I fought the urge because they were older than me and I was taught to respect my elders. I fought the urge because Mr. T. and Ms. J. were sitting right beside me and I didn’t feel like I would be setting a good example to my children if they were to witness me raising my voice or arguing with an old man. In my mind I was trying to come up with a respectful way to tell this man and his companions that they were being very disrespectful to my children and my family and that it was unnecessary. In the end we  finished our dinner and we left. They glared at us as we left as if we had absolutely no right to be out in public with our children. I bit my tongue as I brushed passed them on the way out. Other restaurant patrons smiled at my kids and the staff actually commented not only on how adorable the kids were but how well-behaved they were.

It has been hours and it is still upsetting me. I wonder if I should have said something more. Should I have stood and vocalized my feelings. Should I have told them that in future they should think about going to adult oriented restaurants. That they should also think twice about the things they say and what effect their words might have on the 3-year-old that may overhear their conversation.

Should I take offense to this or should I chalk it up to nothing but a grumpy old man complaining about yet another thing in his day. Am I being to sensitive about it? I’m curious to know how others would have handled this? I’m curious to know how those of you with children out there feel about this type of reaction as well as how  those of you without children feel about it.

Do people honestly expect children to sit quietly and not make a peep? Do we live in that kind of world anymore? My thought is that our society has evolved from the children should be seen and not hear days have we not?

My biggest concern is if this incident has bothered me this much how am I going to handle it when something serious comes up?

They said parenthood was going to be hard but I had no clue just how hard it really was going to be.

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