Thursday, March 15, 2012

WTF, strange mean daddy?!

This morning we decided we were overdue for another traditional Sunday morning breakfast at our fave little spot. We love having breakfast out, it's a family ritual that keeps us all on the same page before a busy week starts. As I was loading the diaper bag to go, I realized this was a milestone morning. Devyn started on solids recently, so I packed a little travel ramekin of rice cereal and grabbed some Earth's Best apple sauce and we headed out.

One of the things Nick and I have always loved is eating out. When I was pregnant with Cade people would tell me "Enjoy it while you can! Your days of eating out are gone for a LONG time!" Nick and I had a brief moment of horror and then discussed over that entire meal how we wouldn't let our children's potential bad behavior keep us away from eating out. In fact, we would make sure they got exposure eating out from an early age so they would know how to behave. We fell in love while we were both waiting tables at Cheddar's, so we knew that you had a choice as a parent. Be Family A whose exasperated parents let their toddlers throw chunks of cut up beanie weenies and empty sugar packets on the table. Be Family B who sit in silence as everyone reads or the parents talk while the kids play Game Boy. (We met in the dark ages, before texting, iPhones, or DSi). Or, we could be Family C whose kids sat up nicely, ordered their own food with manners, had nice convos with their parents, and left barely a mess behind them. We chose to be Family C, a choice we still stand behind today.

Anyways, the waitstaff at our haunt are so kind to Cade (and now Devyn). We got one of our favorite booths this morning and Devyn sat in a restaurant high chair for the first time! She was trés proud of herself!

She was so fascinated by sitting up and seeing everyone around her. She got lots of approving smiles and a few "Aren't you cute?"s. I was so proud of her. Cade made himself busy by stacking creamers and counting them. When his little "tower" tipped over he said, "I go down there get them" and pointed to the floor. We told him no, to stay in his seat and we'd get them. He said' "It's okay. I be right back." and then crawled under to retrieve the lost creamers and put them all back. Not ideal to crawl under the table, but what nice words he used!

Our food had just arrived and we were enjoying some talk of our fave comedians (we saw Lewis Black live last weekend, and now we have the comedy itch). Both kids were eating nicely. Then a family of 3 boys under 5 came to sit down behind us. They were a tad rambunctious settling into their booth, and I thought "Oh well, at least we're in the little kid corner. They won't mind if Cade gets noisy or needs a reminder to sit down in his seat."  Almost immediately though, this dad launches into the "Don't do that! Sit down! Be quiet. What are you going to order. NO, you're NOT going to eat that. What is your problem? I told you to sit down. We are going to ENJOY this meal!"

Devyn was taken aback. I SO need to go through my camera phone pics, because I have a pretty classic "WTF?!" look on her face as she stares at the freak show in this booth behind us. Nick and I shut up immediately, partly because we wanted to hear why those poor children were being yelled at, and partly because we were afraid of getting yelled at by Mean  Daddy ourselves.

The WHOLE remainder of our meal went like that. I WISH I could remember their children's names. Lets just say we laughed in the car that maybe those kids kept pushing their limits because their parents chose THE 3 worst names in the Old Testament and it was their way of revolting.

I never saw any behavior worthy of the verbal lashing these kids were taking. And the mom just sat there and let her husband berate their every move. Finally Strange Mean Daddy said, "If you don't stop right now we'll go outside to the van. Do you need to go outside? That's it! Lets go settle this outside!"  I am frequent viewer of What Would You Do? - the Primetime special on Friday nights. (woooo-eeee! you know you want my social life!)  I asked Nick, "Am I on What Would You Do? What should I do? Do I follow them?"  He told me to sit down. I said I'd give them 1 minute to have what I prayed was a Daddy-Son pep talk and if they weren't back I'd go out and investigate. Thank GOD they came back in shortly after.

WTF is the matter with people? Those kids didn't even get 30 seconds to sit down at the table and settle down before this guy started reeming them. If that's how you act in public, what on Earth is happening at home? The kids seemed calm and cool with it. I saw nothing worse than some lameo haircuts on those kids.

Super awkward, totally ruined my appetite, and I did NOT want to hang around to expose my own kids to more of this guy's venom. (Or his terrible choice in clothing. Superhero-print polyester?? Who IS this guy?!)

Anyways bloggies, lesson learned. Next time I might do more than shoot terrible looks over my shoulder and make loud positive, sweet comments to my own children to set a better example for Strange Mean Daddies.  Just when you think you might be a crappy parent someone walks into your world to remind that you are actually a ROCKSTAR!!!  There is no excuse to talk down to your kids.  If they truly didn't deserve a nice meal out with the family, then take them home. Otherwise, here's a dose (or twenty) of patience and compassion.  Use it. And lose the attitude when you talk to your beautiful babies. Ugh. The end.  

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