We were sitting in a restaurant for lunch last weekend, and I got thinking.
I always thought it was cute when kids would stare you down from a neighbouring table or when they leaned over the back of the booth, practically putting their chin on your shoulder. I was also be super impressed when I saw kids who were really well behaved, silently praising their parents for a job well done. At the same time, I'm sure that I got annoyed with kids in restaurants at times. I'm embarrassed to say, I was probably a little "judge-y" of the parents with kids were a little less well-behaved.
Well, last weekend, my kid was the one who was a little less well-behaved.
I admit, as soon as I had a child, I had my eyes opened. I find myself saying, "When you know better, you do better," a awful lot lately. This is just one more example of one of those situations. Now, I'm so much more open minded and find myself defending and supporting other families, when I see kids having a moment in public.
As an outsider looking in, I don't know the full story.
We've always taken Little C out to eat. Sometimes, it's at McDonalds, but we also try sit down restaurants. We think it helps him learn what is expected of him in public places and gives him opportunities to practice. We certainly don't expect him to be perfect. He's 3!
Every so often, I see posts online about being annoyed by kids in restaurants. I know that kids can be loud and energetic, but they're also learning. Restaurants can be boring and overwhelming with all the forced sitting and new sights and (often loud and unexpected) noises. They'll get better and better, but if they are never taken to restaurants, how can they work on behaving in restaurants?
Now, when I see families at a restaurant enjoying a meal together (or trying to...), I always try to give an understanding smile and shrug to let them know that I get it.