Well Behaved Children Welcome. The Rest Will be Made Into Pies.

Well behaved children welcome. The rest will be made into pies.

 

I found that wry sign mounted on the outside of a Cape Cod pie shop -- a clever reference to the Sing a Song of Sixpence childhood rhyme, only with a sick Jonathan Swift twist -- amusing, so I asked my three kids to pose next to it while my husband took a photo.

 

None of us found the sign offensive as it reflects something of an unstated family rule, minus the baking the kids into the pie business: If you act like a lunatic in public, cause a disturbance, etc., you’ll be removed from the premises by your parents.

 

And we’ve had to make good on this promise on a number of occasions, like a few years ago when we were enjoying a Cape Cod Bay-side luncheon in Provincetown and one of our overtired boys began to whine as his eyes started welling up and his face turned red. Ticked that I had to leave the scrumptious fresh lobster roll behind on my plate, I marched the kid out of the restaurant and fumed silently in my head while the kid regained his equilibrium on the sidewalk.

 

When our twins were toddlers and they’d clearly had enough of a different seafood restaurant, also in Provincetown, so much so that my son knocked over the tea light on the table, my husband and I already had our game plan: I’d take the kids to the car where they could make all the noise they wanted, while my husband asked for the food to be placed into take-out containers and settled the bill. But I tell ya, those scallops I’d ordered didn’t taste nearly as good from my passenger side car seat, eaten ice cold out of a Styrofoam container as they did when they were steaming hot on the plate next to my chilled glass of white wine.

 

But such was the gamble we knew we were taking when we endeavored to bring unpredictable young kids into a restaurant where it’s not kosher to chuck stuff around, holler at the top of one’s voice and laugh at the peculiar sound of one’s farts against the wooden chair. As parents with young children, the onus was on us to make sure that if the kids act like kids--irrational beings with a tenuous ability to control their emotions--we take them outside a restaurant/theater/event until they chill the heck out. That’s kind of what we thought the social compact was...and why getting a reliable babysitter was absolutely essential to parental happiness because romance does not flourish in restaurants with paper placements and crayons while you’re holding your breath and hoping one of your kids doesn’t flip out.

 

Even now, with my 10-year-old son and nearly 13-year-old twins, I still remind them when we go into stores with ample quantities of breakables that they aren’t to touch stuff or screw around, lest they break something and they have to pay for it out of their allowance. My husband and I recently took the crew out to a chic outdoor Chatham restaurant--our one “nice” meal of our Cape vacation--and I had to keep an eye on the 10-year-old who was cranky and hungry and still had the potential to lose his mind.

 

MahaMama
08.10.11

It is a lot of work taking small children out to fancy places. The foundation and ground rules that you set down initially go a long way to make things easier as they get older. I might want to add that timing is everything for meals out. The early bird dinner times, for our family, have proved most ideal. Going in knowing that dinner could be pre-empted is half the battle. Planning around schedules is the best way to avoid the battles and the subsequent bailing out.

ganesa092376
08.09.11

I agree with this article whole heartedly. I do not however agree with the ban of children in a restaurant. How about instead we tell parent's who don't control their children to leave. We should be more tolerant of the children and less tolerant of the adults who allow the behavior to occur. On many occasions my husband and I have taken our four year old out and been in awe of older children who were acting half his age. Meanwhile the parents ignore the behavior or simply sit there and smile. My son knows how to behave, because we have taught him what is acceptable and we have taught him that there will be consequences for inappropriate behavior. Its time for parent to remember that they are the ADULTS. They need to set expectations and follow through when those expectations are not met. Then perhaps we will get some civility back in this world.

kvalentini
08.09.11

I completely agree with this article - it's about parents using common sense and being respectful to other patrons. I wrote a post, along the same lines, agree with restaurant owner Mike Vuick in his ban of small children even though I have a two year old and a three year old and like to eat out. Here's what I had to say about the whole issue: http://www.momtastic.com/parenting/features/168055-restaurant-bans-dumb-...

Parents can't expect others to be understanding of their children and childish behaviors if they aren't going to be considerate in return.