I stopped taking my kids to restaurants for a while after our traumatic experience when fine dining in Florida. My mother and I took the boys out to a little French restaurant at six pm. After a day of organizing beach activities we were ready to treat ourselves to a nice meal and be waited upon by a well trained staff. We justified our decadence by incorporating a lesson on table manners while we were eating.
Florida is an anomaly. Unless one can endure the typical “family restaurant” it is best to forgo the desired pampering and stay at home. The restaurant was filled with ancient couples who had smartened up and stopped visiting their grandchildren long ago. I am certain that when the grandchildren came to visit them they were told to stay at the hotel across the causeway.
As soon as we walked in to the restaurant I scanned the ornery crowd and knew we were doomed. There was not one taker who would be charmed by my adorable brood. No smiles, no cooing, not even at sweet big, blue eyed, two year old Tucker. Than things went South. The boys got restless and I had forgotten to bring my tool belt of games to play with while waiting to be served. Grandma Nicky and I sent the kids outside and told them to go play in the parking lot before a possie started.
When the boys proceeded to smash their faces into the restaurant windows, two biddies who were giving us the evil eye from the start, approached our table. They launched into a tyrant of accusations which they concluded by admonishing us for taking our children out to dinner without proper training. Grandma Nicky, who was the antithesis of these old bats, was ready for battle. “Trained at what?”, she pompously inquired in her stately British accent.
After the women left, the wait staff came over to our table and asked us if everything was alright. We apologized for the behavior of our offspring. They soothed us by informing us that those woman were regulars who complained about everything from the temperature in the air to the size of their lettuce leaves. My mother gave me license to do her in if she ever became old and crotchety like that. It is more likely that I will get there before she ever does.