Being children tolerant or false impressions?

June was a busy month in my household as my beautiful and feisty, might I add, nieces came to stay with us. It was mayhem and adults fell into bed exhausted by the end of the day but seeing kids have fun and be cheeky with each other was so wonderfully uplifting, especially as they don’t get to see each other often, with us being London based and them living in Europe.

One day, after my saintly sister-in-law looked after three kids, while I had an acupuncture appointment, I took my family to a very well-known and much loved gastro pub in Chelsea for lunch. The place was half busy but there was a well-known rock star wife and a in-demand model there, so the glamour factor, as ever, was present.

We ordered the food, the drinks arrived swiftly and my youngest niece took a shine to one of the waiters, who sweetly reciprocated. As the little one is a bit fussy with her food, my sister-in-law got down to feeding her a home-made meal, so that later we can all eat to our heart’s content but there was trouble on the horizon as the cute one saw freshly baked that was brought to our table and wanted to have it. My sister-in-law refused to budge and the obvious happened-my niece started screaming. Initially she was ‘discreet’ but as no bread came her way, the screaming got louder. I looked in sympathy at my sister-in-law, as any parent would-does any pregnancy book ever warn you of the regular occurrence of toddler tantrums and how people react to them?

Well, people started giving us looks and not of the adorable kind. All of a sudden a skinny elderly lady materialised by our table and started screaming-yes, I kidd you not!!!-at us, telling us to take the child out and calm her down as we were ruining everyone’s lunch. At first I was so taken aback by this rude and horrendous outburst-the woman looked positively insane that I was lost for words. A minute or so later, when I regained my composure, I told her that it was lunch time, not dinner, it wasn’t a Micheline star restaurant but a gastro pub and we had as much a right to be there as anybody else in the room. The woman had no ounce of fat on her body but her sour look on the face said it all i.e so not happy!!!!!!!!

My niece eventually calmed down, finished her food and got her bread, while me and my sister-in-law, my son and my bigger niece savoured our food with gusto. The model gave us haughty glances, but stopped smiling and the rock star wife, who smiled at my niece before, passed our table on the way out and walked to the demented lady-maybe their were old acquaintances or maybe she wanted to show her her moral support? The woman in question, who after her outburst, hid behind her companion, shortly left too. I, for one, was left angry for a few hours, because hypocrisy drives me mad.

My child and my nieces have been going out with us since they were babies, to appropriate places and appropriate times-for example, I wouldn’t take them to ‘business’ frequented restaurants or haute cuisine restaurants until they were older. We always make sure that our kids are well-behaved or occupied with snacks, crayons, DVDs etc-I don’t leave home without making sure I have everything with me but people with kids are entitled to have a life as much as the people who don’t have kids or who choose to live their kids at home.

My parents took me and my brother out with them, and I knew how to behave in the restaurants form an early age-I want to enjoy my son’s company and allow him to be social while eating at nice places, which I think is part of the educational process. But certain people are so full of themselves, so discontent and arrogant that they think they have rights that people with kids don’t. Have you ever seen the disdain on the faces of the first class or business class passengers where parents try to placate their crying baby? And I always want to smack those people and tell them to get off the high horse and have some sympathy for tired and yes, embarrassed, parents. Everyone is entitled to make their choices but no one should be allowed to impose theirs on other people. And I always considered Brits to be tolerant, if not loving with kids…….

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