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babies in restaurants

(31 Posts)
Stansgran Sun 17-Jul-11 15:28:25

We have just taken dd sil and 2dgs on quite an expensive hols by the sea. brilliant weather (UK) and suggested they go out every evening-either am eal or walk along beach or drink at pub while we happily babysat. on the last night but one we booked for a meal on our own-michelin restaurant-highly recommended to celebrate wedding anniversary.
pre dinner drinks and in comes grandparents young parents and ist grandchild who screamed(about 18 mths old) at regular intervals the grandparents only took him out once to calm him and Mum wasn't still feeding which would have been a reason to bring him out as she had a selection of heinz jars on the table. The restaurant was busy and chattery but he could be heard well above the chatter(about 8 tables in a small room)
He spoilt our evening and I suspect others -I would have loved to take my brood out but it was past their bedtime and if they had misbehaved we would have taken them out in turns. So am I being unreasonable to say this family were selfish?

riclorian Sun 17-Jul-11 17:52:11

Selfish and thoughtless ---- a child of that age should be tucked up in bed . If they can afford a meal in an expensive restaurant , they can surely afford a baby sitter . I'm old fashioned , I believe in early bed -times .

pinkprincess Sun 17-Jul-11 20:18:49

The poor little baby should have been in bed, that's probably the reason he was screaming.Surely one set of the adults could have stayed behind, or the parents got a baby sitter.

seraphicDigitalis Sun 17-Jul-11 20:25:14

I confess to being slightly child-unfriendly after a certain hour. I think this was an appalling breach of courtesy, common sense and even cruelty. I'm surprised somebody didn't make a fuss.


HildaW Sun 17-Jul-11 21:48:59

Family lunch in a restaurant is one thing and if you get them into training early enough on how to behave in such places it can be a jolly event...but an evening meal is for grown-ups (this is denoted by the behaviour of the person not their age). Babies however, should be tucked up in bed! Nothing worse than an over tired baby and to be quite honest its bordering on un-kindness to them.

glammanana Sun 17-Jul-11 22:28:48

I can't understand the logic in taking a little one out for evening meals when
he should be at home tucked up asleep,I,m sure that the person's concerned
could have popped into any famous foodhall and bought say meal for 2 +
bottle of wine and sat in and enjoyed the food and enjoyed a peaceful,
relaxing evening.So selfish to the child and other relatives I think.

GrannyTunnocks Sun 17-Jul-11 23:46:47

I agree. Babies that age are most difficult to keep quiet and do get upset when they are tired. Best to in out for lunch or an early evening meal.

grannyactivist Mon 18-Jul-11 01:27:50

A year or so ago I would have agreed wholeheartedly with what others on this thread have said, but there are some circumstances when 'normal rules' don't apply. Following the death of her husband last year my daughter has had to do many things and go to many places that otherwise she wouldn't have done. For the most part I have accompanied her and have often been able to babysit my grandson. However, my daughter feels very strongly that her baby son should be as involved as possible in things such as memorials and tributes to his late father.* This has often entailed getting back to hotels in a state of exhaustion and eating in either the hotel or a local restaurant before, finally and with great relief, getting the little one to bed. Yes, the baby has been fractious sometimes and we have endured the tutting and stares of other diners, but under the circumstances it would have been cruel to send my daughter to eat alone when she was emotionally labile; we just managed each situation as best we could.

* My daughter believes that photo's of baby at memorials etc. are a way of linking him to his daddy in the future and are kept in his 'memory box'.

helshea Mon 18-Jul-11 08:18:26

I agree mainly with the fact that very young children should not be in restaurants or pubs after a certain time, but also realise that in some circumstances this would mean that the parents, especially the mother would never go out. I for one, if I moved to a new area and knew no one I would definitely not want to leave my child with a babysitter who I hardly knew. However surely it is up to the restaurants themselves to set the rules. If a restaurant has a policy then everyone is quite clear. I know that Ember Inns do not allow any children under (I think the age is) the age of 14. Also lot's of public houses have seperate family rooms. To be honest I don't think a Michelin Star quality restaurant should be allowing children in under a certain age, after a certain time. But if they have no policy about this, and I wanted a quiet lovely meal I would not go again.

susiecb Mon 18-Jul-11 09:17:59

I do agree that bringing babies to dinner in a restaurant is firstly wrong for the baby or toddler who really ought to be in bed and probably uncomfortable for the other diners. I do think though that after the tragic circumstances of Madeline's disappearance parents are nervous of leaving their children while on holiday with babysitting services. But of course you are right when we go out with grandchildren we all take it in turns to take the child into the garden (if there is one). My preference is children in bed at an appropriate time that allows them to get sufficient rest not to be tetchy the next day and gives parents and grandparents much needed child free time

harrigran Mon 18-Jul-11 13:11:07

When we are on holiday with children we always have our main meal at lunchtime and the evening meal is something simple. Fractious children do not help adults digestion so best avoided. I appreciate there are times when it I totally unavoidable then best try for 5.30 to 6pm so that we are finished before evening diners arrive.

maxgran Mon 18-Jul-11 15:43:13

Perhaps they do not usually take the child out that late - but they were on holiday ! How late was it ?

I don't enjoy hearing toddlers screaming in restaurants but without knowing the reasons why this family had a toddler out at whatever time it was - I wouldn't judge them as selfish.

helshea Mon 18-Jul-11 15:55:17

Stansgran? How do you know they were the grandparents, how do you know that it was their first grandchild? Perhaps they were celebrating something, and were on holiday without anyone to babysit? Whatever the facts, I think you presume too much!

HildaW Mon 18-Jul-11 20:19:37

Hmmmm, all I know is that I would not have enjoyed an evening meal in a posh restaurant with either of my darling daughters until they were at least able to offer decent conversation between courses!

raggygranny Mon 18-Jul-11 20:32:53

When I was on holiday in Sicily many years ago it was very noticeable that multi-generational families would go out for a meal together in the evenings, often quite late, and I never saw any bad behaviour from the children, but of course everyone, includiing the tinies, would have had a couple of hours siesta in the afternoon, which would make all the difference.
I agree that not knowing all the circumstances of this particular incident means we can't be sure how much at fault the adults were, but a posh restaurant does not seem the ideal place to take small children, even well-behaved ones, as the expensive food would be wasted on them!

absentgrana Tue 19-Jul-11 16:09:23

I don't think taking babies to restaurants is much of a problem, providing there is a cosy buggy or somewhere else to sleep and, if they wake up, an adult deals immediately with feeding, nappy change or whatever is required. Toddlers and slightly older children can also be a joy in a restaurants, but not late in the evening because they get tired, bored and whiny. The night before my family flew back to New Zealand, we took them to our favourite restaurant about 6.30 or 7.00 in the evening. Not only did the three-year-old girl and two-year-old boy yum up their dinners – a shared appetizer, half-size portions of an adult main course and, then, ice cream – but he flirted outrageously with the waitresses. When the chef came to talk to us, both children thanked him for their "lovely tea".

Stansgran Tue 19-Jul-11 17:47:59

Well helsheaMainly because of their conversation with the staff on arrival-a small restaurant -daughter says mum and dad -the conversation was public.. i have absolutely no objection to families enjoying themselves- the Italian extended family always looks brilliant and someone walks off with a fractious child in my experience of continental evening meals-i have two French grandchildren and have eaten out many times but they tend to have their main meal at midday and a lighter evening meal is better for the digestion but in this case it was as I said and i too was celebrating something

helshea Tue 19-Jul-11 18:29:36

Sorry Stansgran, was just checking! I shouldn't have doubted it sad

Alifen Fri 22-Jul-11 09:19:47

These are not "normal" circumstances, yes...but surely common sense should STILL come into play instead of pandering to every whim of the bereaved mother in an effort to compensate for the sad early death of the husband/father?
She wants to "involve" the young child in every occasion etc etc...this is nOT for the childs is for her benefit and comfort and that of course is understandable!

"Will link him to his daddy at a later date to see himself at these memorials?"..was he taken to the funeral as well?

People of course do not think straight in these circumstances! But to involve a young child in the emotional misery year after year, is not good parenting I think!
Daddy can be remembered in a happy positive way, surely?

But the main topic is about selfish people allowing their children/grandchildren to spoil meals etc for other diners /shoppers etc.

There is NO excuse for this.
It is ignorant and totally preventable.
But sadly happens all the time and is on the increase!

People come out to enjoy a meal or some shopping time...NOT to put up with the noise and bad behaviour of children that some people think is acceptable!

They pay good money to eat out.

My sons were never taken out for evening really was not the "norm" then.
They had a set and sensible bedtime and I always had a regulare and capable babysitter.
We also appreciated time away from the children..AND others children too...!

During the day, we often had compliments on the good behaviour of our children!

Surely it is simply consideration for others, good social manners and pride in ones own greandchildren?

I would hate to think that anyone was thinking my grandson was an out of control brat with disinterested Grandparents!!!

grannyactivist Fri 22-Jul-11 10:15:57

Wow - don't hold back will you Alifen? "pandering to every whim of the bereaved mother" is a sweeping generalisation based on, what? The fact that my (breastfeeding) daughter kept her 17 week old son with her as she attended her husband's repatriation, funeral and memorial services? Who do you think baby (reminder, breastfed baby) should have been left with?
As for your assertion that baby's presence was, "in an effort to compensate for the sad early death of the husband/father" - well, as a statement it doesn't exactly demonstrate your understanding, sensitivity or compassion about such matters.

It's evident that you think it's a sad state of affairs that all children/grandchildren were not raised as well as yours obviously were, but my daughter is far too old to re-train now.

Baggy Fri 22-Jul-11 12:28:24

Dearest GA, at the risk of losing your friendship forever sad may I say please don't get too cross with Alifen. Similar thoughts had gone through my mind but, because I 'know' you a little, I was able to dismiss them. The thing is, someone coming cold to this thread could easily pick up the wrong end of the stick simply because it's difficult to guess all the nuances just from the printed word. You know this and you are a sweet, kind person. "Forgive, forget, conclude and be agreed" that a screaming baby in a restaurant (or anywhere) can spoil an evening meal. It's highly unlikely to be a breast-fed baby because its mum will just stick a nipple in its mouth. smile

helshea Fri 22-Jul-11 13:24:23

Sorry Alifen I am definitely with GA on this one. Each situation is different, and I think there is a big difference between just giving your opinion and being judgemental.
Not everyone has a babysitter they can trust, and in todays times, I would be very wary of leaving a child with anyone other than a family member. Things have moved on somewhat from when my children were babies, and I would never have dreamt of taking them out with me for a meal or a drink, unless of course on holiday (which the OP mentions). However, all this said, there is a big difference between taking a child to a family "buzzing" restaurant (say Italian) than a Michelin star establishment.

Elegran Fri 22-Jul-11 14:17:51

alifen - I don't remember seeing any posts from you before. Do you contribute often to the forum?
If you don't, what made you choose this thread, and what made you begin with such a vehement condemnation of grannyactivist and her bereaved daughter and orphaned grandchild - ? You must not be surprised if you are taken for a troll, throwing a hand-grenade into a discussion to see what collateral damage you can do.

maxgran Fri 22-Jul-11 14:52:26

Alifen,.. Why do you assume that GAs grandson being involved year after year in memorials for his Daddy is involving him in 'emotional misery'
Memorials are not neccessarily 'misery' !!
Giving that baby a continued link with the memory of his Dad is valuable and important,.. THAT is remembering him in a positive way ! That IS positive parenting !

You also asked if the baby was taken to the funeral ? Why did you ask that ? because you think he should - or should not have been ? Personally, I think a child should go to the funeral of a close relative,..yes, even a baby. People tend to leave children out because THEY cannot handle the child going, with little thought to what is really best for the child.

Baggy - I don't think Alifen got the wrong end of the stick at all - I think GAs post was clear and there was nothing to 'guess' at.
Alifen can only see negatives in what GAs daughter has done when there are absolute healthy positives in there for that child - and she is not doing it just for her own benefit at all !

HildaW Fri 22-Jul-11 14:56:05

Think I've just made a mental note not to read anything posted with the name 'Alifen' attached to it