The LOUD Family

Yesterday the Crankee Yankee and I decided we had done enough work around the house and took off for a late lunch. We still haven’t given up on finding the best lobster rolls in the area; we sampled many this summer at different restaurants. Since it was a week day, we decided to try our luck at Petey’s in Hampton, NH.

Petey’s was one of my dad’s favorite places, and we had planned to take him there this summer. After his peaceful passing this past April at our home, we decided we would go to Petey’s for him.

Even on a week day it was pretty crowded, but luckily we got in. We each ordered a small lobster roll and a cup of chowder, and some onion rings to share. As we waited, we became aware of a family sitting adjacent to us. There were several adults, and kids ranging from about two years old to grammar school age.

As we sat there, the volume from this table grew louder and louder. The young boys were now shouting at their parents and each other to be heard. I thought that once they had their meals that they would tone it down, but that never happened.

The adults seemed to be having a great time, and they too were very loud. I sneaked a look at the table across from us, and a couple who looked to be in their 70s were starting to give this family some dirty looks.

At one point it was hard to tell who was more loud, the kids or the adults. That is until the two year old began to get bored. He screamed and hollered to a level just below the sound barrier. That got the parents’ attention, and they shushed him….which lasted a whole minute before he started up again. This time he added throwing french fries to his repetoire.

I remember a friend of mine who had taken her 18-month old daughter along with us to a restaurant. The little girl was fine until she wasn’t, and she started screaming. Her mom got right up, picked her up out of the high chair and walked her out of the restaurant. About ten minutes later, she came back in with a quiet baby in her arms.

But babies being babies, she soon started screaming again; nothing wrong, just exercising her vocal cords. Again, the mom picked her up and walked out of the restaurant. This was repeated five times, and finally the baby stopped screaming. Whether it was because she didn’t feel like screaming anymore or realized that each time she screamed she got taken outside, the battle for peace was won.

I have never raised a child of my own. I have young granddaughters who have wonderful parents who teach them kindly and patiently about what to do and what not to do. Therefore I really have no right to criticize anyone about how they raise their children.

However, I do notice often that many parents these days don’t appear to address bad behavior in public places. In the case of the Loud Family the other day, everyone (including the parents) seemed to get louder and louder until the volume reached ear-bleeding proportions.

The only thing that lowered the volume now and then were the many dirty looks aimed at the adults. Then you would hear loud shushing sounds from the adults, which had absolutely no effect on the children.

Look, I get it—people with kids can’t always get a babysitter or leave them with Grandma and Grandpa. Like the rest of us, they just want to get out and have some adult time at a nice restaurant.

That said, if they bring their kids to the restaurant and allow them to screech and scream like *Tasmanian Devils, they must (on some level) see that most people around them are not used all that noise while they are trying to enjoy their lunch. Although the parents might be used to this behavior and noise, the rest of the restaurant surely isn’t.

…just saying…

*”Tasmanian devils have a notoriously cantankerous disposition and will fly into a maniacal rage when threatened by a predator, fighting for a mate, or defending a meal. Early European settlers dubbed it a “devil” after witnessing such displays, which include teeth-baring, lunging, and an array of spine-chilling guttural growls.” (From National Geographic)

Lunch With The Kid

The other day I took myself out to lunch; something I really enjoy. I always bring a book, and read while enjoying my meal. Of course I like going out to lunch with friends or with the Crankee Yankee, but sometimes I just like to dine on my own.

So there I was, reading happily, eating my favorite salad and a lemonade. The restaurant was fairly empty, so it was peaceful with a low murmur of conversations from some of the tables. Perfect—until The Kid showed up.

The Kid was brought in by his parents, along with what appeared to be his older brother and sister, and what looked to be the grandparents. There were plenty of empty tables and booths, but of course, they were seated in a booth a few feet away from me.

Now I don’t hate kids, really I don’t. But what I do not like is when parents bring the little ones into a restaurant that is not a McDoo’s or Burger Boy or Schmendy’s; you get the picture. Those places are perfect for families, especially one with little kids. When you go there, you expect that it will be noisy.

But when you are in a fairly nice restaurant that is usually for adults, you expect a bit of peace and quiet. I’m sure that the adults who brought in The Kid were looking forward to a more adult atmosphere than the usual kid places. I thought, ‘oh, well, the adults will keep the kids quiet.’ Still, I braced myself for what I was pretty sure what was going to happen, and sure enough, it did.

The Kid, who appeared to be about two years old, *shrieked, screamed and hooted like a howler monkey non-stop. The father tried to keep him calm by saying, “no, no, buddy—no screaming,” and “no, no, buddy—no shrieking,” to absolutely no avail. No one else at the table seemed to notice or care. For the few seconds that The Kid was not shrieking, screaming or hooting, he was rolling around on the floor, in the way of the waitress and a few customers.

The waitress nearly stepped on him a few times, because evidently no one thought to pick The Kid up and get him off the dang floor. I was about five feet away from all this, and was trying to ignore The Kid and his ear-shattering screams, and not shoot his family dirty looks.

Look, I waitressed my way through college, so I know what it’s like to put up with all kinds of people and still be pleasant and courteous. The poor girl waiting on this little shop of horrors had to have been counting the minutes when they would leave, but to her credit she kept her composure.

I knew that there would be no more peace for me, so I finished up what was once a nice lunch in a hurry so that I could give my ears a rest. I understand that restaurants want to make their customers happy, and they also want to fill the restaurant. More people = more money; I get it. But as one who really enjoys eating alone, I would love it if there could be a “quiet corner” or just a “no kid” section in restaurants. But I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon.

What I really I don’t get is why, when little kids are acting up, parents don’t just flag down their server and ask for their meals to be boxed to go, and then GO. I understand that parents of young children need to get out of the house now and then, but seriously, if your kid is going to yell and scream all through the meal and you are ignoring it, the rest of us can’t.

*Those who have experienced “kid shriek” will understand how penetrating it is; sort of like having hot lava poured into your ears without the hope that the lava will eventually cool off.