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.
*”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)