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Sunday, June 28, 2009

A tip for those with Urchins

As a single person without children, I seldom give advice regards kids. I DID put in my years as a CCD teacher, and having been a kid myself, however, I have picked up a few tricks along the way. Sometimes the cute 'lil basserds are in restaurants. A lot of times the rug rats are cavorting about in fast food places. Now granted these are not-exactly-the-Ritz-is-it? establishments, but none the less, they are still public eating places, and it's fair enough to expect the adults in charge of them to keep them from acting like little hellions.

I don't know about you, but if if you've lived past age, oh, six, you know that places with plastic type booths are places you can feel every little vibration. So if the little darling behind you, is kicking HER table, YOU are going to feel it. Now, normally in this sort of a situation a parent doesn't need to wait for you to turn around and look at the child, and then the parent with a raised eye...because they're already yelling at the kid to "stop kicking the **** table."

But if mummy is doting on the child, not doing anything, you really want to kill the parent.

Here's the tip, if you really want to stop the behaviour, if little Janie or Bobby doesn't stop kicking whatever after earnest entreaties: take their damn shoes off. Then they can kick away, and with any luck break some toes. They'll be yelling, but they'll also be on the way to the emergency room and will soon be gone. This will also solve the child's "attention deficit disorder" at least as far as kicking things go. Even the stupid children will catch on.


Therese said...

It doesn't matter where we are, I still expect my children to behave in an appropriate way while eating dinner.

If any of my children were to kick the table at a public restaurant they would loose their dinner pretty quickly. I think your idea is a good one too except the child may hurt you in the process of getting the shoes off.

Fr. Erik Richtsteig said...

Amen! Preach it sister!

gemoftheocean said...

AT: If you grab the kid by the ankle ahd he/she gives ANY inclination to pulling a fast one, throw him/her on their back!!! ;-D

If some ninny who won't mind his own business starts giving you crap, send the kid to eat at THEIR table!!! [Had I behaved like the kid behind me today when I was that age my parents would have killed me! This kid was a good 4 years old. And the parent was looking after ONE kid. Totally inexcusable. [I was an only kid, and believe me, one little kid can't gang up on one adult,much less two when in public!]

Over the years I have a pretty good trick of freaking out people seating near me with bratty kids when we fly into San Diego (this ONLY works if they're not from hear.] The flight path is right over the heart of downtown and there's quite a few tall buildings nearer by than most cities we fly into. As the plane is on approach
voice the opinion (just within earshot of the parents of Miss/Master Brat "GEE, we seem a lot more close to these buildings than usual...."

And poor Fr. Erik. Kids standing on kneelers and pews are enough to make St. Peter start yelling. And why in Hades do parents give their toddlers CAR KEYS to play with? Nonestly, you want to ask the parents: "Is everyone in your family this stupid, or are you just 'special?'"

swissmiss said...

Not that my little angels would ever do such a thing, but I hope I never get to the point of taking off their shoes. Long before that my kids would've been removed from the restaurant. One time we were eating at a fast food place and my daughter, who was an infant, started crying...loudly. My husband grabbed her and took her outside until she stopped. At that age you can't really control the crying, but you can minimize the inconvenience to others. An elderly gentleman who was sitting at a table close to us finished and left while my husband was outside quieting my daughter. He stopped and told my husband it was nice to see someone handle the situation as my hubby had.

In church there is NO standing on pews, but kneelers, that's a different story :) And, we NEVER have given our kids keys to play with. Drives me crazy. Usually, a group of nuns sits on the other half of the pew, next to my three year old daughter. That seems to keep her on good behavior...some times.

gemoftheocean said...

Hi Swiss: I turn a bit of a blind eye to the "terrible twos" and crying infants. It's the kids who are 4,5,6 who really should be under better control "by now!" ;-D

As re: nuns. I was afraid to even turning around during Mass when I was in primary school. The nuns, who sat in the choir loft would "say something" at school on Monday had they caught one of us "looking around." [And this was when the Mass was still in Latin, and we had plenty to "look around at."]

Stephen said...

I have to say I'm with Therese and Swissmiss - I would never have been allowed to get to the removal-of-shoes stage as a child, and I certainly wouldn't let my nephew's behaviour slide that far downhill either, in public or in private (he and I had words this evening about the proper usage of cutlery. He's 10, I'm 36. It wasn't open to negotiation.) In a restaurant, if inappropriate behaviour threatened to surface, he would be quickly removed to a less-public location for a spot of what my mother euphemistically terms 'intensive correction' (and his Dad, actually, is stricter than I am, and I'm no pushover).

Partly it comes from teaching manners consistently at home (which is what this evening's little teaching moment was about - and, again, his Dad's stricter than I am, but his Dad wasn't here, and whatever rules there are need to be applied consistently), and partly it's down to bringing up the children in question so that they have a full and thorough understanding of the word 'no'.

Mind you, some parents are, I'm afraid, thoroughly clueless. I particularly treasure the memory of asking some Dad in a Denny's in Whitby, Ontario to please control his child and prevent said brat from climbing onto his booth seat and hitting me over the head with the dessert menu, behaviour which this parental incompetent had been watching for at least five minutes without doing anything to stop it.

gemoftheocean said...

Stephen, if there is one thing I HATE is when parents let their kids get away with seat kicking in a public venue. Particularly at a sporting event. Particularly if I am in front of said kid. Once, years ago this "see nothing, say nothing" "parent" was letting his 8 or so year old get away with this. Glares did NOT work with this clueless jackass. Finally, after TWICE asking nicely, dad turned to the guy and said "if you don't control him, I will throw YOU over the rail (to a lower section 30 feet below us!) Then Mr. Perfect started saying he was going to call a security guard, and my dad told him to "make my day." He huffed and whined, and left with his brat and family about 10 minutes later.

[What was your nephew doing? Stabbing peas with a fork? Making a mountain of the mashed potatoes a la "Close Encounters?" Usually, by 10, they have settled down, unless they are really pushing the envelop and "cruisin' for a bruisin'" or "attitude adjustment" or old fashioned ass-kicking.]

Therese said...


My sister had an interesting experience on a plane. There was a mother with a young child sitting behind her and the child kicked her seat.

My sister turned around and said please don't do that and the mother then complained to the security that my sister had threatened her child.

My sister was taken by security and it was only because someone else on the plane spoke up and said that she hadn't heard her that she didn't get into any trouble.

This mother is surely doing her child a great disservice in lying to cover up her embarrassment.

Stephen said...

What my nephew was doing, basically, was pushing boundaries. It didn't get him very far (it never does - as I said, I'm 36 and he's 10, and some things are not up for negotiation). Dinner was lasagne (homemade, by me, and good, though I say so myself.) He attempted to eat it by shovelling it onto bread and then scooping it into his mouth, rather like the way you'd eat a curry off naan bread in a hardcore Indian restaurant in Bradford. This wasn't going to wash - he had a knife and fork, he knows how to use them, and the rule is that he has to sit at the table and eat his dinner properly. That means fork in the left hand, knife in the right hand, sit up straight, no elbows on the table, break bread don't cut it, no chewing with his mouth open, eating whatever vegetables are put on his plate (he is, though, allowed genuine likes and dislikes - I won't make him eat raw tomatoes, for example), and asking to leave the table if he finishes before the adults. He has to follow those rules in private, never mind in public - his Dad doesn't subscribe to the idea that he should be expected to behave better in public than at home, and neither do his Grandma or I. And while there was a discussion, tonight, about his behaviour, it was fairly short (you know the sort of thing - eat your dinner properly or there's no dessert and you don't get to play out after dinner.) He's a kid. Even the best kids sometimes act up. But he also knows he isn't going to win in that situation - not with me, not with his Grandma, and *certainly* not with his Dad - and there wasn't a scene.

My mother - his Grandma - tells the story of *my* grandfather (now long deceased) telling her, once, that she was being very fierce with my brother and I over table manners. Her response was that yes, she was, but she could take us anywhere and she knew we'd behave. My Dad, in particular, was quite uncompromising about choosing restaurants for children - we were taken to very grown-up places from a relatively early age, places where you wouldn't necessarily think of taking children, and we were expected, in those places, to behave in a way that was absolutely respectful of the fact that those places were for grown-ups. There's a much wider choice of casual restaurants in Britain now than there was in the 70s when my brother and I were small children, but I don't, actually, think that being taken to those places did us any harm.

gemoftheocean said...

Stephen, right on!!! His future dates will thank you and the rest of the family firm. I was expected to use the same manners at home as "out" too. [In the US, it's fork in left hand as you cut with the right, then the fork gets laid down on plate catty-corner at the top, then the fork is transferred to the right hand. And no, you can't cut it up all at once. Opposite if one is left handed.]

One of my cousins and his wife rode herd on his two kids and when they were quite young (7 & 5) I remember when they visited we had gone out to quite a nice Japanese restaurant and they behaved impeccably. AND they were able to carry on nice little conversations, assuming you didn't want to chat about the IMF or somesuch. The hard work at home paid off. You could confidently take them ANYWHERE. Whereas another cousin's kid was a total pain in the ass and you wouldn't want to take her anywhere until she was much older. [Served dear old dad right, because he was the same as a youngster!!! ;-D Payback's a bitch and a bag of chips and all that.]

A.T.: UNREAL!!! like airlines don't have to deal with complaint's of kids kicking seats all the time? Sheesh. Was it the steward/stewardess's first flight ever?

gemoftheocean said...

I don't know why they can't be like we were 'perfect in every way'♫?

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine letting my children behave like that. Although the 2 yr old doesn't spend the whole time sitting at the table when we are in a resturant she never gets to kick anything-and the 4 and 6 yr olds know how to sit.
It's not rocketscience. I'm sure all parents whose children have no learning problems can teach them.
I think a lot of parents are afraid to use any discipline in public these days though.
Over here the NSPCC might want to take your kids off you.

gemoftheocean said...

mum, there are busybodies over here who try that too. But I'm with you. Certainly by age 4/6 there should be some basic control. I.e. "not allowed to run around restaurants like hellions. And be reasonably quiet. I think most people are pastient with parents who have "terrible twos." Terrible 2 is one thing -- everyone goes through it -- but "terrible 7,8,9" is insufferable!

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