I realized the fatal flaw in the waitress’s placement of the girls’ booster chairs right next to each other when I witnessed Ruth’s hand shoot out to wave around in her sister’s face. Rose immediately emitted an ear splitting shriek that only children with older siblings know how to do. The eyes of the entire restaurant were on our table as I panicked and attempted to resolve the problem before the girls drew any more attention to us. Ruth, pleased that her hand waving had produced such a satisfactory response, waved her hand in front of Rose’s face again as I dived toward them to separate them. Too late! Rosie’s second shriek rent the air. The lady at the table next to us turned toward me and exclaimed, “God Almighty!” Tears welled up in my eyes as I picked Rosie up and took her outside to walk around. I felt as if the eyes of the entire restaurant followed me as we left the room in shame.
We who have children all know the look. That look that strangers give us when they see us venture out in public with our young children. That look that says, “if your child irritates me in the slightest, I am going to be livid!” And I can sympathize to a certain extent. I know first hand that children behaving badly can be extremely irritating. I also acknowledge that there are certain environments to which children should probably not be brought.
However, those of us with young children do have to leave the house every now and then, not only out of necessity but also for the sake of our sanity. We can’t always get a babysitter. Furthermore, our young children NEED to experience a variety of environments so that they can learn how to behave in public. And unfortunately while learning how to behave in public, they are going to mess up sometimes. We as parents sometimes depend on the patience and understanding of the general public as our children learn.
As for all those looks that you parents feel while your cheeks are burning from embarrassment at your toddler’s meltdown, I like to think that some of those looks are actually the sympathetic looks of parents who have been there. And they are thinking to themselves, Hang in there, mama. It may be hard now, but it is well worth it in the end.