Day 259. Appalling Behaviour

I escaped to Starbucks Saturday morning, in an effort to get out of my cleaning lady’s way.  Well, in an effort to avoid the chores she’d have given me, if I’d stayed home.  I noisykidhad some writing to do, so staying home wasn’t an option anyway.  I’d never have been able to concentrate with all the tumult and the noise from the vacuum.

When I first arrived it was very quiet.  There were only about five or six other people.  Shocking, really.  It’s always packed in there.  Not that I was complaining, mind you.

Got a yoghurt and a coffee and snagged a seat at the harvest table, which is my preference.  More room to spread out.  Didn’t take long before I was totally engrossed in what I was doing.  Oblivious to anything going on around me.  Unaware of anyone coming or going.  Didn’t even have a clue what time it was.

Suddenly there was a blood curdling scream directly behind me.  And I do mean blood curdling.  High pitched enough to shatter glass; not to mention your ear drums.  I jumped.  Make that levitated.  About a foot off my chair.  I knew it had come out of a young child, but I didn’t know what had caused it.

From the sound of it, attempted murder would have been a pretty good guess.

So I turned around.  Little girl, maybe two years old, with her parents.  I’m presuming they were her parents.  She looked like the mother.  The man and the woman both wore wedding rings.  They looked, and acted,  like a couple.  Whatever that means.

Anyway, by the time I could see her, the kid looked like butter would melt in her mouth.  The parents weren’t paying the slightest bit of attention to her.  They’d given her some croissant to either eat, or amuse herself with.  And her own cup with some juice in it.  They were chatting away to each other, sipping their coffees.  They were sharing a bagel.

Nothing seemed amiss so I went back to my work.  The way the kid had screamed, it sounded like she was being tortured.  But it sure didn’t look that way.  So no need to call the cops.  Hey, you never know.  Honestly, it sounded like they were abusing her.  I wasn’t the only one who was staring at them.

Five or so minutes went by, and it happened again.  My head did another 360.  Mommy and daddy were still engrossed in each other.  The child let loose again.  Mommy and daddy didn’t move a muscle.

By now the place was filling up.  And everyone, even other kids, were focussed on this, one table.  Some staring.  Some glaring.  Most shaking their heads in annoyance.

I don’t have kids so I know my tolerance for this kind of stuff is low.  I know kids get bored.  And tired.  And hungry.  And cranky.  But come on, now.  You didn’t need to be a child psychologist to figure out this kid wanted attention.  Frankly, she probably wanted a few other things as well, but I’ll keep my opinion to myself.  Don’t need child protection services ringing my door bell.

Would you believe me if I told you this went on for about another ten or fifteen minutes?

To be honest, I thought of leaving.  And then thought, what the hell!  Why should I leave?  They should have been the ones leaving.  They should have told her to be quiet, or gotten her out of there.  Actually, what they really should have done, was to have paid attention to her in the first place.  Talked to her.  Brought a toy for her, at least.  Not just plunked her down in a chair and forgot she was even there.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t mind a little noise.  Kids are kids.  But this was not a little noise.  She was literally disturbing the peace.  And everyone was getting pissed off.  It was unnecessary.  It could have been stopped easily.  It should have been stopped.  And therein is the problem.

In my opinion, it’s the parents who are to blame.  What does a two year old know?  Unless a parent teaches them.

My parents NEVER spanked me.  They never even raised their voices.  But I knew what was acceptable behaviour and what was not.  They took me everywhere.  To restaurants, shopping, on trips, to visit friends and family.  From the time I was a baby.  When I did something wrong, I was told not to do it.  When I was old enough to understand, they explained why what I did was wrong.  And why I shouldn’t do it again.

It wasn’t rocket science.  It was parenting.  Good parenting.

If you’re not up for it, don’t have children.

(This has been a public service announcement)

22 thoughts on “Day 259. Appalling Behaviour

  1. After being around a kid for the past several days, I don’t know how the parents could ignore her. My friends certainly corrected their son when he got out of line. There were several times they said, “just ignore him” bit that was when they saw he was looking for an audience.

    • I know. My first inclination was the kid’s a brat, but really it was the parents’ fault. Who knows? Maybe she’s a lot to handle and this happens all the time. But ignoring her isn’t going to make it better. I wanted to strangle all of them.

  2. It’s mind blowing. I’m certainly not Mother of the Year, but I expect manners from my children in public and at home, and it wasn’t easy getting them there. But the teaching starts at home! Example: when my oldest was 3, she once had a 15-minute tantrum because I wouldn’t give her what she wanted until she said “please.” I just ignored her, went about my business cleaning the kitchen while she screamed her head off, demanding whatever she wanted (can’t even remember anymore; something trivial). Was it easy? Hell, no! But it was done in the privacy of our home, and the exercise paid off. These days, I’m complimented all the time on how well-mannered my children are. Something that’s sorely missing from American, and apparently, Canadian society.

  3. I once was a member of a table of 10 when there was a small child commotion at a nearby table which continued for what seemed like an eternity but was about 5 minutes we complained to management who took no action – we all stood up to leave with main meal still on our table – there was a scurry to the offending table, they were asked to vacate the premises which they did after some argument, we returned to our meal – hope the other party learned their lesson.

    • Hope so. But you never know. There are a lot of parents out there who think their little darlings can do no wrong. That they should be allowed to ‘express themselves’ freely. So they don’t grow up to be repressed.

  4. My turn, my turn 🙂 if we do things wrong we get criticized but, as it happened to me, I did things”right” and I still got a full ear… We used to eat every Sunday at a restaurant with the in-laws, I only had my little girl then, my brother-in-law would not waste the chance to say I was over-everything: protective, reacting, parenting when I would not let my daughter get off the highchair and walk around the restaurant… He even predicted that by the time she turned 15 she would run away from home if I kept her tied to that highchair… I’d always have a small backpack with colors and books to keep her entertained…All the while, the only thing I was trying to avoid was a waiter/waitress bumping into her and spilling the tray’s content on her… Today she’s 12 and with clear intentions of never leaving my side… Joking! She has no resentments… And I did the same with my son… Ha! We’ll see what the future brings 🙂

  5. Starbucks just isn’t for kids, they should have have got takeaway coffee and taken her to the park, somewhere they could engage with her and in between carry on their own conversation. Kids get bored sitting while adults drink coffee and chat, it heightens the fact they are being ignored.

    When my two were toddlers and we were living in NZ, we only took them to the one cafe that had created a kiddie corner with toys and also served mini cups of milk, called a “fluffy” frothy milk with a couple of marshmallows on the side – it was so popular, these kids really started to get the coffee culture because they were involved and the cafe had adapted their menu and their environment to them. But still, half an hour is enough!

    • Love the idea of the “fluffy” in mini cups for the kids. Brilliant. But I agree. Of course the kid was bored. I’ve seen lots of kids in Starbucks with a parent, or both parents. But they don’t stay long and they talk to them. This kid would have been bored anywhere. No one was paying any attention to her at all.

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