Monday, October 5, 2009

A Wild Time at the Finn Inn: A Rant About Kid-Haters

Our 18 month old son is our little comedian. He is bright, full of life, curious, strong and WILD! If there is one thing that I adore about parenting it is watching my children experience the world with such zest for life. Sundays at our house are “fairy” day, as my 4 year old daughter calls it. I call it Family day, but she misunderstood me and since fairy day is much more fun, we’re going with it. This week we decided to take a drive up to Grafton, IL along the Great River Road. We had a great time checking out the local shops, exploring down by the river and, of course, eating. We decided to take the kids to the Finn Inn – an interesting little place that has aquariums with fresh water fish at each table. The dining area is set up like a maze to maximize the number of tables that have a view of the fish, resulting in quaint little alcoves. We thought we were lucky because we landed in one of the little alcoves with only 3 tables, which meant we could let our kids have some fun.

Now, let me explain our idea of “fun”: 1. Of course we do our best to teach table manners to our kids, but they are 4 and 1 – and that is a challenge for any parent. 2. If my kids want to get excited over breadsticks and squeal with joy – ROCK ON kids…I love that they love food. 3. I let them pick what they want to eat – and as you know, sometimes it takes a 4 year old some time to make a decision. Patience is a virtue.

So, here we are at this crazy place with giant fish swimming around at our table – my kids were in heaven!!! We knew from the beginning there was NO way Grady was going to stand for being trapped in a high chair with tankfulls of fish just within reach. This was evident after we placed him in said highchair and he flung a spoon past the table next to us nearly hitting the woman I will heretofore call sourpuss. Of course, my husband and I were horrified and apologized profusely. I think sourpuss grunted in response and her husband whimpered something too. My husband and I exchanged glances knowing that this has set the tone for dinner…we were now next to a kid-hating table and we were doomed.

I try not to care, and let Grady sit next to me in the booth. He was so excited and we had a hard time keeping him off the table so he could get a closer look at the fish. The table next to us was barely speaking. They were a dark cloud hanging over our sunshiney day. One of the gentlemen behind us had a t-shirt that said “If YouTube Myspace I’ll Google Your Yahoo” – and as if the t-shirt weren’t ludicrous enough, it also was adorned with a giant puppy dog in the middle. Grady, eyes the puppy dog and patted its head and saying Puppy…Puppy. We regularly shout “good job” and applause when he correctly identifies a picture, so he was just doing what we have trained him to do (be smart). Anyway, the guy was visibly unhappy with the petting…once again I apologized profusely only to get a mumble in return and the dark cloud became lower and darker.
Then came the pièce de résistance – the breadsticks came and my kids booth shouted “oooohhhh Coooool” “YAY YAY YAY” “BREAD”. I know what you’re thinking - Yes- we feed them regularly. They just get SUPER excited about food. Anyway…the black cloud harrumphed and gnawed…then started growling about how THEY try to keep THEIR family away from that GREASE…and stick to grilled tilapia and rice. (NEWSFLASH: YOUR TILAPIA SUCKS – AND IT HAS ½ LB. OF BUTTER ON IT SOURPUSS).
So, we all get our lunch and enjoy food was thrown, everyone was happy – life was good again. After dinner I could still feel the dark cloud looming over us and Grady was getting antsy, so I took him outside to wait. After we left my husband reported that the black cloud convo suddenly became lively as they proclaimed: “That is why WE never had children” “Well at least I can KEEP CONTROL of my children”.

REALLY???? REALLY Mother Superior???? Let me just tell YOU something: The world is a better place because of my two gorgeous, bright, curious, smart, loud, wild children. I will NEVER apologize again for their glee, happiness and zeal for life. If you don’t like it, then YOU get out of OUR way. And for the couple who was proud that they had never had children – GOOD. Thank GOD for not breeding more haters. Life is for the living - let us be happy!

Parents, please share your restaurant war stories as well as tips on how to keep your meals sane. Thanks for reading my RANT. I feel much better now!


  1. As a dad with two very young daughters – ages 20 months and 5 weeks – I often feel dread when going out to eat. My youngest one pretty much just sleeps, burps and well, poos. Sorry for the vivid imagery there. So she’s pretty much OK most of the time. But like yours, my oldest daughter is also a wild child, and wants to say “hi” to everyone, wave, and make barking dog noises every chance she gets. What can I say…she loves her some pooches. As an introvert myself, I am often horrified and embarrassed about what other people must be thinking when they are sitting there eating their exquisite $9.99 steak from Applebees. “Can’t they shut their kids up? I mean really – I can’t hear the NASCAR race on the TV”. But you are absolutely right. Her new, young life should be celebrated at every opportunity, and her (very vocal) expressions should not be feared or looked down upon. So I will make a vow to myself to join in and wave at other people right along with her, and maybe even toss a bread stick or two. Or at least use them as drumsticks. Thanks for the entertaining and encouraging post!

  2. Ah I can't stand the restaurant haters! You can always tell the ones who never had kids! We always let the kids stack up the sugar packets on the table, and sometimes have been known to sing the blessing!

  3. You tell them! I've had the judgmental looks from across the restaurant when my 18 mo old shouts at the top of his lungs. No reason, just because he wanted to. And I say let him. You're only a kid once, let them enjoy it.