When The Crying Baby At Brunch Gets Asked To Leave
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
My niece Lola was not at brunch, I just love this photo of her and wanted to use it.
So let me set the scene for you.
Last week on New Years Eve day, my sister and I went to brunch. She was in Chicago with her husband and two kids for a few days and managed to sneak away for a couple of hours on her own so she and I could workout and grab a quick bite to eat.
I say "sneak away" because the night previous she had endured a nine hour car trip with two young kids. You would need to sneak away too.
After our workout we had one hour to eat before she had to get back to her kids to take them to a bouncy house balloon drop thing for a big kids NYE (daytime) celebration. Or something like that, I didn't really get it. I just knew our time was limited.
So we walked into brunch and were seated two tables away from an angrily crying toddler. It was the kind of scream where it sounds like there's something gurgling in the throat, where it makes you wonder if there's actually damage being done to the vocal chords. Like this kid is pissed.
My sister and I shrug it off because like I said, she has two kids. Knox is 5 and Lola is 2.5- a grumpy 2.5 I might add. It's just a stage... In the photo above she's crying because she didn't have any more Play Doh tubs to stack.
Anyway. We ordered our food, had a Bloody Mary, and 25 minutes later the kid is still screaming. He had not settled down for a second.
I couldn't help myself, I had to turn around and access the situation.
From where I sat, I couldn't see the kid because it appeared he was sprawled out across the booth. The woman who seemed to be his mom was next to him. On the outside, her expression looked indifferent. Not making a judgment, just a quick observation. It was as if she was letting him "cry it out."
I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with the cry it out method... when you're in the privacy of your own home. Or at least not in a packed restaurant. Says a person who's never had kids, so I understand that my opinion means nothing.
But by now everyone was starting to look around wondering what is going on? This had been happening since we walked in, so I'm not sure how long it started before we even got there. And this place was packed so it was a little slower than usual- which was to be expected, it was a holiday.
"I just feel bad for the kid, he seems really upset," my sister said.
When her kids start crying at a restaurant they have about ten seconds before she scoops them up and takes them to the bathroom, or outside, or anywhere to get the hell out. But most of the time she doesn't even bring them. "It's just not worth it," she says. "We can take a couple years off from going out to eat, it's not a huge deal."
About 45 minutes in (since we had been there) the manager walked over to the crying table and from what we could hear, politely told the patrons they had two options- they either needed to calm the baby down, or box up their food and leave as soon as they could.
He also said the restaurant would be paying for their meal. I've heard about this happening, but I've never actually witnessed it.
I know it's a touchy topic and people have a lot of feelings about crying babies in public.
After all, we've all been babies before. And you don't have to have a child to know it's hard as hell to be that mom or dad sitting with a crying baby.
But... could this situation have been handled differently? I don't know. Kids terrify me.
So what do you think? Did the manager do the right thing?