My new favorite blog: Control Your Kids. I’m way late in weighing in on the Taste of Heaven controversy, but oh well. The bug remains up my ass, because of crap like this:
“The looks I would get when I went in there made me so nervous that I would try to buy the food as fast as I could and get out,” said Laura Brauer, 40, who has stopped visiting A Taste of Heaven with her two children. “I think that the mothers who allow their kids to run around and scream, that’s wrong, but kids scream and there is nothing you can do about it. What are we supposed to do, not enjoy ourselves at a cafe?”
Ding ding ding ding ding! You got it! Teach your kids some manners or stay home. I love that the defense is always, “But kids scream! How is that my fault?” Well, it’s not your fault, per se. (Or, at least, I can’t prove it’s your fault.) It’s just your goddamn responsibility. Can you stop every single public tantrum before it starts? Of course not. And no one expects you to. What we expect is that you fucking react when your kid loses his shit in public, or moves more than 12 inches away from your table. We expect that you put down your coffee and do something when your kid is ruining everyone else’s experience, rather than smugly exercising your right to “enjoy yourself.” I enjoy singing at the top of my lungs, masturbating, and popping bubble wrap for several minutes at a time, but I don’t think I have a right to do any of those things in a restaurant, because there are other people there. Likewise, you have no right to be laissez-faire about your kids’ behavior when it affects other people. That’s not discrimination against people with children; it’s reality.
And for the record, I’m not talking about infants starting to cry for no apparent reason, or developmentally delayed kids, like my nephew, who can be extraordinarily difficult to calm. I’m not talking about kids who continue being a pain in the ass for a couple minutes while the parent clearly makes every effort to get the situation under control. All of those things are still irritating, but I usually just shoot the parents a sympathetic look in those cases, because they’re obviously doing their best. I’m not talking about people who are doing their best.
In fact, I’m probably not talking about anyone who would even have the self-awareness to wonder if I’m talking about them. The parents I’m talking about–and you’ll see them all over the place if you scroll through the Control Your Kids blog–are the ones who sit there and tune it out, or at most toss a weak “Unacceptable!” over their shoulders, while the kid continues to wreak havoc, and then just shrug like, “I told him it was unacceptable! What am I supposed to do? Insist that he respect my authority or suffer some sort of… consequence? He’s a child! All I am is… the adult responsible for him! I don’t have that kind of power!”
Gah. I am just done with people who are utterly shocked by the revelation that parenting is exhausting and stressful, and thus assume it ought to come with a special dispensation for boorishness. “You’re not a parent! You don’t know!” No, see, I do know–I’ve been a nanny, a day care worker, and an aunt to five frequently obnoxious children–and that is why I’m not a parent. I know from toddler tantrums, believe me; I used to spend my working days wrangling 11 18-month-olds. E. lev. en. of them. And I’ve seen my siblings and friends ripping their hair out, shouting and threatening to no avail, using their last ounce of energy to open a bottle of wine they never get to drink because suddenly one of the kids is screaming in pain, and you can’t just tune that shit out. I know full well having kids cramps your style in ways I would find intolerable, and so I have chosen not to.
But if I ever change my mind, I will do so with the understanding that my ability to sip stress-free lattes in public will be suspended for several years, because my priority will have to be ensuring that my children don’t infringe on anyone else’s right to sip stress-free lattes. That is hard fucking work; I’m not underestimating it. I’m just saying, it’s the job you signed up for, so do it. You get to enjoy the miracle of having created life; let the rest of us enjoy our fucking coffees.