Restaurant Species Guide
"The Stroller People"
You can see the herd from a far off distance...
You can almost heat the rattling of plastic bags of Cheerios.
The rumble of SUV sized strollers shakes the very foundation and soul of a waiter.
There is little discipline or order to the herd, the adolescents run amuck while their elders sit oblivious to the wanton destruction.
I have heard rumors from some of the "lifer" servers about days gone by where children were "well behaved" and "such darlings."
Mind you these rumors are of events taken place over a decade ago.
Often a pair of mothers come in and maneuver their Hummer-stroller into the most inconvenient place possible, often a main aisle or abutting a neighboring table so as no one can or will want to sit there.
There's really nothing like clipping through the restaurant with a full tray of drinks or food and nearly colliding with one of these behemoths, really there are better places where these belong, just ask.
After parking this monstrosity they will then ask for a high chair and place it in the 2nd most inconvenient spot, right on a tight aisle.
Sometimes they remove the "escape hatch" of a car seat and place it right in the middle of the table or "boof."
If you are lucky they will ask if you have anything for their spawn "to do."
How bout have a meaningful conversation with their parents and include them in your lives?
I guess you mean crackers or cornbread, anything messy.
Sorry, we don't have any, not where I work at least.
But worry not!
Many parents are prepared to occupy their children!
With activity books or education and spelling books you ask?
Nope, with the aforementioned Cheerios, which the child will hurl as far and wide as possible, maybe 1 in 10 will make it into the mouth.
While the young yuppie mothers sit there and chat about how shitty their husbands are or what $500 purse to buy with said husband's credit card, where are the children?
Often running about screaming, playing hide and seek or even walking into the kitchen...
Then an apologetic and exasperated parent will often apologize for their children's behavior.
How about apologizing for you lack of attention or discipline?
When I was younger such things were not tolerated, a warning trip to the bathroom was all that was usually needed to keep me in line.
Of course that's probably why I gave my parents so much frustration later in life, but that's a different story for another day.
It's not only the staff's frustrations that should be taken into account, how about the other diners?
Often there are complaints about the noise and distraction of screaming kids.
The few times I have seen tables with unruly children approached the waiter/manager has been subject to harsh reproach.
"How dare someone tell us how to raise our kids!"
Well you obviously can't, someone's got to do it.
A restaurant can also be a dangerous place.
I don't think any parent or waiter would want a child hurt in a restaurant.
How unsafe is it when parents put their children in the path of customers and staff?
Steaming hot food served on large trays with heavy plates can be quite the worry, I don't want to know what the result of that hitting a kid on the head would be.
Kids in the kitchen can get run over by quickly moving cooks and servers, not to mention the hot oil, flame, steam and knives they contain.
Is it hard to raise children?
Is it hard to discipline children?
It didn't used to be, but everyone is too worried about hurting their feelings or stifling their creativity.
Really, I think that is becoming a cop-out for a parent's lack of discipline.
Throw the kids a Game Boy instead of reading to them.
Wear them as accessories and pawn them off on the nanny or babysitter when you're bored.
Hire a tutor, why would a parent help their child with schoolwork, you're too busy!
Too many important things to do!
Or maybe just give them a bag of Cheerios while you gossip about who's sleeping with who or what purse you're going to buy that afternoon.