Something happened yesterday that really irked me.
I took Lola and Lucas to a sandwich shop that we have passed dozens of times and Lucas and I have said that we want to try. We are loyal patrons of Subway, but love sandwiches and will try them anywhere.
Sandwich World is in a strip mall filled with mechanics and other auto repair shops.
It wasn’t even noon yet and nearly an hour before we typically eat lunch.
As soon as we entered the restaurant I scanned the walls for highchairs. I didn’t see any but then again Lola, at 18 months old is in a refusal to sit in a highchair for mealtime phase anyway. It’s challenging to take her out these days, but I was willing to try.
We waited our turn in line and while I ordered and paid for sandwiches for the three of us, Lucas picked out two bags of potato chips for us to share. Then we found a table with four chairs. Lola took the seat next to Lucas. While we waited for our order I opened a bag of chips and doled them out to both children.
Lola was having fun putting hers in a small empty water cup. Our table was wobbly and I grabbed a few sugar packets to try to study it with very little luck. Lucas repetitively asked if he could go to the beverage station and fill all three water cups. I asked him to wait thinking wobbly table and water cups don’t mix.
There were a dozen tables in the entire place, the majority meant for two people. Only three were for three or four diners. Two of those were occupied and we were seated in the one in between those.
There was a group of four men to one side of us and a woman seated alone to the other.
To me the woman appeared middle-aged, short convenient haircut, little to no make up, tank top and khakis with a laptop open, several papers and file folders spread out across the table. She was talking on her phone when we first sat down. I saw a paper plate with crumbs and a half eaten sandwich covered partially by a wadded up napkin. Presumably she already had her lunch and was now using the table as a makeshift office.
The men were talking quietly amongst themselves.
Lola was in good spirits but definitely starting to get rowdy by bouncing around in her chair. She thinks she’s such a big girl now that she is avoiding highchairs. At one point the chair slipped out from underneath her and she fell on the floor. Good thing for cushy diapers. I tended to her quickly and she cried for less than a minute. I was able to distract her with an airplane flying overhead. She was soon back to munching on Doritos.
Between the table, Lola’s high energy and Lucas’s continued desperation to fill our water cups, I felt the best move would be to get our sandwiches to go. Sometimes as a parent you just know things have the potential of going south quickly and even if there were only 6-7 other people trying to enjoy their lunch, I’m mindful of my children getting unruly and my patience running thin.
I told Lucas as soon as they called our number I was going to have lunch bagged up and we would go home to eat. The woman sitting behind us said very loudly, “Yes, that would be a good idea.” And it wasn’t in a “Oh, I’ve been there, you’re awfully brave to bring two children out to lunch.” sort of way, if you know what I mean. I have found in my six years of motherhood that mothers are typically empathetic and sympathetic to one another even long after their children are grown. I know I am when I am out without my children. We are all in this together and a little understanding can go a long way.
Normally one to avoid confrontation and stew over it later thinking up all of the perfect things I could’ve and should’ve said, like I did the first and only other time a restaurant patron said something out of line directly to me (Speechless, December 2009), I simply said, “I didn’t ask you.”, to which she mumbled something about quitting while I was ahead or leaving well enough alone.
I didn’t want to get into with her but the last time I checked Sandwich World wasn’t an office and rowdy or not, my children and I had every right to be there.
People who make annoying comments like this when you’re in the thick of trying to keep things under control or reaching a decision to leave an establishment to the benefit of all parties involved either never had children or don’t remember being children.
Has anything like this ever happened to you? How did you react?
Incidentally, Sandwich World sandwiches were good enough, but I think we will stick to Subway.
And while on the topic of children in restaurants, if you missed my friend, Janelle’s (Renegade Mothering) tongue in cheek post, Don’t be a Dick in Restaurants, it is a must read. The comments are kind of the best part.