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Or is this an odd thing to do in Mcdonalds ?

(83 Posts)
OhDearNigel Wed 25-Sep-13 19:09:12

My Dd is not yet 4 so i don't know whether the following is odd or normal

Took DD today and she ran to sit with a girl who was on her own. So i sat with her, assuming that the woman standing behind the girl was her mum. It then became clear she wasn't. The girl was chatting away and as time went by i thought "she doesn't seem to be with anyone". So nudged the conversation in the direction of her school, how old she was etc. she was 7, thinking that i may end up having to do something. We had been there about 35 minutes with no sign of an adult when a suitable opportunity to ask "are you waiting to be picked up" arose.

To which she pointed at a man with a baby and said "my dad's over there". blush he was right over the other side of the restaurant with his back towards us, separated by a partition. He had not realised she was talking to me until she went over and he came to apologise for her bothering me. She wasn't with any friends when we went in where, just sitting sadly on her own in the middle of the restaurant.

Is it just me or is this a very odd thing to do with a 7 year old child ?

ShakeRattleNRoll Wed 25-Sep-13 19:10:28

Maybe she was on the Mcnaughty chair

IsThatTrue Wed 25-Sep-13 19:10:37

Maybe she wanted to sit on her own. Kids can be weird sometimes.

SaucyJack Wed 25-Sep-13 19:11:23

Do you honestly think he made her go and sit on her own?!

D0G Wed 25-Sep-13 19:11:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OhDearNigel Wed 25-Sep-13 19:13:43

I sat with her because dd had already sat down with her and there were no other seats - it was one of those high, communal bench things they have

ShakeRattleNRoll Wed 25-Sep-13 19:13:54

Yeah and whats more chat to the kid for a full 35 minutes without ascertaining where the parents are .Thats bizarre

Oldraver Wed 25-Sep-13 19:13:58

35 minutes in McDonalds ?

LeoTheLateBloomer Wed 25-Sep-13 19:14:42

I'm with D0G - your behaviour was more strange.

redskyatnight Wed 25-Sep-13 19:14:46

Maybe he assumed that his DD knew yours and was perfectly happy there? I'd be ok with my DD doing this as long as the other family had no issues (and I assumed they'd ask the child to go away if they did).

lagertops Wed 25-Sep-13 19:15:00

Yeah, I think you sitting down with a random child is quite strange. I also think that waiting 35 minutes until asking where her parents are is also a bit odd.

edam Wed 25-Sep-13 19:15:24

Very strange indeed. He didn't look for her for 35 minutes?!

picnicbasketcase Wed 25-Sep-13 19:15:46

It's odd for him to not realise where his kid is for that long. It's odd for you to chat to a complete stranger for that long too.

ShakeRattleNRoll Wed 25-Sep-13 19:16:36

For me to ask where her parents were would happen within the first seconds of meeting her.I don't understand why you waited so long to find out what was going on with her .35 minutes is a long time

lagertops Wed 25-Sep-13 19:16:38

I see what you mean about those communal tables. But still, 35 mins?

redskyatnight Wed 25-Sep-13 19:16:55

I'd be surprised if he didn't know where she was - he probably just thought she was fine there.

OhDearNigel Wed 25-Sep-13 19:18:24

I was chatting to her because that's how long it took DD to eat her meal and the girl was sitting there all the time. I chatted to her because i do not believe that adults should never interact with strange children. Also as i was sitting opposite her and she started talking to me it would have been odd if i had ignored her surely ?

AlpacaPicnic Wed 25-Sep-13 19:19:20

I used to like sitting on my own in wimpy showing my age it made me feel grownup! I realise now how odd I was as a child...

OhDearNigel Wed 25-Sep-13 19:19:47

Shake you would really sit next to a child and immediately ask why they weren't accompanied ?
As i explained in my OP, i thought the woman standing behind her was her mum

My DC love those high benches in McD's and I hate them, so I allow them to sit on their own there if they want - I do keep an eye on them though...

ShakeRattleNRoll Wed 25-Sep-13 19:22:47

Yeah but Nigel thats not the problem chatting to the girl but not to find out where her parents were for your own peace of mind and theres ,it just goes to show how oblivious you are to this situation,Why would you want to to engage with a child of 7 years old unacompanied for 35 minutes without knowing what was happening with that child?

SecretWitch Wed 25-Sep-13 19:24:44

I think her father's behaviour was off. To not even glance around for a full thirty minutes and realise your child is sitting with a strange lady (albeit one with a child) seems bizarre. I might have asked in the very beginning where her parents were, as I find it odd for a seven year old to be sitting unaccompanied in a restaurant.

OhDearNigel Wed 25-Sep-13 19:25:24

Look, i did not post on here to argue whether or not i should have interrogated her after 2 seconds or half an hour. My mistake

Floggingmolly Wed 25-Sep-13 19:25:31

Of course you didn't have to ask where her parents were, op, when she was just sharing a communal table. Your behaviour wasn't odd at all hmm. My 6 year old always wants to sit at those high stool things you get in some cafe windows. I let him, but always sit at a table very close by; I certainly wouldn't go to the other side of the restaurant and it with my back to him. The Dad was a bit lax, you were fine.

he had obviously looked over at some point in the 35 mins.

I wouldn't worry if within my eyesight my dc spoke to a adult with their own child with them. I don't see the problem.

an my own dd ssh's me in the street sometimes because she wants to act big and people to think ahe is alone (she is not).

MissStrawberry Wed 25-Sep-13 19:28:20

OP, I can see this thread becoming all about how strange you are to interact with a child you don't know, rather than people actually answering the question.

I have no idea if it is odd to sit a distance away from your children in McDonalds as we have only been about twice and the kids sat with me.

I think it is lovely you gave this child some attention and she obviously enjoyed that otherwise she would have gone back to her father.

If DD wanted to sit on one of those communal bench things, I'd let her but I probably wouldn't sit with her. But I would be keeping a close eye on her and would probably have wandered over to check you were normal say Hi when you started chatting.

So it is weird her dad wasn't aware of where she was or who she was speaking to, it is also a little weird that you didn't ask where her family were sooner.

Floggingmolly Wed 25-Sep-13 19:31:03

Really, picnicbasketcase? You'd have interrogated the child as to where her parents were within seconds of meeting her? Op didn't "meet" her, she shared a communal table; and the Dad could well have been in the loo. None of op's business, really.

OutragedFromLeeds Wed 25-Sep-13 19:33:41

Not knowing what your 7 year old is doing/who they're talking to/where they are for 35 minutes - perfectly good parenting.

Not taking it upon yourself to locate the parents of a strange DC in Macdonalds- you're bizarre/strange/odd.

Yep, that seems right. hmm

Yamyoid Wed 25-Sep-13 19:34:45

I agree, the dad was lax. I admit to having slight helicopter tendencies but even so, 35 minutes is a long time.
I also have a sociable ds so sitting with another child at a communal table would be totally normal to us.

NoComet Wed 25-Sep-13 19:58:52

Climb anything DD1 would sit at those tables on her own when DD2 was too small to do so safely. She'd happily chat to anyone too.

However, I would look over often enough to check she wasn't being too annoying, that you'd see who she was with.

Dad with a baby not doing doesn't surprise me, remember me can't multi task. Feed baby they can cope with, feed baby and watch older child hmm

Sounds like she wanted a high seat and he didn't with the baby

lagertops Wed 25-Sep-13 20:21:15

I know this has nothing to do with anything, but those stupid high seats should be banned anyway. I've seen a small child fall backwards onto his head onto the floor after mucking about on them. The low seats are also stupid as they make grown adults look like they are in a creche.

Plus why oh why would the designers think communal tables are a good idea? My school canteen days are over, I feel odd trying to have a conversation with my friends/ family while there is a stranger in the seat next to me.

LegoAcupuncture Wed 25-Sep-13 20:26:21

She was 7, not 3. My children at that age liked to sit in the higher chairs by themselves while I sat nearby. Quite able to do it themselves at that age tbh.

DoJo Wed 25-Sep-13 21:05:03

Would she had had to pass him were she to leave? If so, then I can imagine him not checking on her - she is old enough to go and find him if she had a problem after all. If not then that is a bit odd not to even check that she's still there, but presumably she's a fairly sensible sort and he trusts her not to bugger about when he's not looking. I don't think either of you are necessarily being unreasonable, but I can see why you might have been surprised if his parenting style was dramatically more relaxed than yours.

DoJo Wed 25-Sep-13 21:05:51

By which I don't mean to imply that you aren't relaxed, just that he is moreso than you!

WorraLiberty England Wed 25-Sep-13 21:09:48

it was one of those high, communal bench things they have

Ahh that'll be it then no doubt.

I've lost count of the amount of times my kids have asked to sit on those and I hate them.

She probably asked if she could go sit on one and he said yes?

gordyslovesheep Germany Wed 25-Sep-13 21:11:49

what Worra said - also my girls like to sit alone - they hate me grin - I think they are being 'sophisticated' and playing mums to their little sister - I have to sit in the corner nursing a diet coke

Cluffyflump Wed 25-Sep-13 21:13:16

The Dad could well have looked over many times and you wouldn't have noticed.

fuckwittery Wed 25-Sep-13 21:15:02

My dd would sit by herself for this long, but I'd clock where she was amd look over every 5 minutes or so.

Jellybeanz1 Wed 25-Sep-13 21:16:43

He was probably using you as free childcare.

ginmakesitallok Wed 25-Sep-13 21:20:42

Dd1 (almost 4) decided that she didn't want to sit with us in a restaurant the other day as we were all stinky... She lifted her plate and went and sat at an empty table across the room. Maybe the daddy was stinky???

picnicbasketcase Wed 25-Sep-13 21:30:06

Floggingmolly hmm - no idea what gave you the impression that I would have searched for the child's parent if I was in the same situation. I would've just moved tables tbh.

WorraLiberty England Wed 25-Sep-13 21:40:12

He probably just didn't want to sit on a stool the height of a skyscraper, that you can't even lean back on.

I often see kids sitting on those things alone because most adults would rather not have to.

OhDearNigel Wed 25-Sep-13 21:46:26

This is why i posted on here smile i had no idea that 7 year olds liked to go off and sit on their own ! I was a proper mummy's girl and dd is too young to want to.

I have to say i quite enjoyed it. I like talking to children, no "side" wink

Floggingmolly Wed 25-Sep-13 21:52:32

picnicbasket. I'm so sorry blush. I was responding to shakeRattleNroll's rather odd post which came after yours. That'll teach me to read the thread properly...

LazyGaga Wed 25-Sep-13 21:59:37

I have a 7 yr old dd. I would feel uneasy if she was sat in another part of a burger place and I couldn't see her. Tbh she'd rarely be in her own as we have two other dc - if they all wanted to sit at a separate table, fair enough, but I'd be close by.

I don't think you're odd for finding it unusual OP.

Bumpotato Wed 25-Sep-13 22:11:36

Who spends 35 minutes at McDogshit's?

OhDearNigel Wed 25-Sep-13 22:27:37

Hmmmm, i don't remember posting "I spent 35 minutes in maccy d's. Aibu ?"

Although, apparently, it was buried somewhere in the subtext

ProudAS Thu 26-Sep-13 06:34:48

I used to do that on buses - wanted a bit of independance.

Idocrazythings Thu 26-Sep-13 06:39:24

I think it's odd, that a parent would not know what their child was up to for 35min (at least) in a public space. Especially a young trusting one who will talk to any stranger.

I sometimes get children coming up and talking to us at parks etc., I would never ignore them either.

Gracie990 Thu 26-Sep-13 06:44:26

I don't think that you should have sat with her.
I leave my eldest sat down while I order. I would have been very concerned if you had joined her! Very concerned!

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Thu 26-Sep-13 06:47:30

Nigel, you're not a newbie! How did you not know that any AIBU with the word 'McDonalds' in it will end up with you being at fault just by being in the damn place?

kelda Thu 26-Sep-13 06:49:16

I assume the father had seen that someone else (you and your dd) was sitting with his daughter, and found another place for himself.

He was probably keeping an eye on her.

Tee2072 Thu 26-Sep-13 06:56:37

FFS Nigel did nothing wrong. The dad was odd.

Really Gracie? In the middle of McDonald's? What exactly concerns you in that scenario?

Growlithe Thu 26-Sep-13 07:22:12

But OP if you didn't know who her parent was in the middle of a packed McDs, how would you know he wasn't constantly turning and looking over? confused

He's probably got himself and the baby a seat and she wanted to sit on the high seat. He was probably stuck then, as he couldn't leave the baby alone and check on her, and he couldn't take the baby to check on her because he didn't want to lose his own table.

If she was 7 that would be Y3. Although I wouldn't let mine I've seen some Y3s walking to school alone. I think this is the age that parents start to differ in opinion over how much independence to give their children, and wouldn't judge someone for having different views than mine.

kelda Thu 26-Sep-13 07:32:04

I think it is odd that the OP and her dd joined a child sitting alone at a table.

But then I think it is very odd to go into a Macdonalds so busy there are no free tables. I would ahve gone somewhere else. Or home.

SHarri13 Thu 26-Sep-13 07:43:24

Kelda, I don't know of one local mcdonalds that isn't absolutely heaving after school!

I think it is odd OP. I don't understand why people think you are odd for sitting next to this girl if your daughter had already sat there especially given that you though there was a parent next to you at the beginning.

Good old AIBU turning the OP into some kind of loon despite the fact that the scenario IS odd. Some people would argue black is white here!

OhDearNigel Thu 26-Sep-13 07:44:24

I'll make this simple as some of you seem to struggle with reading english

I ordered. dd ran and sat down with this little girl as she, also likes the high chairs. Ergo i went and sat with the pair of them.

I did not realise it was a mumsnet crime to sit with unaccompanied children. Or to go into a busy restaurant so that you are, shock horror, forced to sit next to strangers that might talk to you, perish the thought Or for a toddler to take 35 minutes eating her dinner. Hey ho, you learn something new every day.

Fortunately for me i she doesn't drink fruit shoots so i suppose I have a slight shot at redemption

kelda Thu 26-Sep-13 07:49:32

In that case ohdearnigel, maybe the father didn't realise it was a 'crime' not to sit with his daughter.

OhDearNigel Thu 26-Sep-13 07:59:30

I did not say it was a "crime". As i don't have a 7 year old i asked if it was odd and some people have seen it fit to respond to the question itself rather than getting sidetracked by why i was there.

Tee2072 Thu 26-Sep-13 08:01:04

Classic MN on here. Perhaps come post on the bullying thread Nigel? grin

Seriously people, read the fucking OP.

MiddleRageSpread Thu 26-Sep-13 08:04:06

OP, yes a bit unusual, but to be fair you don't know that the Dad hadn't 'clocked' you and been observing regularly because he wasn't on your radar.

But as well as acknowledging that older kids enjoy a bit of independence, especially the glamour of sitting on a high bench, that parents of older children are also sensitive to the fact that you gaily engaged her in the kind of conversation that we are all trying to teach our kids to avoid with strangers. Anything that identifies them or makes them easy to find, like name of school. So many people are viewing your eager conversation with the child with some hmm.

kelda Thu 26-Sep-13 08:08:16

grin that's exactly why I put 'crime' in speech marks because I used the word 'odd' as well.

GhostsInSnow Thu 26-Sep-13 09:08:38

Mine preferred the breakfast bar style tables. Horrid things. I've done the same in the past and left them to sit there on their own. In the situation you describe though I'd probably have nipped over, said 'its ok, she's with me, I can't sit on these things and I'm just over there' and left them to it.
I wouldn't have left them to it without saying something for 35 minutes though.

I had a McChicken Nugget happy meal last night AND a strawberry milkshake. I'm 39. A special place in hell awaits me. I enjoyed it wink

JesusInTheCabbageVan Thu 26-Sep-13 09:17:10

This is just bizarre. OP just did a fairly normal thing, surely. She found herself sitting next to a random unsupervised child, by accident, not by design. Waited a decent period of time before checking she was safe and OK, in a subtle, non-alarmist way.

If she'd said she avoided her completely, or sat next to her but didn't say anything, she would get stomped until she was a little pile of bloody mush. She would.

Who spends 35 minutes in McDonalds? A mum taking full advantage of quiet, happy eating DC and having a nice, quiet sit-down, that's who.

JesusInTheCabbageVan Thu 26-Sep-13 09:18:38

Oh, and in case it isn't clear, YANBU!

God alive.

JesusInTheCabbageVan Thu 26-Sep-13 09:22:45

Oh, and ANOTHER thing. The girl was chatting to her! Was she meant to grab her by the ears, bellow "DON'T TALK TO STRANGERS!" in her face and then stalk off, bosom aloft, having wolfed her meal so quickly she met herself arriving on the way out?

LazyGaga Thu 26-Sep-13 09:42:20

grin Jesus - Yes, I think that might have been exactly what she should have done. wink grin

MrsBeep Thu 26-Sep-13 10:00:04

Jesus - you said all I wanted to say.

JesusInTheCabbageVan Thu 26-Sep-13 10:13:41

Oh good, I was worried I'd just killed the thread grin Unless people are just rallying to tell me how vvvv U I A B.

nonmifairidere Thu 26-Sep-13 10:20:17

I think anyone who goes to McDonalds is odd.

BlingBang Thu 26-Sep-13 10:36:09

"But as well as acknowledging that older kids enjoy a bit of independence, especially the glamour of sitting on a high bench, that parents of older children are also sensitive to the fact that you gaily engaged her in the kind of conversation that we are all trying to teach our kids to avoid with strangers. Anything that identifies them or makes them easy to find, like name of school. So many people are viewing your eager conversation with the child with some hmm."

Really, are you serious? Wouldn't really be concerned with someone chatting to my child in these circumstances, if I did she wouldn't be sitting alone. Stop making out that there was something wrong with the OP's behaviour.

OhDearNigel Thu 26-Sep-13 10:36:41

Anything that identifies them or makes them easy to find, like name of school

It was embroidered on her top.

Tee2072 Thu 26-Sep-13 10:42:01

Which is what I really don't get about uniform in the UK. So much panic about one little fact of your child getting out but you send them out every day with their school plastered all over them!

It really is an interesting disconnect.

WilsonFrickett Thu 26-Sep-13 10:42:46

I can totally imagine my DS8 wanting to do something like this - although in his case he'd be popping back every 5 minutes to say 'look mummy, I'm sitting on my own!' grin

OP you did nothing wrong. If parents don't want their children to observe the social conventions - and chatting with a stranger in a communal seating area is perfectly conventional - then they shouldn't let their kids sit by themselves.

That said, you don't know the dad hadn't clocked you, no?

DownstairsMixUp Thu 26-Sep-13 10:44:20

Er yanbu and why are people shocked at 35 mins? My ds takes forever eating to as he is in a real chatty mode stage. he is also four. he would take a good half hour eating a happy meal to.

OhDearNigel Thu 26-Sep-13 10:46:20

Would you all like to know my thought processes ?

1) Oh, DD has sat down with that little girl. Better go and sit with her then, don't want to look rude or odd by removing DD to sit somewhere else. Oh bother, that table I was going to sit at has gone. There's nowhere else to sit anyway.
2) This little girl is very friendly to DD, how sweet. Where is her Mum ? Ah, I think that must be her. [time passes]
3) Oh, that is not her Mum then. Who is looking after this child ? [idle chat occurs between self and child about black widow spiders, DD then tells her "we live at ###". Child then says to me "guess which number I live at". So we play a guessing game
4) While playing this game I am thinking "where is this child's family ? Has she come here straight from school and is being picked up from here ? There seems no evidence of any adult anywhere. She doesn't seem to be with any friends. What am I going to do in these circumstances that does not look like a hysterical overreaction ? I'm not sure that leaving a 7 year old alone in a restaurant waiting to be picked up is appropriate. Or is it ? Is that normal, she seems quite grown up ? I think I will guide the conversation to the topic of whether she is being picked up"
5) I then asked her if someone was coming to pick her up, which is when she said her Dad was over there.

Buswanker Thu 26-Sep-13 10:56:55

Sometimes when I/we take the children to Maccers we sit on one table with the younger ones and the older ones sit really far away from us.
They feel grown up and we don't have to listen to arguments over who ate the last packet of ketchup and who needs to get more.
They only come over to us when they ask for one of those tiny ice creams.
I won't win any awards for best parent or best cook this month smile

OhDearNigel Thu 26-Sep-13 11:35:13

You and me both eh wink

redskyatnight Thu 26-Sep-13 12:47:45

OP, giving you possible dad's thought process
1) Ah good we've found a table, let's get the baby sorted
2) Oh 7 year old wants to sit on the high chairs, I'll let her go and finish sorting the baby.
3) Oh 7 year old is chatting to another little girl and her mum. She seems fine - she probably knows them. Even if she doesn't she'll come back if she 's not happy. I'll keep an eye on her and feed the baby.
4) (15 minutes later) Oh 7 year old is still chatting. Well she seems fine. I'm sure the people she is with would send her away if she was bothering them. I'll just sit her for a bit and have some piece and quiet. I'll glance over and check she's ok every so often.
5 (35 minutes later) DD is now pointing at me and the adult is looking. I'd better go over and get her and apologise to the adult if DD was bothering her.

I have a 7 year old. I don't think of the above is particularly odd.

JesusInTheCabbageVan Thu 26-Sep-13 15:28:16

Or there's this:

AIBU to think he should have been watching DD?

DP took DD7 and the baby out to McDonalds today to give me a break. When DD got back she told me she'd made friends with a lady. On quizzing DP I found out he'd let her wander off on her own and spend over half an hour pestering some complete stranger on the other end of the room! I asked him if he'd kept his eye on her and he said yes, he was "aware" of her, but was sitting with his back to her and mainly trying to keep the baby happy. I mean FFS. I don't think anyone can supervise a child properly in those circumstances. He's not going to be looking over his shoulder literally every 30 seconds is he, realistically? All someone would have to do is get DD to point out her dad, then take the opportunity when he wasn't looking. She's a very trusting and friendly child and this has really unnerved me. Should I LTB?

Wow, there are some unashamed snobs on this thread. OP it sounds like the child in question enjoyed her little grown up chat with your dd. Maybe the dad didn't want to disturb her enjoyment? My kids are similar to the little girl in wanting to appear grown up and independent. When we go elsewhere im usually 50 or so paces behind them. To other parents it may seem at first that they're alone. Its only after 20 minutes or so that they come to me for a cuddle or asking for drinks etc. In my experience lost children usually make it clear they are lost. I've had 3 children over the years come to me for help in finding parents.

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