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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 ?

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.

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?

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.

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

You and me both eh wink

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 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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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

I think anyone who goes to McDonalds is odd.

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.

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

Jesus - you said all I wanted to say.

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

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?

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

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

God alive.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 07:44:24

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

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