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AIBU?

11 month old in restaurant

576 replies

Anoushkaka · 20/05/2023 14:00

So I know things have changed with parenting since I had my own children, youngest is now 11 but do some parents literally just let their kids to what they want?

Went for a meal yesterday with DH and our children. A couple come in with their baby and get seated near us. Highchair is brought over and they put him in but don't strap him in because he doesnt like to be strapped in, mother said this to waitress. They order food and literally plonk a bowl of mash, veg and gravy on the highchair for baby to eat. He puts his hands straight in and starts feeding himself with his hands, food is going everywhere, patents are looking at him and saying "what a great boy he is".

Baby literally has food everywhere, parents make a half hearted attempt to clean baby which results in an almighty tantrum and him nearly falling out of the highchair because he wasn't strapped in. Dessert comes and the same thing with a bowl of ice cream, its everywhere. They then give him a sippy cup that spills all over him because obviously its not one for his age group.

He screams to get out of highchair, father takes him out and let's him bang cutlery on the table, pull soil from a nearby plant pot and again spill water everywhere. All the parents kept saying to staff was ,"oh sorry, he is just so independent and clever for his age".

I was appalled to be honest. I spoke to my friend who is a childminder and stressed that yes unfortunately a lot of parents are now like this.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

1089 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
34%
You are NOT being unreasonable
66%
MargotBamborough · 22/05/2023 08:51

Nothingisblackandwhite · 22/05/2023 08:43

This ! 100% this .
other countries even have tills on shops for people with young children and pregnant women , children are given seats in public transport and made a part of daily life . Over here in the U.K. is like they are a burden ! I grew up in continental Europe and taught children were the most important member of society and should always be respected and protected . It seems that meme was lost here .

Respecting and protecting children doesn't mean letting them run wild and annoy other people whilst proudly looking on and murmuring about what a little genius you've produced though.

It's not a binary choice between "gentle parenting" where the child is allowed to basically do whatever they like, and "children should be seen and not heard".

I actually think having young children in a formal childcare setting helps with this too. I had to put my son in full time childcare from 8 months old, due to necessity rather than choice really. For the first few months he was with a childminder and he liked her a lot but he was a bit of a hooligan with the other child who was there, stealing her biscuits and so on. Then we got a place in crèche from when he was 17 months old and the change was unbelievable. But he's in a class of 20 kids who all sit down at their little tables twice a day and eat a proper meal together, and obviously they are taught to behave properly because if they were allowed to scream and throw food and run wild it would be like feeding time at the zoo. Whenever I go to pick him up early and they're all still at the table having their afternoon snack, they are all sitting there eating nicely.

The children I know of the same age who aren't in childcare are much more badly behaved.

MargotBamborough · 22/05/2023 08:53

Nothingisblackandwhite · 22/05/2023 08:46

Children often run around in restaurantes in lots of counties in Europe , we just came from Italy and the evening in a very nice restaurant children where constantly playing outside their table with each other , same in Cyprus where we regularly holiday , Portugal , Spain , Greece . Nobody expects kids to be queira and sitting down 2 hours .

The OP wasn't talking about playing with other kids, she was talking about screaming, banging cutlery and throwing food and soil.

Dulra · 22/05/2023 09:04

I grew up in continental Europe and taught children were the most important member of society and should always be respected and protected . It seems that meme was lost here.
Not my experience in Italy last year where plenty of adults thought it was appropriate to scream at my children for offences such as not having a mask on public transport when under 12s didn't have to but they thought my 11 year old looked older so thought screaming in her face and telling her to get off the bus was appropriate. Or when my 10 year old went to a use toilet in a train station and didn't realise you'd to pay 50cent so was screamed at by older lady who left her in tears. Maybe kids there behave impeccably out of fear 😟What I see on the continent is kids having to fit into adult lives what kid likes spending hours over a meal on a Sunday?

Back to the op. Babies do not understand how to conduct themselves in restaurants but parents do, if your baby makes a mess clean it up don't leave it to your server to do, if your baby is throwing soil from a plant move them away from it, if your baby is screaming they're tired, bored, unhappy take them out give them a break from the noisy overstimulating restaurant environment. I think the main issue is parents wanting to carry on with the life they had pre-child, tune into your child and respond to their distress even if it means leaving can't be much fun for the parent either if your child is distressed

Nothingisblackandwhite · 22/05/2023 09:39

Dulra · 22/05/2023 09:04

I grew up in continental Europe and taught children were the most important member of society and should always be respected and protected . It seems that meme was lost here.
Not my experience in Italy last year where plenty of adults thought it was appropriate to scream at my children for offences such as not having a mask on public transport when under 12s didn't have to but they thought my 11 year old looked older so thought screaming in her face and telling her to get off the bus was appropriate. Or when my 10 year old went to a use toilet in a train station and didn't realise you'd to pay 50cent so was screamed at by older lady who left her in tears. Maybe kids there behave impeccably out of fear 😟What I see on the continent is kids having to fit into adult lives what kid likes spending hours over a meal on a Sunday?

Back to the op. Babies do not understand how to conduct themselves in restaurants but parents do, if your baby makes a mess clean it up don't leave it to your server to do, if your baby is throwing soil from a plant move them away from it, if your baby is screaming they're tired, bored, unhappy take them out give them a break from the noisy overstimulating restaurant environment. I think the main issue is parents wanting to carry on with the life they had pre-child, tune into your child and respond to their distress even if it means leaving can't be much fun for the parent either if your child is distressed

Any chance what you call screaming is only a tell off ? I ask this as a vem as an adult Italians can sound a bit like they are always screaming and screaming even when they are not ?
Ive always find Italy super child friendly . No issues over the years on holiday

GettingStuffed · 22/05/2023 09:43

How did you know he was 11 months old?

GoodChat · 22/05/2023 09:44

GettingStuffed · 22/05/2023 09:43

How did you know he was 11 months old?

To be fair, parents like this are the ones who'll constantly be saying "look how clever he is. He's only 11 months!" To anyone who'll listen.

Nordicrain · 22/05/2023 09:47

The only thing they did wrong is not clean up after the baby. The rest is fine and normal developmentally. I would far prefer seeing that than a baby strapped down in a reclined position having mouthfuls of food shovelled into its mouth (to avoid mess you see), which frankly looks torturous to me.

Dulra · 22/05/2023 09:47

Nothingisblackandwhite · 22/05/2023 09:39

Any chance what you call screaming is only a tell off ? I ask this as a vem as an adult Italians can sound a bit like they are always screaming and screaming even when they are not ?
Ive always find Italy super child friendly . No issues over the years on holiday

We love Italy and will be holidaying again this year but we don't find Italians particularly friendly they can be very grumpy and overly bureaucratic about things. The bus incident was awful they literally pushed her off the bus and refused to believe she was only 11.

Nothingisblackandwhite · 22/05/2023 09:50

Dulra · 22/05/2023 09:47

We love Italy and will be holidaying again this year but we don't find Italians particularly friendly they can be very grumpy and overly bureaucratic about things. The bus incident was awful they literally pushed her off the bus and refused to believe she was only 11.

it does sound really bad , specially for her , o hope she was ok . I never had an issue , although I do find Spain and Portugal , specially Portugal to be extra friendly with children . Cyprus is a mixed bag , mostly ok the odd person a bit grumpy but I think is cultural really .

RunAwayTurnAwayRunAwayTurnAway · 22/05/2023 09:57

What an interesting blow-by-blow account of your nosiness, OP.

SouthLondonMum22 · 22/05/2023 09:58

Nordicrain · 22/05/2023 09:47

The only thing they did wrong is not clean up after the baby. The rest is fine and normal developmentally. I would far prefer seeing that than a baby strapped down in a reclined position having mouthfuls of food shovelled into its mouth (to avoid mess you see), which frankly looks torturous to me.

There's a sensible between option between your massive extremes which is ordering something baby can feed themselves that also minimises mess in public or help baby with that part of the mean by spoon feeding which as I'm sure you know, doesn't have to involve 'shovelling' or a baby in a reclined position.

Nordicrain · 22/05/2023 10:01

SouthLondonMum22 · 22/05/2023 09:58

There's a sensible between option between your massive extremes which is ordering something baby can feed themselves that also minimises mess in public or help baby with that part of the mean by spoon feeding which as I'm sure you know, doesn't have to involve 'shovelling' or a baby in a reclined position.

I didn't say there wasn't. I said my preference was to see this end of the scale above the other.

LuckySantangelo35 · 22/05/2023 10:07

Dazedandbemused0 · 22/05/2023 06:52

The one thing I don’t miss about the UK since moving abroad is this miserable unnecessary bloody attitude towards babies and young children that people like you have. I’ve never experienced in it any other country in the world - the idea that babies and children are nuisances who can spoil a strangers whole evening just by existing! Babies make a mess, they make noise … so? Don’t look? Are you so upset by other adults existing or is it only babies who piss you off? Babies and young children have every right to exist in spaces where adults are for goodness sake. If you don’t like their existence then you bloody stay in! Why should their parents?! It doesn’t sound like this parent did anything wrong except have a baby who behaved in a totally normal way for their age. YABVVVVVVU but then so are like half the UK population who have this shit attitude towards kids. HTH.

@Dazedandbemused0

lol calm down

LuckySantangelo35 · 22/05/2023 10:08

Nordicrain · 22/05/2023 09:47

The only thing they did wrong is not clean up after the baby. The rest is fine and normal developmentally. I would far prefer seeing that than a baby strapped down in a reclined position having mouthfuls of food shovelled into its mouth (to avoid mess you see), which frankly looks torturous to me.

@Nordicrain

ive never seen a baby be fed like that
what u on about?!

user1472831787898789 · 22/05/2023 10:10

I find this really sad. I have always taken my baby to restaurants for special occasions eg family birthdays. She is now 10 months old and refuses to be spoon fed in public, but giving her food to eat for herself keeps her occupied.
Sometimes it does get a bit messy and I do my best to clean up after her as quickly as possible as I'm very conscious of being watched and judged for the mess.
Sometimes she does bang things on the table or play with things. I don't know what else you're supposed to do if you don't have a naturally chilled baby? Should I just never take her out?

Nordicrain · 22/05/2023 10:12

LuckySantangelo35 · 22/05/2023 10:08

@Nordicrain

ive never seen a baby be fed like that
what u on about?!

I have. It looks very unpleasant. In fact so does lots of spoon feeding where the cues of the baby, and attempts for them to engage with the food, are ignored. Apparently to keep baby clean. No wonder so many children (and adults!) have food issues.

Theroad · 22/05/2023 10:17

If your youngest is 11 then no, things have not "changed a lot" since you had DC (five minutes ago 😆)

People behaved like this with their DC then and will behave like this fifty years from now. What also hasn't changed is people judging parents and feeling that the younger generation are much worse parents than they are!

My DC are 5 and 7. Some of their peers' parents are really good, some are painfully permissive - I babysat quite a bit approx 25 years ago and I remember it being ever thus.

MargotBamborough · 22/05/2023 10:18

user1472831787898789 · 22/05/2023 10:10

I find this really sad. I have always taken my baby to restaurants for special occasions eg family birthdays. She is now 10 months old and refuses to be spoon fed in public, but giving her food to eat for herself keeps her occupied.
Sometimes it does get a bit messy and I do my best to clean up after her as quickly as possible as I'm very conscious of being watched and judged for the mess.
Sometimes she does bang things on the table or play with things. I don't know what else you're supposed to do if you don't have a naturally chilled baby? Should I just never take her out?

Don't give her things which make a loud noise if banged on the table?

SouthLondonMum22 · 22/05/2023 10:21

Taking her out is how she learns but the difference here is that you clean up after her and attempt to minimise noise with toys and other things to keep her busy.

If mine bangs something on the table which sounds very loud, I take it away.

kfiend · 22/05/2023 10:22

It personally doesn't bother me if this is happening near me, as long as it's not my kids 🤭. I just never understand how it can be enjoyable for the parents that's all

Theroad · 22/05/2023 10:42

Oh and my anecdotal opinion is that baby led weaning really is just a hyped up fad - I did it with one DC and did a combination of BLW and spoon feeding with DC2 and know lots of young DC who did both and it makes no difference to how fussy or not they are now as school age children. My exclusively BLW child, and a few others I know, are painfully fussy eaters and I know previously spoon fed DC who eat everything that's put in front of them. All that mess was in vain 😆🤦🏼‍♀️

No harm to do it if people don't mind all the tedious clean up, but it makes no difference in the end!

Pianono · 22/05/2023 10:59

There are a number of times that I have been in restaurants with babies/toddlers being a bit spirited and parents trying their best to keep a lid on it and looking a bit frazzled. I have often said " Don't worry. We've all been there. They are fine." Or something similar. I really don't mind a bit of noise and remember well having little children. The parents that grate are the ones who don't give a toss what disruption their DC are making as long as they enjoy their meal and too bad for everyone else.

Violinist64 · 22/05/2023 13:12

Pianono · 22/05/2023 10:59

There are a number of times that I have been in restaurants with babies/toddlers being a bit spirited and parents trying their best to keep a lid on it and looking a bit frazzled. I have often said " Don't worry. We've all been there. They are fine." Or something similar. I really don't mind a bit of noise and remember well having little children. The parents that grate are the ones who don't give a toss what disruption their DC are making as long as they enjoy their meal and too bad for everyone else.

Well said.

vivainsomnia · 22/05/2023 13:18

grew up in continental Europe and taught children were the most important member of society and should always be respected and protected
Respected and protected, absolutely, more important than other members of society, absolutely not, that's what parents here believe, hence the issue.

Children in Europe are more involved in family life than here, but are also expected higher standards of behaviour, especially around other people and in regards to noise.

Take a train here, and you'll likely be disturbed by kids behaviour. Take a train in France and it's quiet and relaxing. Adults are quiet and the children are expected to be so too. Amazingly, they manage to be so.

MargotBamborough · 22/05/2023 13:22

Theroad · 22/05/2023 10:42

Oh and my anecdotal opinion is that baby led weaning really is just a hyped up fad - I did it with one DC and did a combination of BLW and spoon feeding with DC2 and know lots of young DC who did both and it makes no difference to how fussy or not they are now as school age children. My exclusively BLW child, and a few others I know, are painfully fussy eaters and I know previously spoon fed DC who eat everything that's put in front of them. All that mess was in vain 😆🤦🏼‍♀️

No harm to do it if people don't mind all the tedious clean up, but it makes no difference in the end!

I don't get it either.

Presumably all the children who were spoonfed purees as babies were also given finger food, right? Nobody is feeding their child pieces of toast on a spoon.

It seems to me that not doing baby led weaning means sometimes you spoonfeed your child purees, sometimes you give them finger food to pick up, and eventually they figure out how to use cutlery and feed themselves.

Doing baby led weaning is... what, exactly? Just never feeding your child with cutlery? I mean, OK, whatever works for you, but to me that just sounds like choosing not to use one of the various ways of feeding your child, rather than doing anything particularly groundbreaking.

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