I feel like this is will be like opening a can of worms, but I have to write about it. Yes, many of you dear readers are going to think that being parents to young children should not exclude you of going ANYWHERE you fancy. And I have to say on the one side I don’t agree, but on the other side, yes you should.
Just yesterday, I was talking about this blog post with a group of lady friends where there are some who are mothers, and others who are not, and even though I was made aware of how difficult it is to arrive to a restaurant with a baby or a toddler, a stroller, the diaper bag, toys, and tons of other whatnot that the Love of Your Life might request while you’re just trying to peacefully enjoy a delicious meal, and that is without taking into consideration that once you’re served with the dish you’ve been dreaming for God knows how long the Little One is going to start exercising his/her lungs and cry like there’s no tomorrow. So, yes, I get it, IT IS VERY DIFFICULT, but this didn’t change my point of view, there are some restaurants where the little people should not go dine.
As a youngster I have very special memories about two specific restaurants in my native Mexico City. The first one was a Spanish restaurant owned by a Spaniard, an old lady serving really good food from the Iberian Peninsula. Now, what makes me remember the place more than the food itself, is that the lady would ‘recommend’ you what to eat just by observing you, and quite surprisingly she would always nail it. The people would love her choice for them. The other aspect of this place was that there was a sign by the entrance of the restaurant which read no children younger than 8 years old were welcome. Now, the other restaurant I keep close to my heart was a franchise of the French house Maxim’s de Paris, where no children younger than 12 years old were welcome. In both cases, I was very lucky, since my parents were strong enough to fight for me to enter the premises and be able to enjoy their food. However, it was not just as easy as it sounds, since my parents had given their word to the management at Maxim’s, as well as to the old lady of Babieca -the Spanish restaurant- that both, my sister and I would be on our best behavior and that they wouldn’t regret hosting us. They were both hesitant, but gave us a chance with a warning: Should we disturb their guests, we would be asked to leave. My parents explained the situation to us, and they didn’t need to do anything else, we knew what we had to do.
To make the long story short, we became regulars at Babieca, and at Maxim’s the manager invited us to see the kitchen by the end of our meal, and I was given an ashtray and some matches as a gift. Oh my God, I’m sure that would be considered nowadays as totally wrong, haha! Back then, I felt so proud of it.
In time, I have seen children behave marvelously at some fine dining restaurants and terribly at casual spots. I always appreciate well-behaved little people and even mention it to their parents when I walk by their table, and yes, I DO NOT appreciate screams, tears, or videos at a high volume coming from smartphones at the nearby tables. I try to ignore those, quite honestly.
In summary, yes, I think you should take your children to nice restaurants, not just to Chuck-e-Cheese and McDonald’s. It will allow them to try new flavors and develop their palates, but as a parent you have to teach them how to behave without needing a special menu or special noisy entertainment; what happened to good old crayons and coloring books? I love the way the French call their children wise rather than well-behaved. I feel it makes them BE wiser. Of course, this is not intended to be a lecture on education, and I excuse myself if any of you reading my text today feel I’m overstepping because I have not lived through any of these parenting challenges, but know that what I truly believe in is that age should not limit anybody to go anywhere or taste anything, just keep in mind other guests, maybe? We might not all be used to having little ones around.