Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Flunked.

I've just about decided that restaurants should have two seating options: Child Friendly / Not Child Friendly.

I am a very easy going girl. I don't get my feathers ruffled too often and it takes a lot to get me really mad. However, if you mess with my family, the claws come out instantly and calming down seems absolutely impossible.

The other night, Husby, Levi and I went to our favorite local hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint for some fajitas. Levi was in a very pleasant mood, fresh from a nap, so we knew he would be good to take out to eat. He sat in his high chair, sweet as can be and enjoyed some crackers as Husby and I noshed on some chips and salsa.

We sat as a family of three, talking, laughing and enjoying the night out. A middle aged couple walked in and placed themselves diagonally from our table. I saw the lady glance back at Levi and I smiled to myself, thinking that she was taken by Levi's endearing little smile.

Um, boy was I wrong.

Levi finished his cheese enchilada and started "talking" to his Daddy and I. "Dad, Momma, Dadda, Momma, bee bow ga ma. Mmmmm." He continued to talk to us and we talked back, "Oh really? What else, Weebie?" He continued his babbling and was being a little delight.

This is when the not-so-nice lady from the table diagonal from us practically SCREAMED to her husband so that we could hear it, "This is REALLY gonna annoy me. If that were my kid, I would take him outside!"

I gasped.

What on EARTH was Weebie doing wrong? Now, I know that my child is not always an angel. He has a set of lungs to match Mariah Carey and often uses it when he's tired of sitting. It is when Levi starts doing this that we grab our check and bolt from the eateries. I know that the last thing anyone wants while eating out is a screaming child to listen to. I know that because it's drives me batty, too. But this particular evening, all he was doing was talking. And not even loudly! He was talking in a voice not even close to as loud as HERS.

This is when I lost it. I lost my temper and my appetite.

My face was beat red, my heart was beating out of my chest, my blood was boiling and steam was pouring from my ears. I was h-o-t.

I told Husby what the lady had said and he replied by "How 'bout I take HER outside?"

When we were finished (which was soon after that because I was so mad I couldn't eat), Levi turned and looked at the husband of the mean lady. Levi flashed his smile and started talking to him. The man turned into pudding and smiled back, talked to him, and waved at him. Levi ate it up and wouldn't leave him alone.

"Oh, you've got to see his smile," the man said to his wife.

"Nu-UH", she replied.

I then overheard her telling him to stop talking to Levi. What was this lady's PROBLEM? I mean, for the life of me, I couldn't figure it out. My child quietly ate his dinner and talked to his Dad and I and somehow, this was totally disgusting to the lady next to us.

(By the way, he didn't listen to her. He kept talking to Levi. I loved that man.)

As we were leaving, a lady across the table from the rude lady stopped us and bragged on little Levi and made a big fuss over him. I think she may have heard everything going on and felt sorry for Levi. As we walked away from her, I said "Levi, tell the NICE lady bye-bye!!" (And you better believe I emphasized the word nice.)

I also may or may not have had the desire to pinch Levi as we walked by the mean lady to create a blood curdling scream (IN HER FACE) and show her what a LOUD baby is like.

But I resisted. And kept walking.

I realize that not all people are "kid people", and that's fine. But there is no reason to walk into a place, spot a baby and automatically assume that every peep out of their mouth is irritating. Because it's not. Infants "talk" just like we do and just because you can't make out the words, does not make it annoying.

I walked away from the situation beyond angry but also feeling very guilty. My reaction was not at all Christ-like. She made a snide remark about my child and I pounced. I was ready for battle. I in no way displayed the Fruit of the Spirit alive in me as a Christian.

Love - I need to love the lady who does not like my child.
Joy - I should have had a joyful attitude, realizing that some people just don't like to be around children - even well behaved ones.
Peace - I needed to remain calm in my heart, soul and body.
Patience - I needed to be slow to anger, understanding through my confusion and quiet in my disagreement.
Kindness - Though I didn't voice them to her, I had mean thoughts toward this lady. I needed to get them under control and sift them through the attitude of Christ and the Word of God.
Goodness - I needed to not stoop to her level of anger and discontentment.
Faithfulness - I needed to prove my faith in my actions. Not only to the lady, but also to Husby and Levi. I need to be an example of Christ.
Gentleness - Put the boxing gloves up and settle down.
Self Control - Again, needing to be SLOW to anger, controlling my feelings, actions and words.

God continues time and again to refine me, teach me and sharpen me in my faith through little Levi. Motherhood has brought me to such humility and dependence on the Lord, and I will continue to learn and grow. I pray God continues to give me circumstances like these so that I can prove my faith and test my fruit.

Because this time, I failed big time.

40 comments:

  1. Awww, seriously someone resisted Weebs? Unbelievable! Maybe she works at a day care and had all the kids she could take for the day. ;) And, I love this that you brought in the Fruit of the Spirit. Our bible study group is going through an 11 week study of Galatians and living a life that is spirit-led.

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  2. Wow, that stinks. She must be a very unhappy woman. I've learned that when people are unhappy in their own lives, they can't stand to see other people happy. And usually they will try to make others as miserable as they are. One of my favorite quotes is "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it" (Charles Swindoll). I actually have this printed and hanging at my desk at work. I focus on it whenever I start to feel angry at something someone has said or done.

    Sorry that you had to suffer through that situation. :(

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  3. people like that baffle me. i had a similar experience recently: http://aobdaily.blogspot.com/2010/07/parents-of-brats.html

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  4. Great post! I hope you have a great week!!!

    xoxoxo
    Lauren
    www.twentysomethinghousewife.com

    O ps im also hosting a give away for children's clothing from the sweetest little children's boutique! Feel free to check it out!

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  5. I understand completely. Oh, my heart was raging. When anyone expresses hatred, disinterest, irritation, or impatience towards a child, it just breaks my heart.

    Because children are so ready to love and to forgive, and it hurts to see them face someone with such love (like Levi did with that man) who doesn't even want it.

    I was going right along with you and, then, was so convicted myself when you began writing about being Christ-like. Thank you for that lesson. We hate these people for having hatred! How foolish. Thanks for getting to the heart of the matter.

    Leah @ www.justpluckingdaisies.com

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  6. People like that should eat at home, take it "to go" or go to a non-kid place to eat!!! I applaud you for your conviction and self control. I do not think I would be able (not something I am proud of).
    Have a super week and keep taking that adorable baby out!

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  7. Even Christ overturned the tables of the merchants sullying the worship place of God. He wasn't always rainbows and bunny farts, you know? You didn't shout at her, you didn't return with a nasty comeback, you didn't slap her. You kept it in, appreciated the kindness that was shown by other people and you left without escalating the situation. You did NOT fail as a Christian woman or a mom. You are a classy lady and you certainly handled it better than I have in similar circumstances with my 3 year old nephew. You did not flunk. You did good, momma.

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  8. Oh, I'm fuming on your behalf! You showed incredible restraint and the person who failed to show Christ-like behavior was the rude and intolerant woman.

    I had a similar experience a few years ago and I've never forgotten it. It was the first time I had ventured out after the birth of my daughter (my son was 19 months old at the time), so I was quite pleased with my little brood until a man came up to our table and was very rude to us over something very trivial. Like you, I managed to curb my toungue and take the moral high ground, but inside I was very wound up and it spoiled the rest of the trip out. The overriding memory of my daughter's first outing was this rude man. It is a shame how one person's intolerence and bad attitude can stay with you.

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  9. My husband, baby girl, and I were in a touristy little town and saw a little spot to eat. We went in, found a spot to sit, the waitress came to bring us the menus and we asked for a highchair. She said, she didn't have one. We said that's fine. She looked at us and rudely said, "So you are going to stay?" Yes, we are going to stay. We then decided to move to the outdoor eating area and bring in the stroller for baby girl to sit in and eat. Our real waiter was head over heels with our little girl. Then it came time to leave and I wanted to change her diaper quick before we hit the long road back home. I scoped out the bathroom situation and of course - no changing tables. I decided I would just wheel in my stroller and change her in the stroller. Plenty of room for it in the bathroom (Single stall bathroom). I come out of the bathroom and we are heading back out to the outdoor seating and this same lady comes up behind and my says "Is there a DIAPER I need to know about?" I was so shocked that she chased me down just to ask this that I looked at her and said "Huh?". She repeated, is there a DIAPER I need to take care of? I told her, yes I changed her diaper, but I threw it in the garbage. She pratically ran away and went straight for that bathroom. I mean really - some grown people can make her bathroom more disgusting then my wet diaper! LOL.
    www.jlfrey.blogspot.com

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  10. That is horrible that someone would have a problem with a child behaving well. I just can't believe it and good for you for not allowing your husband to "take HER outside".
    I was upset to read this post because of the situation but enjoy your blog so much! There is an award for you waiting on at
    http://laughter-love-life.blogspot.com/

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  11. Something like this happened to us when our little boy had just turned 2. We were finishing dinner at our local Mexican restaurant and I noticed that Clayton had a dirty diaper. As soon as I noticed that he was dirty I swept him away to the bathroom. While I was getting him out of his high chair a lady at the table beside of us said VERY LOUDLY "That baby stinks, they really need to do something about that".

    Hello!!!!! I'm currently getting him out of the high chair to do something about that. He's 2. They do that.

    Thanks for the reminder to be filled with the Spirit in all situations.

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  12. I used to work in an ophthalmologist's office and once we had two patients waiting in the waiting room. One was an older lady and the other was a young mother who had what looked to be about 6 month old little boy. Well the little boy was super cute and us office girl's were just waving at him and talking to him. He was NOT crying at all, just cooing and babbling to his mother and this horrible woman turned around and practically yelled at the mother, "YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD REALLY LEARN HOW TO CONTROL YOUR CHILD!!!" We were so baffled and taken aback that my first reaction was to go out in the waiting room and slap some sense into the old hag. Of course, I didn't do that! We just gave her dirty looks, but if that would have been my child...ooo girl. Honestly, I think you controlled yourself very well! :)

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  13. Oh. My. Great lesson on the Fruit of the Spirit but I kind of like Darin's idea to take HER outside. It's too bad that her husband didn't just tell her to chill. One can only imagine what his life is like at home! I hope she isn't anyone's mom or grandma.

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  14. It does sound like this lady overreacted and was rude without cause. Maybe if you could empathize with another point of view, though (even if you don't agree with it), you might not have been so angry?

    I don't mean to "start" anything at all. It sounds like Levi was being as well behaved as a kid that age can be and I know LOTS of people take kids to eat in restaurants all the time... but not everyone thinks that is appropriate.

    For example, my parents never took us kids to eat in restaurants that weren't specifically kid-friendly (pizza hut, chuck-e-cheese, etc) until we were maybe 8+. They felt that other restaurants were places for adults to relax and forget the day and they didn't feel that it was an appropriate place for children who-- even when well behaved "are kids being kids." Even as parents of kids, they believed that some places were for adults and some were for kids. Having grown up like that, I tend to agree and I can't see myself every taking a small child into a restaurant. Especially after working as a waitress for a while and seeing that MOST (not all but MOST) kids are very loud, disruptive, and make a huge mess. So when I go to eat in restaurants now I will admit, I usually cross my fingers to not be near any kids because if I'm paying $40 for dinner I just want to sit and enjoy my dinner and not be disturbed. That being said, I would never be so rude as to call someone out for doing something I disagree with-- particularly if the kid wasn't even being loud.

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  15. Oh, man. I feel you, Momma. We've been in that position before and I had no words. I was so shocked that I couldn't even respond. I like to believe that maybe people like that are bitter. Maybe she couldn't have children or maybe she has ten babies at home and wanted a night away. Or maybe she was just a jerk. Don't let the one or two Debbie Downers get you discouraged! Babies and their chatter are such a blessing to so many people! Especially when they are as cute as Levi!

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  16. Hey Whitney,
    That lady did sound rude, but I thought I’d throw this out there…
    What if she was bitter because she cannot have children? And maybe (just maybe) wanted to conceive but couldn’t? I’m not sure why but that thought crossed my mind as I read your story.
    I hope you have a better dinner out next time!

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  17. Don't be so hard on yourself! It was maternal instinct to protect your little man. We aren't always perfect, and like you said, we're always learning. :)

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  18. That is such a natural reaction though. I don't think you failed at all. I just don't get that woman. I'd do a little tap dance if I got sat next to a baby that babbled. I'm always the one that's at the table next to the screamers :)

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  19. I am so fired up from just reading this email, I feel guilty! (-: But, you know, there could be a lot of reasons why she acted that way. Maybe she can't have kids and so she's bitter toward woman than are able to have and love children of their own. Whatever it is, it is obviously her problem. And Levi is adorable.

    ~Kathryn

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  20. I am so fired up from just reading this email, I feel guilty! (-: But, you know, there could be a lot of reasons why she acted that way. Maybe she can't have kids and so she's bitter toward woman than are able to have and love children of their own. Whatever it is, it is obviously her problem. And Levi is adorable.

    ~Kathryn

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  21. Been there done that. When my son was about Levi's age we were also eating at a hole in the wall mexican food place that we frequent. It is by no means upscale or fancy and everyone in town takes there kids. Needless to say they were playing some Tejano music which my son liked. He decided he needed to sing and dance a bit. He wasn't being loud, but he was giggling and the waiters and waitresses were encouraging every bit of it. Most people just laughed and went on with their meals, but one couple spent the majority of their meal giving us death stares. I mean seriously get over it. Another time my sister and I were in Hobby Lobby. Yes another upscale place to visit :) And our kids were sitting quietly in the baskets. They weren't even talking. They were just looking around. A lady with her friend looks at us and without missing a beat says something to the effect of "I don't know why people take their kids in public. Kids are so annoying". It takes a lot to get me mad, but that was totally uncalled for. Sorry for the long comment, but know you are not alone.

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  22. It is hard being a mom. We become momma bears and that is hard to control sometimes. You are not perfect and God does show us that often so that we can improve ourselves. Funny thing is a co-worker and I were just talking about little ones in resturants. She has no children and was amazed at how well her nephew behaved when the took them out the other night. It brought me back to when my girls were little. Crazy to me that they will be graduating next year. Sigh. They are 17 now (yes there are 2). You should have seen some of the looks we got when we brought twin toddlers into a dining establishment. I used to just smile and not let people around me effect what was going on in our world. It is hard to do that sometimes. Hugs we are always learning and growing in christ. Hang in there and you did not fail. You learned what you need to improve on. Atleast you are getting something from it!

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  23. Perhaps she has her own reasons for detesting kids so much? But its no excuse for her behavior. If even the most upscale restaurants didn't want kids they wouldn't have high chairs and kids items on the menu.

    You really stood up to your test of strength! Good job :)

    Cabin Fever in Vermont

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  24. Oh goodness! That lady just completely embarrassed herself in front of a whole restaurant of people. I can't believe people are like that!

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  25. Oh my goodness! If that had been me who knows what I would have done and how badly I would have embarrassed my husband. I think your reactions and feelings were natural. Although I know that doesn't necessarily mean they were right. That lady had to be one extremely unhappy woman. She may have had something tragic just happen in her life, and that was her way of coping. She was still wrong! And her husband really should have said something to her instead of sitting there like nothing was happening. I think outwardly you handled this very well. God is growing you and the next time you're faced with a situation like this you will be more prepared to react in love. Not that it will be easy. :)

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  26. I commend you for the strength that you did display and not tearing the "nice" lady a new one. this goes to show me that I have alot of work to do b/c im not quite sure how i would have handled that situation. Like you said when you mess with my family the claws come out. Bless you for using the restraints you did b/c it could have been alot worse and also for recognizing what your faults where as well. Im following your lead.

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  27. I feel you dealt with it way better than I would. Just reading this I was getting fired up... How dare she?!

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  28. I hate that!!! I used to roll my eyes at families when their babies started squawking, but now I have WAY more sympathy and empathy towards them. And if he was just pleasantly talking--geez, lady! What do you want???

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  29. I completely understand your reaction. My Mama Bear claws would have come out too, if I were in that situation. Some people just have zero tolerance for children...which breaks my heart because they don't know what they're missing by choosing to build a wall against these sweet little people. In some ways I feel just as sorry for the nasty lady as I do for you. See missed out on a ppotentially fun playtime with Levi and you got your feathers ruffled. Keep handing Levi and your heart over to the Lord and He will create a new heart within you, just as you desire.

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  30. This might not be a very Christ like comment, but you left the restaurant with your head held high, rose above the situation and did not retaliate, that doesn't sound like failure to me! I'm not sure I would have had your restraint!
    a-m x

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  31. God gave us our protective instinct on purpose :) I don't have children- my dog is my child. Once the father of a guy I was dating made a rude comment about her and it took every ounce of restraint not to give him a piece of my mind and tell him to leave.

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  32. I can't believe how rude the lady was towards Levi! Honestly, I would have probably reacted the same way - and maybe would have even said something rude back. It's unfortunate, but true. I do appreciate how you were able to rethink the situation later and now know to handle it differently. That's great!

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  33. What a rude lady. Some people just don't know how to behave in public. But the way you behaved and looked at the situation to grow? Totally inspiring. Thank you for that!

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  34. I would have totally failed too, miserably. I probably would have said something to the lady as well. If she has a problem with it, then she can leave! I have a difficult time keeping my mouth shut when people say hurtful things, and that was hurtful towards your sweet little boy. Her bad choices will come back to her one day and your good choices will definitely pay off in the end:)

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  35. I loved this! What a great reminder that we all need to remember. It is hard though, when someone acts that way toward your child for no reason, not to take it personally.

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  36. you did better than i would have. i would have said something. might have felt bad later, but seriously?! what is wrong with people?!

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  37. uh yea i would've been mad too! I just don't understand people who hate just to hate! And of course the guy couldn't resist Levi! Who in there RIGHT MIND could :)

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  38. I don't think you did anything un christian like at all. You felt anger, thought angry things but never acted on them and that's the important part. You're human, so you might have angry feelings and you're a mom, so you will have that protective instinct, but that doesn't mean you always have to think happy thoughts when someone is being extremely rude to you and your baby. Its healthy to own those feelings and then let them go. Sure, I always try and deal with negative people by not taking on their negativity, which is a healthy thing to do so this way she doesn't ruin YOUR dinner.

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May the Lord bless you and keep you safe today! Thanks for the comment, friends! :)

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