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The Existential Compost

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8th November 2011

Spare not the children, lest the evil persist @ 21:24

The other week zoefruitcake and I visited our local Frankie and Benny's for a bit of a post payday treat.

It was busy; mostly because it was Halloween but also because it was the day after pay day and the world, his wife, their neighbours and their best friend's uncle's favourite mechanic's son also had the same idea.

Because it was Halloween weekend there were many children present. A good deal of these children were sat, well behaved and happy to be out with their family. There was, however, a pair of little shits present whose parents obviously went to the "freedom of expression" school of parenting. These delightful little darlings thought it fun to run rampant around the restaurant squealing with glee instead of remaining seated and only speaking when spoken to.

spoiled-bratSpoilt shits.

You know the type. They usually have traditionally cheeky scamp names like Bob or Tommy. The type of names traditionally apportioned to working class flat cap wearing, roll-up cigarette smoking betting shop regulars but, for some bizarre reason only known to fashionable middle class Guardian readers, deemed preferable to Tarquin, Charles and Gordon.

The type whose parents, as stated previously, believe in "freedom of expression". The same parents who probably inexplicably develop a "cough" when walking near smokers. Or fuss about their children and whatever food allergy or intollerance may be fashionable at the time. The type of parent that any normal person would want to smash into a granite table face first before flushing their head repeatedly down a particularly dirty toilet.

The type of child who runs around restaurants unbidden. Screaming and tripping up waitresses. Any accidents that arise are clearly the fault of the waiting staff not taking care when carrying a tureen of boiling soup or molten lard.

That got me thinking.

Bloody kids.

When I was a kid at a restaurant (or, more likely, a Berni Inn) , if I didn't sit straight, shut up and eat my greens provided with my scampi and chips the likelihood of eating out again would diminish to the point of never again. But no, not these chuffing days. Noooo. These days it seems it is totally socially acceptable to allow your child to run rampant with no regard for other diners or waiting staff.

All in the name of "freedom of expression".

kitchen-classics-steak-knife-59kszSo to express my own freedom, I rose from my chair, went over to the little shits, grabbed them by the collars. Dragged them over to their parents who were sat, jaws agape in protest. Threw them into their seats and said: "If you don't fucking control your children I will pickle them and feed them to the tramps."

"Oh but they're only expressing themselves" came the protest.

"Yeah well I'm expressing myself freely too." I retorted as I stabbed the father in the nose with his blunt steak knife and forced the mother to swallow her barbequed rib bones whole. Sideways.

"Do you want a starter?" Zoe asked, snapping me out of my daydream.

"No, let's get straight to mains" I replied.

 
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From:kingdavey
Date:8th November 2011 22:08 (UTC)
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When Hannah was younger and I was still married to her mother, Hannah ran off and started grabbing at things in Woolworths. I shouted at Hannah to "get back here now". Which she did and was well behaved from that moment on.

Elaine gave me hell because it was embarrassing that I'd shouted. I couldn't (and still can't) get my head around that. Surely it's more embarrassing to have your child running riot. It's my belief that most of the other shoppers would have supported my actions to bring an unruly child under control.

Elaine still lets Hannah do as she pleases and very rarely tells her off for anything. Thankfully Hannah does remember to behave when she is with me. She knows I have rules that must be obeyed
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From:stegzy
Date:15th November 2011 19:03 (UTC)
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Now see, I used to think "Oh that child needs a stern fatherly telling off" when I saw unruly children in public because a stern fatherly telling off is what I would have had. But the "father" figure in this situation had all the presence of a weedy half sibling.

Of course, to avoid being sexist, I should add that a shrill shriek from my mum was often sufficient enough to get every male in a 5 mile radius behaving......[bit like with Zoe now ;-)]
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From:meathiel
Date:9th November 2011 06:25 (UTC)
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Hehe ... I feel like doing the same sometimes. But then ... I'm too well behaved to ... ;-)

But one can dream ...
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From:stegzy
Date:15th November 2011 19:55 (UTC)
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Sometimes dreaming is the best way to take control of a situation...
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From:fj_warren
Date:9th November 2011 08:05 (UTC)
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We used to go shopping in pairs and at the first squeak Da Sproglet was removed by one of us from the store/eaterie etc., until such time as she realised that silence meant she was not to going to miss out on a treat

Another rule was the count to ten one. If she had been good she was allowed to pick some small item for herself but she had to choose it during the time it took me to count to ten. You have just paid for the majority of your shopping and you have a small child dithering about what to buy, much to the annoyance of the people in the queue behind you, so you had to have a strategy to overcome this predicament! This rule was brought into force once! I counted to ten, grabbed small brat and whisked her out of the shop minus treat! She screamed her head off . . . . but she NEVER dithered again!

Of course, my parenting skills are mainly due to the fact that I don't actually like small children - always a useful attribute to have when circumstances decree you have to look after one of the little varmints!
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From:sugar_spun
Date:9th November 2011 16:25 (UTC)
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I am stealing the count-to-ten rule.

My toddler's well behaved as they go because we don't allow screaming and misbehaving, but she's only a couple of months past two and she doesn't really get lingering over a coffee. So we amuse her till the food comes and make sure we order her something that she likes but takes long enough to eat by herself that we can eat while she does. If she gets antsy before we've finished someone takes her on a walk to see the cars outside while the other finishes and then takes over Toddler Watch.

I don't *like* eating out exclusively at the sort of place that brings a box of crayons with the menus; I'm a food snob worthy of the Guardian. But I had a kid, I don't want to pay for a babysitter and I don't want to ruin the evenings of people sitting around us and so family-friendly restaurants are the price I pay.
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From:fj_warren
Date:14th November 2011 12:22 (UTC)
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I'm bowing as I text! Your parenting skills are so much better than mine were!

Your child is only two!! Mine is knocking thirty now and I'm still struggling to try not to show her my 'Mummy does not approve' look whenever she has one of her wild moments! You should have seen last week's party frock!!! There was more material in a pocket handkerchief!
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From:stegzy
Date:15th November 2011 20:00 (UTC)
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I sometimes give her "Stegzy does not approve" looks.
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From:fj_warren
Date:17th November 2011 10:54 (UTC)
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Lol!
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From:louenn
Date:9th November 2011 08:21 (UTC)
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My sisters kids aren't the best behaved, but they don't run amok in restaurants. Heck, even the autistic one can sit still in a pub or restaurant if you have colouring books to amuse her with. In fact, I remember at my sister's wedding, all kids were being perfectly well behaved except for my brother-in-law's nieces, who were running amok and their parents were doing sweet FA to get the little brats to sit still when there were waiting on staff carrying plates of hot food around.

There should be stricter rules about who can become parents. Some sort of exam or test or something, besides the obvious practical which is already in existence.
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From:fj_warren
Date:9th November 2011 13:45 (UTC)

There should be stricter rules about who can become parents.

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Blast! Another exam for me to fail!
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From:louenn
Date:9th November 2011 18:13 (UTC)

Re: There should be stricter rules about who can become parents.

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Nah, you've passed already. Da Sproglet has turned out mostly ok.

I was thinking more like give prospective parents a really awkward child to mind for a week and see how they cope.
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From:stegzy
Date:15th November 2011 20:03 (UTC)

There should be stricter rules about who can become parents.

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1. You don't talk about parent club
2. You DO NOT talk about parent club
3. Bridge is on Wednesdays.
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From:louenn
Date:15th November 2011 20:11 (UTC)

Re: There should be stricter rules about who can become parents.

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Hell yeah!
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From:technophobe1975
Date:9th November 2011 20:25 (UTC)
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I don't know how the staff in some of these places manage to remain polite in the face of so much bad behaviour - I certainly would have run out of spit by the end of the day as it would have all got used up on the meals of the parents...
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From:stegzy
Date:15th November 2011 20:05 (UTC)
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I said to Zoe that if I was a waiter in such a place I would have "slipped" with a tureen of boiling soup accidentally on purpose at some point in my career.
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From:rugbybaby
Date:14th November 2011 23:04 (UTC)
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Oh man, if only.

You know, I don't even think it's a "freedom of expression" thing all the time. I think it's a "I'm tired of dealing with this at home so let me have a meal and let the little bastards run around" sort of thing.

Either way. Fucking annoying. If I ever acted up (and that doesn't even require standing up and running around; acting up is being a little whiner at my chair), we'd leave immediately and I'd get such a smack.
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From:stegzy
Date:15th November 2011 20:06 (UTC)
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That is what would have happened to me too.

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