When I was single, I hated going to restaurants where parents were so engaged in conversation,that they let their kids run all over the place. I especially hated it when the kids freely interacted with other tables as if the people had nothing to do. And by the time the parents discovered there kids were gone, they usually acted as if they had given the customers a special opportunity to spend time with their kids. I usually experienced it as neglectful parent and annoying kid. But now I am the parent with two kids.
Tonight we went out for ice cream at a cafe in Chicago called, “A Taste of Heaven.” As we approached the door, there was a colorful sign with children’s hand prints on it. It simply informed us that children of all ages must behave in there; and must use their “indoor voices.” Since I wanted ice cream, I went ahead and ordered some. But the sign turned me off.
While I understand their concern about children misbehaving, I’m not so sure I support their decision to have this sign so prominently displayed on the front door. Especially when they are one of the few establishments that sell ice cream in the area. Since when does heaven and ice cream not include kids? They might as well have a picture of children in a circle with a red diagonal slash across it.
As I ordered the ice cream, I could see the teller was on eggshells when he asked if I wanted “a cone or a cup.” I immediately felt the pressure of not wanting my kids to mess up. I also felt it was presumptuous of them to believe all cultures understand or value “inside voices”.
After we sat down, a woman came in with a stroller and a loud toddler. She sat in one spot and was instructed by one of the less than cordial wait staff that she had and her stroller had to move. The pregnant lady had to maneuver a stroller, and packages by herself. The aloof cafe staff could give a damn.
I wish they would just come out and say it. We hate kids. We therefore choose to discriminate against parents and kids. Hey, why not take it a step further and have families come in the backdoor and sit in the kitchen, so the kids and parents don’t have to interact with any of the single patrons. It seems to remind me of some issues back in the 60’s when white people didn’t want black people sitting at restaurant counters.