I was with the group of 8 five year olds celebrating their birthdays. You know the ones, they were all excited and unable to control themselves. You were the sour faced foursome who arrived half way through their party.
They have known each other since they were in our tummies you see, so it was a momentous birthday party this – as most of them have started or are about to start school.
Yes, they are loud – obviously (there are 8 of them, just 1 is loud!) but did you really have to sit on the next table? What did you expect to happen? We had been there for an hour already (could you not tell from the debris strewn about the place?) instead you chose to fire scathing looks in our direction across your Florentinas. We did question why a group of older folks would a. Choose to dine out at Pizza Express at 6.00pm on a Sunday evening and b. Sit near a group consisting of 16 individuals if looking for a sophisticated and peaceful fine dining experience. We are, after all, in a rather lovely part of the world with lots of other pleasing establishments to choose from.
I think it was possibly the deathly glare combined with the ssshing and wagging of fingers in our general direction which finally pushed me over the precipice of what was, a high level of stress anyway due to 8 five year olds attempting to dine out, with frequent toilet breaks, arguments over balloons and ripping of paper hats, into utter meltdown. You probably didn’t notice, but I was shaking by the time I left.
Did the sight of them all; one dressed as Batman, one as a Minion and a gaggle of girls in their best party frocks, not even crack the tiniest smile on your miserable faces?
Could you not appreciate that the shrieks they were making were from excitement at being out late for tea, with just their mums and without siblings?
I wonder if one day we could turn the tables and ssh you for talking too loudly to your chums, or for scraping your knife across the plate? Perhaps roll our eyes every time you get up to go to the loo?
And thank you so much for the parting shot: the suggestion that we “learn to control our children”. Most gratefully received. Perhaps I suggest you attempt the same for your over zealous use of your wagging finger?
The point is, we booked a table for our children, so excited were they to be having a joint party that they were a bit loud. Did they run around the restaurant? No. Did they throw food about? No. Did they place their birthday cake in your face like a Tizwaz custard pie (if only, but no). Then please, I beg you, give us harassed parent folk a break. We are allowed to visit public places with our children from time to time. And that goes for you too Mr Eye Roller on the aeroplane, you Mr and Mrs Dirty Looks in John Lewis cafe and yes, you Mrs Tut Tut Tut in the supermarket. I would kindly ask you to keep your gestures to yourself. Because do you know what? You make a stressful situation even worse for us parents who are just trying to get through everyday tasks laid out in front of us like an obstacle course from Total Wipe Out.
It’s only since having children that I’ve met you at all. I’d never come across you before. Imagine, in my singleton days, browsing the fruit & veg section of Tesco to become acutely aware of someone shaking their head in disapproval in your general direction. Or how about on all those flights to Mexico, if you, Mr Eye Roller, had spend most of the time pulling faces as I watched my film. I’m not sure why your gang think it’s acceptable to make your feelings towards the parent contingent so obvious?
If you think that this evening’s noise was bad, you should spend Wednesday mornings at soft play, I would happily take you along and let you soak up the atmosphere.
So next time you wag your finger in the direction of some allegedly “unruly” children, please stop, look and have a little think. Because surely there are worse things to be annoyed about? At the end of the day, the kids were, thankfully, utterly oblivious to you, and it was, in fact, the mothers who found your attitude a tad upsetting and hurtful.
The tired looking one with the giant glass of wine.