A second restaurant told us we’re not welcome with RB. Ironically, we had successfully dined in this one previously after the neighbouring pub told us, as we sat down at 6.30pm, that ‘Children aren’t allowed after 7pm. Is that okay?’ We could sit in the garden til 9pm, though. Turns out the two places share an owner, and discrimination policy.
It feels like discrimination. After my anger subsided, I feel ashamed. As though we’re not worthy of polite society. Our sort aren’t welcome.
I get some people don’t like kids. For whatever reason the sight or sound of kids offends them. Kids aren’t yet humans with a right to exist. I get that kids can be noisy. But adults can be unsightly, noisy and genuinely offensive. I’m loud and sweary sober, and I like booze. Yet I’m welcome.
Some people think we should get a baby sitter. But we’re not talking about a one-off meal or rare occasion. We’re not trying to take him to a theatre that demands quiet. Or an obscenely loud music gig. We just want to go out for dinner as we did before RB. Life can continue. We had a child, not lobotomy and new identity.
Besides, we’d like him there because he’s in this family, too. We’re not going to get a babysitter, and be apart from him, every time we want dinner that happens to be in a place other than our home.
We’d like him to grow up going out for meals so that it’s normal. When he’s old enough to not sleep through it all he will learn how to behave in pubs and restaurants. At the fanciest meal I’ve ever had two kids sat at the next table immaculately behaved throughout. They seemed practised.
The irony is RB is not barred from these venues during the day, when he’s more likely to join in the conversation. Yet if we’re out for dinner, he mostly sleeps in his pushchair under his Snoozeshade. He’s usually in bed by 7pm and the habit sticks.
Though the restaurant told me it wasn’t the threat of his noises that disallow him entry. It’s in case he’s surrounded by loud, sweary adults. (What’s the emoticon for smelling a rat?) They’re actually looking out for him. We’re not capable of making appropriate parenting decisions so they’ve kindly stepped in on our behalf. As if they needed to cement our new sworn enemy status…