Parenting Tip Tuesday

#Chicago,s #Alinea and the Crying Baby

Have you heard about the crying baby tweet that has created such controversy? The chef and co-owner of Alinea, a very upscale restaurant in Chicago, tweeted this: “Tbl brings 8mo.Old. It cries. Diners mad. Tell ppl no kids? Subject diners 2crying? Ppl take infants 2 plays? Concerts? Hate saying no, but ….”   Wow! Talk about hitting a hot button! Twitter has been the conduit for both sides voicing their opinions.

To my knowledge, there isn't a specific rule to tell parents when they should (or shouldn’t) bring their child to a restaurant. Here are a few guidelines to assist you in your decisions when you are a guest in a restaurant.

–   If you can, phone ahead to ask about the restaurant’s policy.

–   When you arrive, be very, very thankful if you are given a corner or end table. This is not a slight. It is a gift. You will have extra floor space for high chair, infant seat or just standing room, if you need.

–   Will your little one be happier with you, confined in a booth, or at home with a trusted sitter? Your answer to this one may differ from time to time.

–   What is the atmosphere of the restaurant? Is it quiet and refined or loud and boisterous? With your help, will your child’s energy and noise level be a good fit?

–   Will the timing work out with your sweetie’s sleep/nap/feeding schedule?

So, back to the Chicago story. The situation was quite problematic. These parents had already paid over $200 just to reserve the table and their babysitter canceled at the last minute. To the parents, I say (with an open mind), “Would you make the same choice again?” To those who criticize, I say, “Two hundred bucks is a lot of money to throw away.” To the disturbed guests at nearby tables that night, I say, “You paid a lot of money for ambience that you did not receive.” To the owner of the restaurant, I say, “Great conversation starter!”   :-0


What are your thoughts on this hot-button topic? I’d love to know!