3:40pm Friday 4th May 2012
By Colin Baker
CALL me an old curmudgeon, but there are some aspects of modern parenting that make me dream of administering electro-convulsive aversion therapy to the perpetrators.
We tried to escape the effects of a lengthy power cut on Sunday after the drought – in its manifestation as torrential rain and gales – wrought havoc around the region. What to do? Baked beans out of a can?
A take-away eaten by candlelight?
We opted for a restaurant that boasted both lighting and cooking facilities. At an adjoining table was a young family, comprising parents, a baby in a push chair and a toddler.
I am all in favour of children in restaurants, as long as the parents don’t ignore them when they scream around the place being jet planes or hide under your table. I still remember the occasion when we took our four young children into a Chinese restaurant by the coast somewhere at around 6.30pm and having been seated by a waiter were then very politely asked to leave by the manager ‘in case other diners were put-off by our children’.
I pointed out that we were the only customers in the restaurant and my girls were sitting quietly. He responded that other diners would be arriving soon and might not like the presence of children. We left. So, I am a champion of children in restaurants.
However, I want to wheel out the tumbrels when children are hauled by their earnest mothers to the busy waiters’ collection point and laboriously prompted to ask for the bill. ‘Can I – what? (whisper) have the (whisper) bill (whisper) please?’ Yummy mummy beams with pride. Then the waiter forces an indulgent smile while the aforesaid four year old is guided through the lengthy process of tapping the numbers of daddy’s credit card into the hand held machine.
I fantasised briefly that the child was heir to a fortune and they had kidnapped him and were milking his account – that would have been more tolerable than the awful truth which was that some parents indulge their children without concern for anyone around them.
Just stand in a lift while two children fight to be allowed to push the button, while everyone waits resignedly and the parent watches vacantly.
I know I’m overreacting – I blame a whole day without football on the telly. Another day I might not have noticed. The power came back as we went to bed. Natch!
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