Well, this caused quite a little shoving match on the intertubes last week. Up to a certain point, it was fairly pedestrian: parents take toddler to restaurant, toddler gets wrapped around the axle about something and starts crying. And then, the wrench in the gears: the restaurant owner comes out and, well…
Naturally, there are a couple of different perspectives of precisely what happened; mom’s version of events is here. Look, we’ve all had to deal with somebody else’s cranky kid at one time or another. I find it especially delightful on airplanes, but that’s just a personal preference. I’ve also found Reasons My Son Is Crying quite amusing, which virtually guarantees that we will end up with a child who considers going thermonuclear a genre of performance art. But what if that’s the only way we can really learn to cope with toddler meltdowns? This account suggests that “there is only one guaranteed cure for getting annoyed by it: having a kid.”
For non parents, a crying child on a plane will provoke feelings of rage. For people with a recent memory of parenting, that same crying child will provoke feelings of sympathy for the parent—and perhaps a little relief that it isn’t their problem this time.
It’s like a vaccination; once you’ve had kids, you’ve heard so much relentless crying, your brain has developed an immunity. That’s probably why the allegedly inattentive diner parents didn’t even hear what so vexed the diner owner.
While I’ve worked around enough toddlers that their crying doesn’t quite set me on edge as much as it once did, I’ve heard this from a few parents: that once you have your own, hearing a child cry just doesn’t provoke as it once did. It almost sounds like Harry Potter after he had destroyed the fragment of the Dark Lord’s soul that had attached itself to his own; once it was gone, he could no longer speak Parseltongue.*
In any event, once we have a child of our own, I do hope to be considerate and remove the child if he/she starts getting fussy. But as in the case of this story, there are circumstances when taking the child elsewhere just isn’t an option. So let’s hear from you parents. What do you do in such a situation?