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August 29, 2007


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Today, I became part of "that" family! My girls (6 and 3) have always been well behaved in restaurants and grocery stores. I can't really take any credit because they are just genuinely good kids.

Until today at the grocery store... my 6 year old rammed me with the cart. When I gave her "the eye" she said in MY VOICE, "if you look at me like that again I'm going to take away your fruit!"

Then I grabbed her arm and asked her to apologize for 1) hitting me with the cart and 2) speaking to me direspectfully. She told me "NO!"

Ugh! I had no idea what to do. So I said if she didn't change her attitude, we were going to leave. Alas, I left an entire cart today. And now we have no milk. And all the while I felt eyes staring at us because we were "that family." And it really sucked!!!!

I can sooooo relate to this. We never go out to eat anymore because it just ends up being a total headache.
I guess it makes going out when we have that rare date that much more special though. :-p

We're the family whose kid leaves covered in food because he leaned over to reach his Dad's steak knife, dipped his sleeve in spaghetti sauce, pounded the table in frustration and spilled his lemonade all in his lap.

Oh..and then cries at the top of his lungs.

I was raised in a family of 7 children. Mom never yelled or hit us....but we darned well did what we were told because she could shoot a killer glance and spoke in a deep, yet soft and serious tone when she meant business. I have the same 'glancing' ability with my daughter. She always said kids scream who were taught to yell by their parents. She was a childrearing talent.
I think more parents need to watch Dr. Phil or SuperNanny because it really isn't rocket science. It just seems to be a lost art.
I too compliment parents that are doing a great 'JOB' when and where I happen to encounter them.
p.s. thanks for leaving the restaurant when your child is out of freakin control!!

oh boy.... I thought we were in the clear. My son is a gem at dinner. We just back from a week long cruise where he ate the "fancy" dinner with us every night and was a perfect gentlemen. But we were also trying for Number 2 on that cruise. Does this mean when Number 2 comes along, all the table manners we instilled in Number 1 will be gone?


Our daughter was great in restaurants as an infant, got difficult from 18 months to 2 years, then a perfect eating out angel ... until about 6 months ago. Now she is the devil. I am threatening her with never returning to downtown ( she loves going downtown, I don't know why) unless she learns good table manners. Our tricks for eating out (when she was doing well):
1. Bring crayons, paper, small toys, do not give until you are seated.
2. Arrive early, order asap.
3. Make sure server understands you are NOT there for a slow and leisurely meal. Faster service = less mess & bigger tip.
4. Choose restaurants which are either kid-friendly or really loud so no one notices your child particularly.
5. Glue their little butts to the booster seat. No, seat kids where they cannot get up without your letting them.
6. Bag it and leave if you have to.

We have eaten out once in the past 6 months, it was awful. I don't want to pay so much to wolf down food super-fast, get nasty looks from patrons, and get no conversatio with my husband. With another on the way momentarily, I may forget what restaurants look like.

As a server AND a mother of two, some tips...

Bring a little roll of trash bags with you to the restaurant. Put one under your child's chair. EASY clean up.

Also. Children running through restaurants is OHMYGOD so dangerous. Children colliding with servers with hot food is badbadbad. I will not give details of the wounds I've seen. Some would curl your hair.

And. Tip your server. 18 to 20 percent. In most states we make a whopping $2.13 an hour. So as a mom and a server, when I am putting all those sugar packets back in the caddy, cleaning up the food off the floor, and scrubbing crayon off the table, I get a bit exasperated.

We remember those who tip us well, and we take super good care of you next time. BELIEVE ME. Your food will come to you at the speed of light. Your wine glass will be full to the top. And dessert will make it to your table, but maybe not to your check.

Oh, I feel your pain. I avoid eating in restaurants like the plague. My girls (4&6) are pretty good, it's my son (almost 3) who has thrown us totally over the edge. My God, he can't sit in his seat for 5 minutes, no matter what distraction I've packed.

One classic example of how we are 'that' family is pretty good. I think I'll blog about it (and link back to your post), rather then write the longest comment ever.

to MU, my kids weren't and aren't now "perfect". But mealtimes at home or out were never a problem and I sometimes received compliments on how well they behaved and how nicely they helped each other. Shopping expeditions ditto.

Wait?!? Who's hating on "y'all"? That ain't right! I'll tell y'all what ain't right. "You guys". Now that ain't right.

I have to say that I have lived enough of a life to NOT be astounded by kids acting out.

Now farts and skid marks...THAT is astounding.

What doesn't make my family THAT family?! With 4 kids not only are we greatly out numbered but we can always count on at least one of them acting up.

My family is birth control. Want to stop teen pregnancy? Send them to my house for a day.

My daughter had such an extended dance mix of a tanrum yesterday at Walmart that we became "that family."
I wanted shoes, see? Mine are threads of leather and glue held together with the power of my mind. I wasn't leaving without freaking shoes, screaming be damned. You could hear her my daughter for miles, I swear. And for the hearing impaired, there was a trail of french fries (that I'd used to bribe my child) snaking up and down the shoe aisles in Hansel and Gretel-ish fashion.
I lost all ability to reason. I let her run across the store. I instructed her to get in a basket pushed by a father of 3 young children because "they have lots of kids, they won't notice." I stared down a man who was glaring at us and came very close to asking him WTF he was staring at. As if I didn't know. I got some shoes, though!
When we go out to eat, it's during the off hours. I always go to the same restaurants and try to get the same waitresses. I place my food order with my drink order as to not precious good-behavior time. I ask for a to-go box when the order comes, and we're packed up and paying 25 minutes or so after we get there. And of course I leave a huge tip to make up for the puddle of saliva my daughter spit on the floor when she should have been eating. All these precautions guarantee nothing, though. Best of luck to you (and everyone) next time. Oh yeah, and crayola Color Wonder books and markers can work wonders.

I bet folks won't hate on you, river, so much for the judgmental comments, but more for the "y'all"

At least around these parts.

You should think about cloning your perfect children though.

Shoot, we tend to use the creamer blocks first. No wonder we're having so many problems.

We're "that family" when we're walking three abreast on the sidewalk, pushing a stroller, walking a dog, and young single people roll their eyes and make that annoyed chhhhhh sound in their throats when they can't walk past us.


Y'all are going to hate me, I know, but quite frankly, I'm astounded. Do the kids behave this way at home? Do they throw silverware and run around screaming? Dinner is dinner wherever you may be and I would have thought table manners applied at home would also be applied anywhere. Yes, I do have children, 4 of them and I could always take all of them (at once or separately) anywhere.

I think that at one point or another, everyone is THAT family. The only way I manage to keep the boys (who are 2.75 and 15 mo) from coming completely unglued when we're out a a restaurant is the portable DVD player. I repeatedly admit that it is the best $100 I have ever spent. I know your little one isn't quite old enough yet to get any use out of it, but a few months down the road and even he might be placated by a video or two...

Good luck!

Eating out as a family is way overrated.

It's expensive. Come on, I could buy stuff at Sam's Club that taste as good as restaurant food. At least at chains.

The food had portion distortion. Seriously makes me fat...eating out.

And you can't enjoy it because of the kids.

Take out is THE hottest way to eat out now.

I so clearly remember the 1st time that "we" became "that family" when we had our 1st child. I was mortified. I was humiliated. I swore to never go out again. Then I said, screw that. And so now we go out all the time. lol. We even have 3 kids (ages 8, 6 & 3.) Nothing bothers me anymore. Temper tantrum in Macy's? No problem. Go ahead and finish rolling around and screaming. I'll just be looking at the shoes. However, the 3 year olds tantrums make my husband go nuts. He's the one trying to drag a limp body off the floor.

Oh good. As long as it's not just us.

What makes us THAT family?



My oldest child has Asperger's Syndrome - think "Rain Man Lite". He goes from zero (ie: looking and acting like your garden variety cherub) to acting like Raymond in a full-on neurologically induced nutty, flapping and shrieking and escalating and going boneless and flailing.

The younger child is the most bloody minded kid ever born and goes boneless on a regular basis, leaving me to scoop his 50 pound carcass off the ground, throw him screaming and kicking over my shoulder like a sack of ornery, pissed off potatoes, and go outside to 'regroup'. (Read: Cry together.)

Daddy is the third child and now absented from the daily grind, which the children like to remark upon at the darnedest times.

I crack a profuse sweat the instant either of them starts making noise and turn puce with the frustration of it all, generally dropping my belongings out of my bag, cussing, and then falling out of my flipflops or slides or bra as I stop short to pick up all the crap that fell on the floor, like tampons and my lucky condom.


That's what makes US that family.


The size of our family is what makes us "that family", not the way the children behave. Actually, we are commented nearly every single time we go out on how well behaved the children are. We eat at all types of restuarants (McD's, Wendy's, Applebees, Red Lobster, Buffets, etc.) We notice that when we walk in, everyones eyes get very big and follow us like we are a circus act. (sigh) The children (10, 7, 6, 4, and 1) have always eaten in restuarants with us from the time they were born. I'm a firm believer that if you tell them you're going to leave if they misbehave then be prepared to follow through. We have had to do it before. However, after the first time of having to leave, the kids quickly learned that we were not kidding! I wish you luck and a LOT of patience until this stage passes for your youngsters!! -Becky

Last year, before we became a family of 4, we were still "that" family... sitting in a nice family restaurant, 2 year old son CHUNKS his sippy cup into the booth next to us. It hits a BLIND woman on the arm. uh-huh..... niiiice. Now we add the 10 month old who has to grab EVERYTHING and a 3 year old who WILL NOT eat to save his life. It's a good thing my children are cute. ...

My husband refuses to eat out with Dawson in tow. Which is why I still haven't been able to use that TGI Friday's gift card, dammit.

Dawson is intolerable. He throws silverware, empties all the sugar packets onto the floor, and then hides under the table while yelling words I can't comprehend.

And sometimes he likes to yell "I'm hungry" but then refuses to eat what's on his plate.

I believe the last time we ate at a restaurant was October 2006. SERIOUSLY.

Oh yeah. We don't even eat out any more and our youngest is almost 3. If we do, we just go to the bar up the road so they can play games in the game room (stock their pockets full of quarters) and we can drink and ignore them... oh, wait, I mean, pay attention to them and make sure the video games are appropriate for a 6 and 2 year old..... And we never drink... noo.., not us....

Oh yes, this is us in restaurants too. My 19 month old still thinks that crayons are yummy & my almost 3 years old still keeps handing them to him.

Haha! We went to a restaurant with our baby and friends who have a baby. The couple sitting at the table next to us asked to move to another part of the restaurant.

we're that family most of the time. Unlike being 'that mom' in the grocery store, which I view as just being my turn whenever it happens, we are 'that family' all the time. The boys are rambunctious. yeah that's a good word for it. we are constantly pulling them back into their chairs and hissing "I said sit on your butt or I am going to smack it" and one or the other of us is out in the car with a child on time out. we eat in rotation. :)

We once went out with 2 other couples, who each had 2 toddlers. by the time the 12 of us left the restaurant it looked like a war zone. One of the dads commented "Havoc, mayhem & distruction. our work here is done."

We're no longer that family because the kids are now 15, 11 & 9 and fully able to behave themselves properly in public....FINALLY. Actually, I'm now that woman over in the corner table rolling my eyes at the people who don't remove the screamers from the restaurant or worse, I'm the person gagging because some idiot chooses to use the table to change the baby instead of the restroom.

I'm sorry. It's just that we were that family for so many years (with three kids, those years go on and on and on) that I no longer have any tolerance left for it. There's not much I miss about the baby and toddler years. And I don't miss going out in public with little ones the most!

We went out for Sunday brunch with some friends of ours a while back and our party consisted of two couples, a four-year-old, two two-year-olds and a six-month old and it was insane. At one point my friend's husband and I shared about five seconds of adult conversation and he said, "We do this every six months or so just to remind ourselves why we don't do it more often." In fact, that was about six months ago so I'm about due for a restaurant meal. Hmm... where to?

I think we are all that family from time to time. My younger child tends to get a bit zoo-y in new places, but he will never acclimate or learn if we don't go through hell first.

Fortunately, he loves to eat, so if the food comes quickly, we do fairly well.

Well, my husband makes Splenda for a living. If I told you what was in it, I'd have to kill you. So, yeah, I'm not at liberty to say.

We are that family every time I have to whip my magic boobies out at the table to quiet the Girl. Also, we leave terrible messes at the table even though I try to clean up a bit. It's embarrassing.

Breast feeding at the table so he will stay quite while I enjoy dessert. Kidding.
Here is what we really do-Order all of our food when the waiter comes for the drink order and refuse to hear specials, say hello, or anything else that would prolong the process. Then when the food comes I eat standing up, with the baby on my hip, while waitress struggle to get around me, and food dribbles from my mouth to the table. I am classy!

I don't know if you have a Roadhouse Steakhouse around you now. You should try them. The children could eat peanuts and throw them on the floor. That way their trash will blend in with the peanuts and hor rolls they serve before your meal arrives. Only thing is good luck getting them to eat what you actually order them after filing up on all the peanuts and free bread.

Ah, the speed-eating/no-eating meal. That's an unexpected diet. I went to lunch with my sister, her husband, and my toddler this weekend, and it took three of us to keep his squirmy self in line until the food arrived, incredibly late. I think that we'll be eating at home when we have two. And not flying anywhere. I'm not that brave yet.

Isn't there a way to...stop this?! I mean, is it wrong to medicate them before a dinner out? or, can you have the children seated at a separate table and pretend you don't know them?!

I've got the loud kid. She screams. She shrieks. She runs. She's 18 mos and eating out with her now gives me heartburn. My stomach clenches and I just get so stressed. H thinks it's all just fine and screams with her. We are THAT family. At least out of the house the dog doesn't join in with her howling.

Yes, that is us too. Going out to dinner is crazy. My son is 20 months and is the tough one now. My daughter (newly turned four) is usually pretty good now. We still try though! Usually we go early. Choosing loud, kid friendly restaurants works too because then you don't really notice unless it's a big scene. A few weeks ago we went out with my sister and mom and I brough along cars for my son. I thought what a great idea because it will totally keep him busy. It did and we were happy. . .until he started to through them while screaming with delight. Now, why didn't I see that coming?

you had me at "series of napkins" I'm still chuckling...
God, what doesn't make us "that" family? Just the simple fact of 4 kids that are 5,4,2 and 9 months isn't bad enough? Ok, so my oldest is 5 and has autism, autism and being in public are not a good mix unless it a REALLY good day and seriously if the day was THAT good why would I be paying $50 just so that I wouldn't have to feed the monsters? Once at Broadway Station (the one with the train that goes around and around) the 5 year old decides to follow the train, trips our server who is bringing salsa to another table and Ben (my 5 year old) freaks out, I had to go for a walk with him...later at the end of the meal he throws a glass of water in the face of his PCA, nice huh? We usually tip good so that people don't dread our arrival. Is that enough for ya? I got like 100 more like that.

Where you at dinner with us tonight?
At least we aren't alone in these trenches...

Everything you've just said!

Let me see...

We no longer enter restaurants as a family. My daughter was quite civilized as a baby and toddler. My son, not so much. Our last attempted meal at a restaurant ended with me standing outside the car while my son (strapped in his carseat...not an easy task) screamed. Did I mention it was winter and COLD outside? Not fun.

Now he throws lovely tantrums in stores because I am a mean mom and make him SIT in the cart...so as to not have him fall out and crack his melon open.

I know. Mean.

Well, you saw last week's post about our problem with getting into the car in the parking lot.

Cordy's newest trick when eating out is she insists on slipping out of her seat and sitting under the table until food arrives. And Mira cries until someone holds her, so one person is always holding her and eating.

I have a runner. Oh, the running, always with the running. She thinks it is a game.

I am the mother running and cursing and sweating, as I try to catch her.

Oh, the running.

Oh the butter pats.

Those are good as appetizers.

Bumper is a screamer. She introduced the scream at 20 months and has now perfected it at twenty-three. It's a high pitched, if only dogs were the only ones to hear it, kind of scream. It makes ears bleed. It makes nice people glare at us. That scream is what makes us THAT family.

I'm that person who lets their kid do dangerous things. Like today at the coffeeshop, there was a set of stairs. And I wanted to finish my coffee. So I let him jump down the last four in one jump. I also let him stand up in the main compartment of the grocery cart while I push it. Once a woman told me it was dangerous. Without thinking I lied wildly. "We're circus performers. NO. Seriously. I was on the high wire by age five."

But truthfully- we're just both physically gifted.

Oh,and I feed him doughnuts while I grocery shop. What else. Oh yeah. He's totally naked on the front porch. All the time. And my friend and I go to dinner at 4:30 and we order wine or beer first thing. And I totally let him howl it out in the cart or shop or even the library when he's disobeying.

And once, when I caught this man staring at me while he howled, I totally said, "You're checking out my ass, aren't you? Shame on you."

There. I've confessed. :)

We're totally *that* family. Or more specifically, I'm totally *that* mom. My first two went everywhere with me, were great in restaurants (most of the time) and were awesome little shoppers. Number 3 is, um, not.

He's a happy guy, but since he turned one (he's 18 months now) when he's done, he's DONE. There's no 5 minute warning, there's no chance to pack up and get out quietly. He's done. And he's a screamer. You know that god-awful, high-pitched scream that you rolled your eyes at when you were single/kid-free? Yeah, that's him. He's my own little GPS in a crowded grocery store--only it's advising other customers to steer the hell away from us.

I was bothered by the looks at first, but now I just ignore them. I ignore all of it--him screaming, the bitchy moms, the judgmental grandmas, all of them. I just want to say "It's no joy for me either but we gotta eat" but I never do. I'm assuming he'll get better, but with the terrible 2s looming on the horizon, I'm not holding my breath.

My 2 yr olds can eat a dozen butter pats while we wait for our meal.

If I had seen someone else's kids do that before I had my own, I would have had evil, trailer-trash thoughts about their abilities to parent.

Now, I have asked strangers if they were done with their cracker basket so I could throw them to my children to buy a few minutes for me to finish my coffee.

Sounds like you and the huz have some of the joys over on the west side.

flying to seattle without a change of underpants for anyone. bad idea.

I hate dining out with the two kids. Seriously. And it's not about whether the other diners are enjoying themselves; it's about the fact that I'M not enjoying myself, which defeats the purpose of spending the bucks to have someone else serve me.

I promise, I only hit preview and then post once. Sorry about the multiples ??????

I am SO glad my 4 boys are now older. We can go out to eat and have a normal wrestle-in-the-restaurant-floor-dinner. Because, you know, one boy looked at the other or dared to breathed. I am thrilled to no longer be THAT family, but have graduate to "those freaks".

Duct tape?

Ok, maybe not. I guess she's too young to learn how to play MASH, right?

I hate to brag, but what the hell. We were NEVER that family. I followed these simple rules:
-kids were quiet, if not I took them to the bathroom to beat them. If they were babies and in their "pre-beating" stage I took them out of the restaurant and my food went with me in a to-go container.
-We didn't eat out much during the "pre-beating" stage.

That's all I got, but hey, it worked.

LOL remember the good old days when our parents just threatened and then followed through with "taking us to the car" - wherein we sat in exile with the doors locked and the window cracked until they finished up their nice quiet meal? Who is it that ruined that for us?

this morning at the back to school coffee, my 22 month old son ate a bite of a green crayon and the better part of a black one (who knew black ones tasted better?), then spit it all out in a little pile on the library floor. i of course, pretended not to notice anyone staring as i swept it under the quiche and muffin table with my foot.

oh yeah - and when we recently went to utah, i found myself googling things like 'kids eat free in salt lake city' because hell- if you HAVE to take them out, you might as well have THEIR meal be free.

My 3 little ones do pretty well in restaurants, thank GOD. And I can't figure out why that is. Either that, or I've just blocked those bad memories OUT of my brain.

This doesn't mean that I don't feel for you, because I do. Carrying toys and crayons in my bag, along with eating out early in the day helps.

Things WILL get better. With lots of alcohol for you and benadryl for the babies. lol

Our dance:

1. Hit the restaurant around 5:00, prior to 'real people' arriving
2. Order all food (no apps) when they come over for the drink order
3. Request they bring the kids' food as soon as it's ready
4. Ask for a second alcoholic beverage, ice cream for the kids, and the check, when they bring our food.
5. Consume food without chewing and chug wine.
6. Apologize profusely to anyone hit by flying debris
7. One parent takes child wearing the most ice cream to the car.
8. Other parent leaves a big tip to compensate for the ENORMOUS pile of chicken fingers, french fries, splenda packets, crayons, and shredded napkins on the floor.

Our best time was 20 minutes in an Applebee's. I think they would have comp'd us if we could have done it in 15.

Hilarious! Now just try it in packs. That's right, you invite a couple of other "families with kids" out to eat. Either the children entertain each other OR the parents all swap off the kids (you know how kids will sometimes listen to adults who aren't their parents?). I mean, it's still pandemonium but at least you have good company. And if you get asked to leave the restaurant it's almost like you have a gang to back you up!

I can totally relate to that. Despite our best efforts on the weekend a family actually asked to be moved away from us at a restaurant. we were trying soooo hard to control our son!
We've discovered the joy of the buffet. It's soooo much easier since they can get up and move around.
What makes us "that family"? That would be when my son and I both had complete meltdowns while waiting in line for a train on vacation. Brutal.

Michael is the kid in Mommy and Me, gymboree, music class, whatever, that refuses to particpate. Refuses to sit in the circle. And when he does participate, he stands in the middle of the circle.

Oh my gosh that is so freakin funny! Before I had kids I would see those parents with their kids running around and crawling on the floor and making a mess and I swore to my husband we would never turn into those people. Now that I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old we eat out at 4pm because there is hardly anyone in the restaurant at that time and usually it is other parents with kids. And we tell them to do almost whatever they want so we can just get in a few bites. The worst was one time I took my son who at the time was about 1 year old and my daughter was three and we went to a very crowded restaurant for lunch. My daughter screamed the entire time and threw everything at the table and we were actually asked to please leave the restaurant and they would comp our bill as long as we would just get out of there because my daughter was upsetting other people. And why was she having this big fit? Because she wanted to go potty in the boys bathroom and I couldn't go in there.

you're giving me lots to look forward too... and i thought eating out with a 7 month old was hard... :)

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