Ryan has been eating in restaurants since she was just a baby. My ex and I used to like to eat out on the weekends and since we didn't go to fancy places, she always came with us. I have always been very strict about restaurant behavior, though. Very strict. I would never, ever allow her to disrupt other diners, so the rules were (and remain), sit in your seat and sit still, no getting up from the table at all (unless it's to use the restroom), no loud talk, no whining, no crying, etc. Basically, I have always expected her to act like a small adult during the hour or two we spend in a restaurant and I always used to come armed with books, crayons, paper, etc, to ensure good behavior. There were a couple of times when she was small (and not as in control of herself as she is now) when I had to take her outside and have a little chat in order to prompt an 'attitude adjustment.' We only had to leave a restaurant once (because we'd arrived late, had to wait for a table, and she was grumpy), when she was about two. And there was a period when she was a toddler when we simply couldn't go out at all, as she just couldn't sit still long enough for us to have a peaceful meal. But in general, I've always been able to take her anywhere and feel confident that she would behave (her behavior at home, however, can be a completely different story!).
Anyway, I don't think I realized just how seriously she takes my 'out in public' rules. And I had to laugh this afternoon when I found out.
We went to Wendy's today for our Saturday afternoon chili fix. The line was long, so while I waited, Ryan got our napkins, straws, and spoons, and found us a table. When I finally got our food and sat down, she was shaking her head, looking aggravated.
Me: What's wrong?
Ry (whispering loudly, pointing discreetly to the table behind us): Those two children.
You should note here that Ryan is not terribly tolerant of small children. She never has been. She doesn't really like babies (she never even played with baby dolls) or toddlers and when they cry, no matter where we are, she gets very aggravated and makes rude (albeit hushed) comments. I am constantly reminding her that, given the fact that she's only nine, she was actually a small child quite recently. She doesn't care. The kids at the table behind us were a girl (about 2-years-old) and a boy (about 5).
Me: What about them?
Ry (still whispering loudly): They have been climbing all over the booth, smacking each other, making burping and farting noises, getting out of their seats, and running around! And neither their mother nor their grandmother has done a thing! Their behavior is appalling!
Me (snickering): Apalling, eh?
Ry: Completely appalling. Horrifying, really. I'm disgusted.
Me: Wow. Appalled, horrified, and disgusted. That's pretty serious. Do you think you can still eat?
Ry: Very funny, Mommy.
At least I know I won't have to worry about my grandchildren misbehaving in restaurants.