The Alinea debate: how many other places do children not belong?

The Alinea debate: how many other places do children not belong?
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I know, I know. The Alinea restaurant with the screaming baby story is getting to be old news. Baby cries in expensive (really expensive) restaurant and Chef tweets about it. It creates a huge controversy; even shows up on "Good Morning America" and "Today". There is a huge division of sentiment. There are actually people that have taken the side of the party that brought the infant. I am not nervous at all to boldly state it was a crazy move. Never shoulda brought that baby. Period.

Which brings me to other situations. Restaurants that charge more than a certain dollar amount for their entrees should have a policy about children. Yes, I am liberal and have taken my girls many, many places. But somewhere the line has to be drawn. People have to learn the courtesy expected from others. Not over the top expectations, simply what is right to allow others to enjoy their time.

Just this past New Years we went with another couple to a theater to see an Elton John/Billy Joel Tribute. Just before the show began at 10pm, a couple with a 4 month old baby came in and sat right behind us. Seriously? The show was not scheduled to end until after midnight.

I sat there wondering why in the world they would ever bring that baby. Besides being subjected to every germ on Earth (I came down with the flu of death 2 days later, I may have caught it there) what business does an infant have being there for the late night show; if at all?

There are those that will argue for the same reasons as Alineagate - cancelled babysitter, prepaid non refundable tickets. However, after the show we asked the couple how old the baby was. After telling us her age they were very nonchalant about bringing her. There was no cancelled sitter, this was their plan all along. They were "just happy she didn't cry". Yeah, so were we.

Everyone with kids has gone through or is going through the baby stage. Hopefully you are teaching you children the art of good behavior - not easy to do when you have an infant. Because you cannot reason with the infant, you simply don't put yourself and others in situations that are uncomfortable.

The couple behind us wasn't going to see Elton John and Billy Joel. They were IMPERSONATORS. Sure, they were good. But why weren't they home in a nice warm house with baby in her crib at 10pm? On a snowy, awful night to boot? They were selfish. Yep, I said it.

The first time we ever took our kids to what we referred to as a "really fancy restaurant" they were around 6 and 8 if that. They were at an age we could reason with them. We had drilled good restaurant manners into their heads; they understood the importance of not bothering the other patrons. They sat in their precious matching dresses like two little ladies with their hands folded. We weren't behavior Nazi's, we just expected them to be cognizant of others, nothing wrong with that.

My older girl knocked over a water glass by accident and I thought she'd cry. We explained that any one of could have done it (Lord knows it's usually me) and the rest of the meal was exquisite. We talked and enjoyed each other with no bother to anyone else.

We chose to have children. When we did we understood that our own social life was going to change and we were okay with that! Babies are babies. Remember that when they are born they know nothing of reasoning; nothing other than wanting food and sleep. If those two things collide at at $210 per diner meal, you're screwed. And so is everyone else.

So leave the babies at home. No expensive restaurants. No theaters; movie, plays or otherwise. No bars or nightclubs (yes it's done, pathetically). Do you enjoy your baby crying?

Neither do we.

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