Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When Weasels Make You Proud

Reading this post from Simple Father, brought back a wonderful memory and good reason why parents need not give up on the idea of taking the family out to eat.

From the time Eldest Weasel was very short, we have on occasion taken the Weasels out to eat at real sit down restaurants. We never brought along any toys or snacks or entertainment. If the restaurant offered crayons, great. If not, no problem. We were there to eat, not play.

The Weasels knew that there was only one rule and it would be enforced. That one rule was any misbehaving and we will leave immediately. Crying, whining, fighting, tantrums, crawling around the floor or bad behavior of any kind and Mr. Weasel would take the gang to the car while I had our food boxed up and paid the bill.

The Weasels enjoyed going out to eat so much, that we only had to enforce this rule once or twice, way back before Eldest made it to her 3rd birthday. As a result, we were able to take the Weasels to nicer and nicer venues on special occasions without fear of disrupting other diners.

They learned to grow incredibly fond of Japanese Teppanyaki. It is one venue that we can guarantee every last morsel of food would get devoured by multiple picky eaters. Soup, entrees, rice, et.al., would be loved and appreciated. That always makes the cost much more palatable.

On one family night out at a cook top, share the table with strangers Japanese venue we were seated, leaving only 2 open places at our table. After we placed our drink orders the hostess brought a very well dressed and debonair black couple in their 50's and seated them with us. It was obvious that they had been looking forward to a nice meal free of french fries being tossed around and matchbox cars being driven over plates. Immediately they asked the hostess if they could be seated elsewhere.

I couldn't really blame them. Seeing, at the time 4 children (the oldest being only 8 and the youngest 2) when you are looking to enjoy a nice and not inexpensive meal, sitting at your table can be a huge turn-off. I was mildly offended having been prejudged, but understood where it had come from. Things really turned uncomfortable though when the hostess told them that no other seats were available and that this would be their table.

They said an awkward and polite hello as they took their seats. We all knew they were not thrilled with their seating assignment, yet we all handled it with class and did not let the awkwardness get the best of us. Polite conversation ensued and they began to engage the Weasels in dinner conversation. We all had a very enjoyable dinner with good company, despite it's rocky beginning.

By the end of the meal, this couple had grown incredibly fond of the Weasels. Before saying goodnight, they complimented the Mr. and I on what a wonderful family we have and how impeccably well behaved the children were, before apologizing for initially wanting to be seated elsewhere. Noting that it would have been their own loss had they sat at another table. The gentleman asked for Mr. Weasels business card and permission to send a 'little package' for the kids as a thank you for such wonderful company and an eye opening experience.

A few weeks later a huge box was delivered. It was filled with baseball caps for each child and big, collectible, metal, old fashioned 18 wheeler trucks with the logo of a shipping company that does not say "Downs". The kind they only make in plastic anymore. A note was included from the gentleman reiterating what a pleasure it was to have met our family and how impressed he and his wife had been with our children. He also included a business card that stated he held a high position at the not 'Downs' shipping company.

We have often received compliments about our children, but this by far meant most. For we had knowledge that the Weasels had changed people's hearts.

I only add the details here in hopes that that wonderful and kind couple someday may find this post and know how much there sentiments meant to us.

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Michael said...

It's great when your kids make you proud. I think I can say that our kids never embarrassed us in a restaurant. Of course, it was only because they were aware of the consequences of such behavior. Besides, they really liked to eat and they knew (like yours) that wouldn't happen if they acted like jerks.

The Devoted Dad said...

That's awesome. You guys are great, making the most of an initially awkward situation. What an impression you all must have made, being that they went home and didn't forget about it. -Jason

Tom said...

Wow. That's so great that you have been able to instill good restaurant manners in your kids. You are an inspiration to us all!

whatnowdad said...

Getting compliments on your kids from strangers in public places = best thing ever!

Otter Thomas said...

Wow! I would have burst with pride. What a nice couple.

PJ Mullen said...

That is very cool and it was very nice of him to acknowledge your kids behavior. Between you and Simple Father I'm starving over here. I wanted Red Robin when I read his post, now I want Kabuto after reading yours. That would be my dream, a teppanyaki grill in the middle of my stadium like kitchen. Dare to dream!

Oscar said...

That is a great feeling being acknowledged and knowing fromthe start your guys are the kind that behave. I did the same with my kids. No games, eat.

Good for you - All the weasels will have warm heads and something to transport thier lil goodies.

Gotta love it!

seashore subjects said...

Have to agree with what-now-dad, those are the high points of parenting!

Michelle said...

Sweet! Nice parenting there WeaselMoma!

And hey, if y'all are good with teppanyaki, head to the Kobe by Meijer on I think Wednesday nights where kids eat free.... I'll even join you. Mmmmm teppanyaki.

Scott said...

Thanks for reminding me that it'll be worth it all in the end. As the 4 year old tries to spread her wings a little bit this post is very inspiring!

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I have to say that my kids are awesome in restaurants too, and were at very young ages. For much the same reasons as yours.
And I think I'm PMSing because this post made me tear up.

Terry said...

How awesome! I see the light at the end of the tunnel as I pry my Little Man off the table!! Whew! 19 month old boys are a handful!

Seriously, I am wayyyyy impressed with this post! I hope one day I can say the same.

The Father of Five said...

Great story, and a testament that folks CAN and DO raise their children to behave!

Congrats to the Weasels!!

WeaselMomma said...

@ Michael ~ They can drive us crazy so many times, it's nice to remember when they make up proud.

@ Devoted Dad ~ It was certainly a huge compliment and meant a lot.

@ Tom ~ Luckily, this one didn't take too much work on our part. Every kid is different, but this certainly worked for us.

@ WhatNow ~ Yeah, those are the best kind.

@ Otter ~ They were a lovely and gracious couple and I think we almost did burst with pride.

@ PJ ~ Install hat kitchen and I'll be over for dinner constantly.

@ Oscar ~ It's always nice to see a return on investment.

@ Seashore ~ It sure does make a parent fell good.

@ Michelle ~ Which Meijer? Let me know and we'll meet for lunch.

@ Scott ~ Every kids is different, but I think you will find success using this method.

@ DysFunctional ~ I hope you have some chocolate handy.

@ Terry ~ I wish you all the luck in the world.

@ Father of 5 ~ Thanks. I suspect that your kids are equally as great in public.

Melisa with one S said...

What a great story! It's really reward enough when your kids simply behave in public, but when outsiders give a compliment in some way (let alone sending a package!), it is an amazing payoff. Nice job!

terri said...

It's almost the norm that when children are in a restaurant, there will be disruption. I'm sure this experience was a serious change of pace for this couple. And your children certainly earned their reward! Nice job!

Heather said...

There is nothing that makes me happier, than going out to eat, and being seated near, behind, or in front of well behaved kids. I remember my cousins being HORRIFIC in restaurants to the point of embarrassment.

Good for you Mom & Dad!

Mr. Man said...

As usual, I really enjoyed this. Like the couple in the post, I would have had the same reservations, but it is a testament to you and hubby on the job you're doing.

de-I said...

Weaselmomma that is the coolest, most wonderful story. Bravo to you and Mr. Weasel.

Tales of Cheerios and Sleepless Nights said...

I just recently found your blog (was recommended by my Google Reader - good recommendation!) and wanted to tell you that this post has inspired me to take my little one out more often. I get so wrapped up in the "she'll disturb other people" fear that I don't even give her the chance to experience eating in public very often.

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