Taking a toddler out for a meal is often a scary proposition, because you cannot predict how he will act when out in public.
Case in point: At a restaurant, toddlers can act like lovely little children, but they can also go off the deep end in the blink of an eye. We’ve all been there — things seem to be going great, and all of a sudden your kid flips his lid and everyone is staring at you. This is exactly what happened to Melissa Wistehuff, a mom of three who was vacationing with her family, which includes a 7-year-old, a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old. Her youngest, a boy named Ian, was the culprit, and as she quickly exited the restaurant with her freaking-out kid, she said she felt like the star of her very own embarrassing show.
She tried to come back in, and Ian still wasn’t having it, so as her husband took him back outside, she went to pay the bill — only to find out a stranger had generously paid it already.
When you’re in that situation, you can totally feel like you’re in the limelight. You know that nobody wants to hear a screaming kid, and it does feel like all eyeballs are tracking your every move. After trying to placate your child, the correct response most of these situations is that you should remove him instead of expecting all the others in the restaurant (or mall, or wherever you happen to be) to also have to deal with a screeching child. Not only will this save everyone from bleeding ear drums, but it will help your child understand that this sort of behavior is unacceptable — and he will eventually learn how to dine like a well-behaved person.
However, those of us who have been parents can often relate really, really well when someone else’s child goes into a freakout mode. This story shows that when we see another mom going red-faced as her child collapses on the floor in high-decibel distress, a simple smile, a kind word, a helping hand or even paying a hefty diner bill can show her that she’s not alone and that we’re all in this together.