Saturday, May 27, 2006

Kids and cafes

I usually feel fairly good after visiting my gran: it makes her happy and breaks up the monotony for her. It's not as though I get nothing from it, of course, she is nice and can be very interesting if you get her on the right topic. For example, she put the final stone in the reconstruction of Selby Abbey*, and she also won a flight in a bi-plane at a fete as a child.

But the last couple of times, I've felt we're getting to be too much for her. That the kids are too loud and boisterous, that she finds us exhausting.

We went for lunch at a farm shop/cafe, which was pleasant, but she seemed uncomfortable about the kids' behaviour. I gave T the bowl full of condiment packets that was on the table to occupy him as he wasn't hungry. All he was doing was taking them out and putting them back in again, but she wasn't happy about it. I thought it was better than him struggling to get out of the highchair and setting up a wailing, which seemed to me the most likely alternative.

I should have taken in something to amuse him, I suppose.

S wanted soup and bread, but when it arrived she wouldn't eat any soup and only half the bread. Her hot chocolate was a thing of beauty, with whipped cream and marshmallows, but she needed persuasion to drink any of it. Play with it a bit, yes, no problem - but consume? No, of course not. Then she wanted to order chocolate cake, (which became the carrot I used to get her to tackle some of her bread and the hot chocolate).

But by then gran had clearly had enough and wanted to go, so we promised S chocolate bunnage from the shop instead.

T started wailing in the car on the way as he was sick to death of being in cars & high chairs and wanted to pootle about, so Gran changed her mind about stopping at the shop and persuaded poor S that she would give her money for a chocolate bun instead. 8) But T would've settled down if we'd gone to the shop, he was just fed up of being in restrictive seats.

OK, the kids weren't perfectly behaved in the cafe, but they weren't a nightmare either. They just didn't want to eat much and aren't very good at sitting perfectly still and quiet. It was much to do with being plied with biscuits, juice and crisps by gran before we even went there.

All in all, I don't think it went that well, although we won some brownie points back by S whipping up a "thank you for being my granny" note. :D

S finally got her bun en route home.

* Although Selby Abbey was founded in 1067 (I think) just after the Norman conquest, it was badly fire-damaged in 1906 and underwent major restoration work, which was finished in 1935. Gran would have been 20 or so.

Selby Abbey


Abby said...

My Mum and my Dad are both uptight as hell when in cafes with my children. It just adds to the stress I am under, managing the children and managing parent's reactions to the children! I think that the condiment game is an excellent pastime and much favourable to the alternative screaming and whining, maybe if you explained your motives to your gran? Or is she a "children should be seen and not heard" type?

Hippernicus said...

Iknew you'd understand. :) It is incredibly stressful having someone there who you know disapproves slightly (or quite a lot 8)).

I don't mind kids & cafes usually: I'm quite inured to the potential embarrassment and usually use a "get in/get out asap" strategy (where service will allow 8)).

But having a companion who is unaccustomed to the ways of the child makes it difficult.

And unfortunately Gran is a very slow eater.

She loves the kids, but I think she is more of the "seen and not heard" old school.

As a baby, my mum was pushed down to the bottom of the garden in her pram to cry. No picking up babies and coddling them, good grief, no. :D She recommended the same treatment for me as a baby and probably would for my kids, should I give the opportunity. :D