Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dining out with kids: The potty-training debacle

Posted by on Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Its not your fault, buddy.
  • Papiblogger
  • It's not your fault, buddy.
Parents of young children have different variations of a weekend that is ostensibly toddler spring break. There are no pants involved. There's usually a mess involved. And several members of your party will be crying before it's all said and done. This weekend is sometimes called a "lockdown" or the "nuclear option," but the basic concept is that your family doesn't leave the house for a weekend in an attempt to get your child potty-trained. Worst-case scenario: You're back in diapers after 48 hours of frustration. Best-case scenario is like all other spring breaks: You never talk about what happened again.

But the most important part of that weekend is that this all occurs at home. I sit here without a defense of what apparently transpired in a Utah restaurant: a pair of toddlers who sat naked on potty seats in the middle of the dining room. The Consumerist has the story that went viral (courtesy of another diner's Facebook post) after one unfortunate lunch service at the Thanksgiving Point Deli.

Everyone is wrong here. The person who took this case to the Internet instead of confronting the situation. The restaurant that failed to stop this immediately — one can't claim that this is something that's easy to miss, even in a busy dining room. The family that chose to take their home task public. The only innocent is the poor child who is simply hoping to earn an M&M.

Potty training is a challenging time, but parenting comes with sacrifice. As a parent, I'm allowed a few low-level violations if I'm dining out. My child will likely leave a bit of a mess on the floor (although I'll attempt to tidy up a bit), the volume at our table may be inappropriate at times, and we're probably going to be making as many trips to the bathroom as a Flomax customer. But if you agree to this dining-room contract, then I promise that I won't ruin your meal with the egregious offenses: a child running unattended around the dining room, someone grabbing you from the back of your booth, and now (sadly) the placement of a potty chair around my table.

Don't judge all parents by the fantastical actions of one of our species. I'm just as disgusted as you are by this story. Although I've now learned that parents are just as capable of ruining your dinner as their children.

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