Friday, January 11, 2008

Update: The Decision

Andy starts school on Monday. He liked it Thursday, he loved it today, and so we have decided to grab the slot and get him going. He will go three mornings per week. I'm still looking for another place for the fall, but this school is supposed to be the best in town. We'll see what we see!!!

And the baby sleeps in

Gotta love it...

So while I have this silent minute, I shall share it with you. Peace. Quiet. Why am I not napping?

Our dilemma this week is Andy and school. We looked at a school yesterday- it was ok, had lots of space for him to run, lots of movement. I was looking for the fall, but they have a space right now. As in, he could start on Monday.

This was unexpected. Most schools have long waiting lists, and this school is famous for having a long waiting list. Do I try to scrounge up the $200 and send him right now, or do I stick to the original plan of trying to work some extra hours to raise up the money to send him in the fall?

I will be looking at other fall schools, too. I'd like to get him prepped for kindergarden, and this school isn't the most academically-oriented school in town. However, I'm not sure which one is, and we still need to be sure we have a good fit for Andy. the best school on the planet is useless if Andy isn't happy there.

He sleeps on.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Dinosaurs!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Children in restaurants: Part II

We're back from our foray into the world of eating venues. We did try to eat at Cracker Barrel, because my aunt, uncle, and cousins prefer it; but luckily, there was no room at the inn for an hour. For those of you who like "Cracker Barrel", please note we do not. I don't know if this was a national problem, but around here there was a mighty scandal about how the local restaurants fired people if there was even a rumour of them being gay, and we are just not happy with giving a place like that money. They also have a bad track record around here of serving anyone who is not white and of... you guessed it... throwing children out. Sorry, I just don't see "Cracker Barrel" as an "adult" establishment, especially when they have signs all over the place proclaiming themselves to be "family-friendly" (and that's the excuse they gave for their blatant discrimination: We're a family place!")

That's right- shock of shocks. Places that call themselves "family" restaurants are places where I believe people should expect to find children eating. Never forget: Disney advertises itself as a family destination- even it's posh hotel. So be prepared to go there and find families.

Back to our adventure. So we cheerfully left the Cracker Barrel under the scowls of the hostess taking names after telling her not to bother putting down ours (lady, you just told us that these four kids would have to wait an hour to eat lunch, and then were shocked we didn't stay when this town is full of restaurants? You've got to be kidding me. But now we have "rudeness and poor attitude" to add to our litany of reasons not to go there), and took them instead to one of our favorite places, George's Pizza.

And it was a delightful time had by all.

The kids grabbed a table by the window, and Joey and Andy were having such a good time with their cousins that I didn't have to actually sit at that table, we happily and comfortably sat with the adults at the next table- though admittedly, I selected the chair next to the boys, because you never know when supervision needs to be tightened. No one ran around. There were no screams, no throwing of items, nothing that disturbed anyone. The one other party who was there left without incident or disturbance about halfway through our meal, having enjoyed theirs- even with our kids giggling together and eating their meals. Joey had a mouthful of pizza, but still doesn't like tomato. Andy actually sat on his chair to eat his salad and some pizza. The cousins enjoyed the fresh audience for their latest jokes. Both of my guys laughed themselves silly.

A big difference from Joey being told to "go away" by his classmates, or the idea of limiting the time a family can be in a "family" establishment. Acceptance for who we are. As we are. And giving everybody room to grow.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Children in restaurants

As I prepare to take my kids out to lunch with my aunt and uncle and cousins, I have noticed the internet seems very chattery about the place of children in public, particularly in eating establishments. Disney's Victoria and Albert's has decided to ban children to much applause from folks who do not have children. An English pub chain is limiting parent drinks- alcoholic or otherwise- to limit the time children are in the facility. Where is it appropriate to bring children? How does one teach a child how to behave in public if they are not welcome in public?

I will admit these seem to me to be two different issues. Disney World is a park designed for children, and marketed to adults for childhood nostalgia. It seems a perfect opportunity to help train children how to behave in an upscale environment (after all, if you don't want kids, there is a whole section of DisneyWorld reserved for adults only). English pubs, from what I remember of being in them, are a bit different. Many are more like local bars, others are more comparable to an American Ruby Tuesday or Outback Steakhouse; where it is a restaurant with a bar area.

But the sticky issue is really what to do about children in public, and the various parenting styles we may not agree with. I certainly don't let my kids run wild through restaurants, but they do stand and wiggle, and I remember as a young child going on "adventures" where my brother and I would wander around the room and look at things like fish tanks, wall decorations, and cozy corners behind my mom's chair. People who think children should sit quietly in the chair for an hour and say nothing are just fooling themselves. But should they ban my child from the restaurant? I see no reason to limit non-alcoholic drinks served to a parent, no matter where they are. If families are not welcome in your pub, put out the "adults only" sign and be done. And if my business is too important to do that, why insult me by saying I can't have another drink if I want it?

I find screaming children running wild as annoying as anyone else, but how will children learn to behave in a restaurant if they are banned from them? Sounds like we're asking for more of those annoying, rude adults we see who can't use inside voices to speak to their companions, chat on their cellphones, are rude to waitstaff, and otherwise can't seem to behave in public.

On the other hand, there is value to a quiet dining experience. Funny, when I want to go out without kids, I wait until the kids are in bed to go out. But why should people who have chosen to not have children have to plan their lives around children?

So I'm all for adult-only establishments, as long as they understand they will not be getting my money. If you don't want kids in your pub, say "no children." If you don't want kids in your restaurant, don't build it in the middle of a kids' theme park.