A lovely, sunny, winter Sunday. A restaurant with a fireplace in the dining room. A group of friends lucky enough to be seated at a table near that warm, crackling fire and enjoying a wonderful brunch.
Sounds idyllic, right?
Then it happens....
A child gets up from his table where he has been sitting with (presumably) his two siblings and three adults, two double strollers - blocking the aisles I might add - and heads, screaming, across the dining room with his hands stuffed with napkins, muffins from the bread basket, silverware from the table and stops. Right behind me. Directly in front of the hearth and proceeds to count at the very top of his lungs while he throws things into the fire.
ONE! A napkin which bursts into flame and flies up toward the flue.
TWO! Half a muffin which bounces off the logs, throwing sparks up and out of the fireplace towards us.
THREE! An orange slice that slips out of his grip just before being catapulted into the fireplace and lands with a sickly plop on the floor of the aisle just begging for a patron or a waiter to slip on it.
I will take a brief break in the enumeration to share the fact that the parents of this child are ignoring his actions. The woman/mother is on her phone speaking at the top of her voice - apparently to someone who couldn't make it to join them all at this circus today - and the two men are in a discussion that I am not privy to nor do I care to be.
Which brings us to....
FOUR! As the child in question holds up a fork and knife above his head, ready to throw these two utensils into the fire OVERHAND and may the chips (or eyeballs) fall where they may.
Since this child could hurt himself and he's already making a HUGE spectacle of himself anyway, I decide to spring into action. Partly for the child's sake, partly for my own since I was in direct trajectory of the sharp metal objects that are about to be airborne.
I turn in my chair, put my hand on the child's back ever-so-gently and take the flatware from him saying,"I'm not so sure that is a good idea, little man." with my best fatherly/grandfatherly look on my face.
Whereupon (and, no, I can't think of any other word to use that will convey my rage-driven, olde fashioned, shock and awe at this moment) the mother (who has, up until now, obviously been ignoring her son's actions, impudence and SAFETY) turns to me and says:
"Please don't interfere with my child's creativity."
Are you KIDDING ME?!?!
Have you comPLETEly lost your ever lovin' MIND?!?
Your child could very well burn down the restaurant we are all in at the moment.
Your child could very well (proverbially) put an eye out - his OR mine!
Your child is only demonstrating what he has learned - or, more to the point, NOT learned at home!
Your child does not know how to act in a public place and that is YOUR FAULT.
That behavior is NOT "creative".
It is destructive.
It is rude.
It is incomprehensibly thoughtless on the part of the parents who obviously don't know any better themselves.
And it will NEVER stop until you, as his caregivers, get a clue and start to - oh, I don't know - CARE!
Pay attention to your children and discipline them when it's necessary.
And remember that "NO" is not a bad word. They need to hear it once in a while to learn the difference between what is acceptable and what is inappropriate.
Thanks for your time.....I know you're busy!