Foodie Dad Brings Restless Infant To Fine Dining Restaurants, Doesn’t Understand The Problem
People generally lose their minds if you mention bringing a baby to a restaurant, let alone a fancy one. This weekend, father and writer Noah Lederman penned a piece for Salon that inadvertently illustrates all of the reasons it’s a horrible idea to bring your infant to a nice restaurant. He seems shocked at the backlash. Sorry guy — it’s really hard to be on your side after reading your story. You’ve pretty much convinced the world that white tablecloths and infants don’t mix.
Lederman admits to being “tired of paying for crap food just because [he has] a baby.” Believe me, I get it. When my first child was an infant, I lived in Brooklyn in the middle of a foodie paradise — and I always wondered exactly what I could get away with in terms of dining with my child. There was a period where he would sleep silently on a carrier on my chest – and I took him anywhere I wanted. When that period ended, my dining options shrunk. When my child entered the phase where I was unsure how he would react in a dining room — I stopped trying to take him to nicer, quieter restaurants out of common courtesy. Parents who don’t do this are why the rest of us can’t have nice things.
Lederman tells the story of three attempts at fine dining with his daughter, Harper. Her behavior seems to get progressively better, but as he describes her behavior, I can’t help but wonder why he thought it would be okay to bring her to a finer dining establishment:
In the weeks prior to our arrival in London, Harper had developed some bad habits. She started licking the seat backs of highchairs, forcing bowel movements that timed perfectly with the arrival of a dish and faking a choking incident.
I don’t want to have fancy dinner next to a baby having a bowel movement, and I’m a mom of two young children — bowel movements don’t freak me out. I’d just rather not witness one while I’m dining on beef cheeks. I’d also rather not have to listen to an infant shrieking when I have time away from my own:
When my starter arrived â€” a crisp pigâ€™s head made from cheek, chin, nose and ear meat, cooked in red wine and pressed into a taurine â€” Harper started to shriek. This, just as the pre-theater crowd arrived, was a new and unexpected development.
This infant opera wasnâ€™t marked with discomfort or annoyance. She had just discovered that her inchoate pipes were capable of creating a quick falsetto screech. Harper yelped every few seconds like a smoke detector with failing batteries.
He makes note of her annoying screams, but never attempts to move her out of the dining room or out of earshot of the other customers. You can’t help but get the feeling this father thinks he’s entitled to enjoy his meal at the expense of everyone else in the room — including his daughter’s comfort. She’s clearly restless and the meals are obviously not an easy endeavor for him. By the third one, she’s eating fish head and he’s proudly raising an infant foodie, I guess? I just can’t get past the image of him changing her between the sinks in the bathroom.
Readers respond like you’d expect them to, calling him out on his behavior — wondering why he seems to care so little about the diners around him. He seems shocked by the backlash:
Are you sorry, or do you think people should just deal with it?
I think he set out to make a case for fine dining with an infant, but he actually does the opposite. There is really no reason to bring a restless infant to fine dining establishments. I guess Lederman will have to join the rest of us who have managed to abstain without curling up in the fetal position in a booth at Applebee’s. He makes it sound like once you have a child you have to abandon good food — you don’t. You just have to be a little more aware of your surroundings and use your judgement.
(photo: arturasker/ Shutterstock)