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Here I go again! And here, again, is the link to this week’s Challenge.  go to it,

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/weekly-writing-challenge-children/

People used to say that children should be seen and not heard. Not me, I’m not that old, and I don’t subscribe to that belief.  There’s nothing sweeter to my ears than my toddler grandson saying, ‘oh, wow,’ when I offer him ice cream, or when he asks if I could turn down the radio because he can’t hear his feelings. Thankfully Eden hasn’t yet developed that been there, seen that attitude that older children get as they harden into blasé adults. That’s why I enjoy being a grandma; it allows me a second chance to appreciate those moments I missed out on in my own children’s lives because I was too tired to notice.  I just love wondering what my grandchildren are going to say next.

But would I want Eden to interrupt when I’m having an adult conversation in an adult oriented restaurant?  Eden is well behaved; he knows that he should wait until the adults finish talking. But would he be interested in his surroundings? Would I have to bring special toys to keep him occupied? And would I bring my own food or order from a grown up menu at grown up prices food that might or might not suit his simple palate? It’s looking more and more as if the answer to those questions is a resounding no.

And here’s one more question, can I count on every child whose parents think they have a right to bring their child to that restaurant to be as well-mannered as Eden? What if I’ve decided that sort of place isn’t appropriate for a child and leave Eden behind, but the people sitting at the table next to me brought their child? What if he’s a normal child who wants to run around the room being superman or an aeroplane, what if he touches other diners with his sticky fingers, what if he has a melt down because he’s tired or wants dessert first? What about our rights? Sorry I lied about the questions. That sort of issue has lots of questions. But they are never going to get answered because there is a culture of ‘rights’ in the West. (I don’t think it’s restricted to Australia where I live.) Say it’s your right to bring a child into a restaurant that caters to adults and you take away the rights not only of the diners but also of the restaurant’s owner.

It’s suddenly everyone’s right to do as they please without reference to other people’s feelings or opinions. I’ve heard the excuses, there should be a children’s room and toys like they have at McDonald’s, they have no baby sitter – well take them to McDonald’s then (no don’t); my child is well-behaved so why should I worry about other people’s children.  Why indeed, let that be restaurant owner’s problem.

I’m not going to end with what we did in my day, because that would mark me out as an old fart, and times have changed. Thankfully children are seen and heard these days, but I believe that it should be in their own element. I’ll point you to the nursery rhyme that says it better than I can:

There was a little girl with a curl right in the middle of her forehead, when she was good she was very, very good and when she was bad she was horrid.

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