My Baby Screams in Restaurants and I am SO Sorry!


I am sorry. To all you moms out there who can't go out to eat because your kid screams and ruins your dinner, I am so sorry. Until now, I've been incredibly spoiled and I may have even thought it was your fault that your kid was screaming during dinner. (I may have judged you a little.) My first two children--girls--were what we called white-tablecloth babies. We could take them to the best upscale restaurant on the Magnificent Mile and they wouldn't make a peep. They would eat their dinner and play with a toy and everyone would smile at them and compliment me. I thought I was soooooo good at this mothering thing. What a fool I was.

My darling son just turned one. This is the one who already got me yelled at on a plane (another first). He has one volume: LOUD. He screams if his food isn't in front of him quickly enough, when he runs out of zucchini and hot dogs, when he's thirsty, tired, angry, happy, sticky, uncomfortable, bored, or just having fun. He has one mode of communication: screaming. This is not a discipline issue. He can't be "disciplined" yet. He's a baby. (The first person to say "spank him" in the comments section loses. You don't spank a baby.) You can't even really speak harshly to a baby. It makes the screaming worse! The only thing you can do is hurry up and leave the restaurant, change his scenery, play peek-a-boo, give him your keys, your necklace, the ten different toys in the baby bag, your wallet, your dignity and pray it stops. My God, it's horrible!