Thank you to Melissa at for this wonderful Guest Post!

Melissa Greiner is a Philadelphia-based writer and editor covering food, wine, parenting, home and anything else that catches her fancy. She has been published in a variety of magazines, including Parenting: Early Years, Philadelphia Style and Main Line Today. She is the Philadelphia blogger for Haute Living and the wine blogger for Drink Philly. She also works as a copywriter for area marketing and communication agencies.  And, of course, she’s the proud mom to Little Man.  For more on what Mel’s working on, follow her personal Twitter handle, @MelGreiner.


I’m lucky enough to say that my career actually requires me to try new restaurants, and have even gone so far as to dedicate a great deal of space on my blog on how becoming a parent hasn’t required me to give up my cafe-hopping ways. I will be the first to smile at the couple trying to enjoy their glasses of pinot noir as their slightly squirming three-year old looks on.

But I’m not an idiot. I know when to say when. I know that some worlds simply cannot collide. And I wish the family sitting next to me at dinner this past Saturday night did, too.

Now, I’m not calling either of the adults in question “idiots.” I don’t know the circumstances behind the event. But I am calling them discourteous. I am all about maximizing the experience for my family, except when it crosses over into potentially ruining it for the others in my midst. Yes, children (and that includes babies and toddlers) can dine at restaurants that don’t have cartoon mascots or even kids’ menus. But there are rules, people. Fine dining establishments may be aiming too high.

Still can’t figure it out?

* If every gentlemen in restaurant is wearing a jacket and tie, and yours is now splattered with a substance I’m pretty sure won’t be coming out, you may have chosen the wrong restaurant.

* If the romantic glow of the candles is being washed out by the lights and sound-effects of your child’s iPad war battle, you may have chosen the wrong restaurant.

* If standard table settings come with more than four forks, which are all now on the ground and creating an obstacle course for your waiter, you may have chosen the wrong restaurant.

* If the high-pitched screams of your toddler are downing out the gentle strains of the violins, you may have chosen the wrong restaurant.

People make mistakes … this I know as I am often guilty of it myself. But the suitable action to take when your mistake is realized is to save face, apologize, and move on. Not casually whisper “shhh” to your left and then order the chocolate soufflé for dessert.

How this family walked out of the restaurant without blood dripping down their legs is beyond me, as more than 20 tables were shooting daggers at them all night. I can only hope they tipped their poor waiter generously, or at least relegated their family dinners to the local McDonalds until their son reaches college graduation.


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