Perhaps you’ve heard about the latest viral controversy that has gripped the entire nation. The curious incident of the fussy toddler versus the fussy restaurant owner versus the fussy parents of toddler. I’m not clear on the details but I take it one tantrum led to another and things escalated so fast people from Tanzania are currently offering their profanity-laced opinions on reddit.
One gloomy Maine day, Darla Neugebauer (no relation to author), owner of Marcy’s Diner in Portland, screamed at a toddler to “shut the hell up” after listening to her cry into her pancakes for nearly an hour in the midst of a packed diner. Darla went on to tell the parents to leave by throwing to-go boxes at them and yelling, “Either she goes or you go.”
The shocked parents, who were visiting from that other shining beacon of good manners, New York City, jumped on Facebook to promptly give Marcy’s Diner a bad review. Darla responded with some blunt profanity-filled rants of her own and suddenly people all over the planet were offering their opinions on parenting, public behavior and pancakes. Personally, I like mine with the cute smiley face made out of blueberries.
Since I’m from Maine, my name is also Darla, and I once was a parent of a toddler who made a living throwing epic tantrums, I thought I’d give both sides some unsolicited advice. Because as we all know, that’s the best kind of advice.
To the parents:
- Next time order scrambled eggs.
- The second your child starts crying, pick her up and run out the door screaming, “WHY? WHY? WHY?” Then sit in your car with your screaming kid the rest of the meal and watch your husband eat his bacon in peace, the smug bastard.
- When dining out, always assess the level of noise that is spewing from your toddler’s mouth. Is it a low-level whine? More of a loud blubbering? Or are wine glasses shattering in the next town? Then act accordingly.
- Always take time into consideration. As parents we are naturally conditioned to endure endless whining and crying that would make most non-parents scratch their own eyes out with a plastic fork. As a general rule, one minute to a parent = eternity for everyone else within earshot.
- Having a kid means sometimes you can’t do things you once used to enjoy. Like spending a leisurely meal at a restaurant without everyone else glaring at you. Taking an uninterrupted shower. Reading a book. Sitting. Thinking. That little bundle of joy will interfere with your every waking moment whether you like it or not. Don’t worry, this only lasts until you die.
- When Darla said to you on Facebook, “”You are lucky I didn’t get really f—ing nuts because being physical is not something I cower from,” keep in mind she speaks the ancient dialect of Maineiacese, a crude language born from extensive cabin fever due to the 100 inches of snow we got last winter. What Darla really meant to say was, “Thank you for your patronage, please come again.”
- Next time try not to slam your hands down on the grill and scream directly at the toddler. Instead take three deep breaths and calmly suggest to the parents through gritted teeth that they eat their cold pancakes out in the rainy parking lot like any good parent would do. Like they always say, you can catch more social media firestorm with vinegar than with pancake syrup.
- Take a crash course in how social media works. First rule: Do not piss off the NYC parents.
- Who’s Marcy? Where the hell was she during this whole smack-down?
- Because you are not a parent yourself, just for the shits and giggles take the nearest fussy, pancake-deprived toddler with a full diaper out to the busiest restaurant in town. Bon appetit!
- Please keep up your brazenly crass curmudgeon attitude. It’s finally taken the spotlight off our governor.
In conclusion, I believe this squabble will only be resolved when Darla is forced to spend an entire day with the toddler and in return the NYC parents have to spend an entire day flipping pancakes with Darla.
What are your thoughts? Do you enjoy dining out in peace and quiet? Do you think fussy kids have a right to eat a meal too? Do you enjoy flipping pancakes? Would you make me some? Who’s Marcy? Please leave your controversial comments in the section below and I will agree with all of them.