Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Today we went to Sweet Tomatoes.  It was a Tuesday.  Shouldn’t be too busy, right?  WRONG.  It was INSANE.  I don’t think I’ve ever been in a more noisy restaurant.  We’ve got 5 people eating meals now, so booths are a bit tight.  And there weren’t any available anyway.  So on the far side of the restaurant there was a table open.  It wasn’t too bad when we sat down.  There was one group of moms with a gaggle of kid (almost definitely Mormon; one lady had a total Utah haircut), but they were in the corner.  Then within minutes of our sitting down, the already crowded restaurant swelled.  Apparently a soccer team decided to have a team dinner at Sweet Tomatoes tonight.  And we were surrounded.

Now, I’ve been in noisy situations with lots of kids before.  Anyone who’s been in our ward understands this.  But this was unreal.  The kids were loud.  And ravenous.  But the adults were even louder.  These were obviously parents who were used to yelling at people across a soccer field.  And for some reason they thought this was appropriate behavior for a restaurant.  Granted, Sweet Tomatoes is not a fancy place.  It’s very kid-friendly, which is why we go there more than any other restaurant.  But we did pay for our meals, and they were creating a down-right unpleasant environment.  I could VERY clearly hear a conversation that was happening two tables away, yet my own kids sitting next to me had to shout to be heard.

“Mom, can I have some macaroni?”

I don’t even hear them this first time, so the request is made at a louder volume.

Mom, can I have some macaroni?”



After my brain filters this information past all the extraneous and unwanted input it’s receiving, I answer.  “Sure.”



And so it went all evening.  The food on the buffets was gobbled faster than the employees could put it out, and they were certainly working their tails off.  It got to the point that anytime I saw something decent on the table I would run and grab two of them, since it would be gone in 30 seconds and that’s when my kids would ask for that particular thing.  I think that this was one of the more stressful dinners I’ve ever had.  And my kids were good!  I don’t know about anyone else, but at about 5:30 noise starts to get to me.  I can tolerate it all day (which is a good thing, since Paul can be LOUD).  But then 5:30 hits and I’ve reached my limit.  I start to twitch (mostly internally) and then it makes me start to freak out.  And I was very close to having a nervous breakdown in public from all that noise.

So I have some general guidelines for those that might encounter or cause a similar situation.

1.  Think very, VERY hard about taking an entire soccer team of 9-year-old boys, their parents, and all their siblings to dinner at a restaurant.  An acceptable noise-level on the soccer field is absolutely unbearable in an enclosed building.

2.  If you do attend such an event (soccer or any other gathering), control your children.  The adults congregated at two tables and completely ignored all the kids.  They were left to run amok without any parental intervention.  And they NEEDED intervention.  I frequently heard, “I’ve had four desserts and seven slices of pizza and NO VEGETABLES!  YES!!”  So that’s why there was no pizza and the ice cream was out of the machine.  If you don’t care what your kids eat, whatever.  No big deal at all.  But teach moderation and CONTROL THE CHAOS!

3.  Teach your child how to wait in line and proper manners.  I wanted to smack some of the kids that just ran right in front of me to grab something with their bare hands, knocking over my four-year-old in the process.

4.  Remember that you’re not in your own home.  This is a public place that people have paid to be at.  Shouting at someone three tables away IS NOT OKAY!

5.  Apologize to anyone around you.  Isn’t this general courtesy?  I try to let the people around me know that I’m sorry if my kids have acted up in a restaurant.  It really goes a long way towards soothing bad feelings.  This group acted like they were in someone’s kitchen and were completely oblivious to all others.

6.  If you’re one of the other patrons, MOVE AWAY.  I saw some open tables and was tempted to move, but I didn’t want to be rude and cause a scene.  I now realize that was a big mistake.  Like anyone would notice us moving in that mayhem.

Sorry for the rant.  I know that my kids are not angel children.  We’ve certainly been in our share of loud and embarrassing situations that have been caused by one (or more) of my offspring.  And I’m sure I’ve been guilty of forgetting my manners when it was convenient.  But, as I’ve said before, this was ridiculous.  I needed to vent.