An Open Letter to the Parents of the Baby Who Puked in Front of Me at Lunch
You don't know me, but we ate lunch at the same restaurant today. You seemed like very nice people, and your baby sure is adorable! I think she even smiled at me when I sat nearby.
Did you enjoy your meal? I certainly enjoyed mine -- until, that is, you picked up your baby from her car-carrier thingamajig, and she puked all over herself.
Now, the fact that your baby threw up didn't bother me. That babies puke, often without warning, I understand. It's an unfortunate coincidence that I happened to look up from my sandwich at the moment when milky glop started pouring from the poor little dear's piehole. I put my head down and tried to erase the image from my mind so that I could finish my sandwich.
What bothered -- what bothers -- me is that, after you cleaned the puke off your baby's face and shirt, you didn't bother looking around to see if, oh, I don't know, some of that puke might have landed on floor.
How do I know you didn't bother to look or didn't look hard enough? Because several minutes later, as you prepared to leave, I looked up to see a tendril of that milky puke strung between the bottom of your shoe and a spot of puke -- one of several -- on the floor.
It remained there after you left for someone else to clean up or track through the restaurant, maybe even into the food-preparation area!
Look: I'm not one of those curmudgeons who objects to the presence of babies and small children in restaurants. I couldn't do my job if I did! I dine at a restaurant almost every day of the week, sometimes twice a day, and more often than not there's at least one ankle-biter underfoot (underfoot sometimes literally, ankle-biter not -- at least not yet).
However, as someone who's seen far too many times how a cantankerous kid or the inevitable but not unclean-up-able mess babies tend to create can spoil someone else's meal, I feel compelled to remind you that your children are your responsibility, and their messes -- even in a restaurant where you've paid your own good money to dine -- belong to no one else.