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Childrearing

Diner Owner Says Sorry, Not Sorry For Screaming In The Face Of A Rowdy Toddler In Her Restaurant

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A baby screamed in a restaurant. The owner screamed back. Now it’s on.

According to WCSH 6, a Portland diner is the latest institution to spark a Facebook row over whether or not babies belong in restaurants. It all started over the weekend when a couple brought a two-year-old to Marcy’s Diner in Portland on a Saturday morning. Everything was going OK until the baby started screaming, and screaming, and screaming. Then, the restaurant owner decided the proper way to respond to that situation was to scream back, because nothing helps de-escalate a screaming situation like more screaming.

Screaming at an infant is an unconventional choice, especially when it is someone else’s infant, but Marcy’s Diner owner Darla Neugebauer was unapologetic and posted to Facebook to defend her decision to scream at “the monster.”

Diner Owner Says Sorry  Not Sorry For Screaming In The Face Of A Rowdy Toddler In Her Restaurant marcys diner screenshot png

I’m not sure why Neugebauer keeps mentioning the three full-sized pancakes. I mean, they’re just pancakes. Someone let their 2-year-old order pancakes at a diner on a Saturday morning. Is that weird? It’s a lot of food for a toddler, but pancakes seem like a normal thing to order at a diner for breakfast.

Neugebauer’s post divided the Internet as these types of “screaming toddler in restaurant” stories are wont to do. Before it was deleted, it racked up around 300 comments, some of which excoriated Neugbauer for calling a baby a “monster,” and others that applauded her for standing up to a screaming baby. I, on the other hand, feel like this is one of those stories where nobody comes out looking good. The parents look like jerks, Neugebauer looks like a jerk, and the screaming baby is probably the most blameless human in the entire story, but it is still a screaming baby, and nobody is Team Screaming Baby. Can I be Team Not-Screaming Baby, or maybe Team 3 Full-Sized Pancakes?

The parents absolutely should have taken the baby out of the room. That is just what you do when you take a baby to a restaurant: You keep the baby entertained and happy, and you keep a clear path to the door in case you need to run the baby outside. If that means your food gets cold or you have to hold the baby the whole meal or you don’t get to enjoy a leisurely, relaxed meal like you did before you had kids, well, that sucks. Hopefully in 10 years or so your kid will be bigger and everything will go back to normal. But you can’t just let the baby scream in the high chair throughout the whole meal. That kind of behavior is what makes people hate babies in restaurants.

That said, Neugebauer sounds like a jerk as well. If she wanted to scream at the parents who rejected her invitation to leave the premises, then I’d have her back. But you don’t scream at someone else’s child, especially since screaming back at a screaming toddler has literally never fixed anything. You might as well stick your head out the window and bark to try to quiet your neighbor’s dog.

Babies scream sometimes. It is what they do. If a baby starts screaming at a restaurant and the parents do nothing, go ahead and yell at the parents. But don’t yell at the baby, because it’s not the baby’s fault, and yelling at a baby never solves anything.

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