Liz is probably going to write about this too, but I don't care, I am SHORT ON MATERIAL.
How do you guys feel about coffee shops slash playrooms? There are a few coffee shops around town that attach a little toddler play area off to the side. I think this is a fabulous idea, personally, because a lot of moms stay home, most of those moms like to chat with friends in coffee shops and none of those moms are free to chat in coffee shops WITH their kids. So add in a few books and a tub of Legos and you now have the entire neighborhood SAHM population drinking coffee at YOUR store. This is a good idea IN THEORY. In reality, a lot of these play areas are grimy, cramped and full of the usual trials of being stuck in a small space with Other People and Other People's Children. So it's not ALWAYS a fun time, is what I'm saying. But you try them out and you keep a few and cross others off your list, la la la.
Liz and I were meeting Carrie at a coffee shop neither of us had been to, so we didn't know what to expect. It was a smallish coffee shop with a smallish back room filled with grimier-than-usual toys. The floor didn't look like it'd been swept... ever, and I am not someone who notices dirt or crumbs or kids sharing sippy cups. (I KNOW. SUE ME.) But whatever, because I am the not caring type and because my kids find ways to get themselves dirty no matter where they are, I plopped Molly down and proceeded to do what I like to do on playdates, which is ignore my kids and talk to my friends.
Except it was awfully HARD to talk to my friend due to the LOUD and ANNOYING conversation happening a few steps away, in the part of the playroom obviously designated for Mom Chat. In the Mom Chat area we had two guys dressed in sneakers and t-shirts chatting up two suits. I couldn't see the suits from where I was sitting, but I had a great view of the two casually dressed men, one of whom was the father of the other two kids in the play area, who were also LOUD and ANNOYING and BUGGING EVERYONE.
But the dad was "Blah blah blah!" and the suits were all, "Hmmrrph! Klaaampf! Mmmrrrk!" and the other casually dressed man took long sips from his latte and looked blankly about the room and the oldest child-who-did-not-belong-to-Liz-or-me was all "DADDY! DADDY! DADDY!" And Daddy would say, "Five more minutes! Just five more minutes!" and then go back to, "Oh, you could make sixty grand a month without even TRYING," to the suits.
Liz thinks the suits were loan officers. Seemed like the dad was trying to sell them on something, get them to invest in whatever he was doing? I don't know. The point is: WHAT A STRANGE PLACE TO HAVE A BUSINESS MEETING, MISTER.
After the fourth or fifth time the dad blew off the daughter (and after Liz got tired of performing all appropriate parenting interventions between this man's two children) we decided to call Carrie and find another place for the kids to play. Because seriously. NOT FUN.
Let us discuss the various levels of offense. Shall we?
First, it's just rude to take up the ENTIRE seating area when you obviously don't HAVE to take up the entire seating area. These four people had commandeered the singular space for grown up conversation and made no move to make their area smaller or allow us the use of the extra chair they were hiding behind their own. IRRITATING.
Second, a business meeting? In the playroom? Really? Like other people want to hear all about your bank loans and/or how you plan to get back in the black. And the suits surely were not excited about discussing finances against a backdrop of slobbered on Legos and "DADDY! DADDY! DADDY!"
Third, when other people show up, people who are going to use the space the way it is meant to be used, you act, you know, AWARE OF THEM. You pay attention to your kid and how your kid is interacting with their kid. You don't share your entire financial history in the presence of strangers.
FOURTH, when another parent is making sure two children aren't hurting each other, two children who happen to be YOURS, and you are sitting THREE FEET AWAY, perhaps you should GET INVOLVED.
I hesitate to get TOO indignant, especially in light of what I wrote for Parenting this week but I just don't get what this guy was thinking. It's true that most of the dads I know (uniformly awesome dads, obvs) wouldn't be terribly aware of what the kids were doing, and probably wouldn't take much notice if another parent intervened, at least, not the way another mother would. But it was inconsiderate to us, inconsiderate to the suits and inconsiderate to his own kids.
Although, who am I to just ASSUME I knew what was going on, huh? And then we went to Liz's house where MY child proceeded to be Grabby and Snotty and Selectively Deaf and we left twenty minutes later. So, uh, SHUT UP, ME.