The Basic of Basics


I write this post as a rant. Or maybe it’s an angry observation which rubbed me up the wrong way. Perhaps it’s the lack of respect of the simple things, the basics.

It could be that I was just irked off to such a great extent that I had to write it all down here and vent.

Every Saturday evening we like to go out for dinner, all four of us. Well, to be honest we start off as four, then Bettina is the first one who falls asleep, leaving three on the table. Cesca lasts an hour and then she rests her head on the table and is asleep within minutes, leaving Anthony and myself to finally have an hour or two all to ourselves.

It is that hour or two which I look forward to the whole week. It’s us two, with good food and better wine. Simple.

So when both girls are sleeping and I am enjoying the night, the one thing I do not want to hear or see, are running, noisy children. I do not want them whizzing past our table, ducking underneath our chairs or shouting right next to us. I feel my nerves slowly slowly rising upwards to the surface with each passing minute and as much as I try to ignore them, they do get on my nerves in the most irritating way ever.

Last Saturday we were enjoying our night out when three children started doing just that. They were young children and their parents were nowhere to be seen. We politely told them to go run and play somewhere else, but that was advice they adhered to for a couple of minutes because they were soon back. They were yelling to such an extent I was sure the girls would wake up. Luckily for the playing children, they didn’t.

Now I do err with the girls. Sometimes fatigue makes me give in to their whims too easily. I find it very hard saying no to them and I choose my battles with them very wisely because I know that I can not expect them to do all that I want them to.

But the one thing I try my utmost at, are manners. I am constantly correcting the girls, reminding them of their “pleases’ and ‘thank-you’s”. I do not tolerate rudeness. For me, nothing is more attractive or rewarding than good manners. I am not impressed by scholastic achievements if they are not accompanied by basic manners. And if there’s one thing I am trying to drill into the girls’ heads it’s exactly that. Sometimes I see them following my example. Other times I need to remind them about it, and repeat for days at end before it finally sets in.

My girls are noisy. They’re messy, chaotic and sometimes act like a pair of monkeys who do not get along at all. But I try and keep trying.

Which brings me back to last Saturday. After asking them to take their unwelcome screaming party elsewhere for well over an hour, they finally retreated back to their parents. Their parents, who never – not even once, came to check on them or ask them to behave, or at least not to go screaming and shouting next to sleeping children and resting adults, remained at their own table, totally oblivious to their children’s behaviour. These were not old children, I’m guessing they were around 6-7 year olds.

After a couple of minutes, the child sitting down on the table right next to us decided to switch on Youtube on what seemed like full volume, and we spent the rest of the evening listening to an online fighting cartoon episode.

Children are children and having two, I know how hard it is to control them. But to ignore their blatant disrespect and lack of basis manners? I fault the parents. The basic of basics of manners ought to be taught and emphasized and acted upon. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to go out on a Saturday night and not be surrounded by screaming children and loud cartoons playing right next to you. I am in that environment every day, seven days a week. I just need a break, especially if the ruckus isn’t my own.

Rant over, apologies.

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