My mom and sister and I took Pearl to Hershey Chocolate World Saturday.
Then on the way home, we stopped at one of my all-time favorite eating establishments in Carlisle, Scalles. I would recommend it, but I can no longer bear the thought of doing so.
It was 2pm. There were not a lot of other people at Scalles.
Pearl was playing one of her fun toddler games which involved running between the table and the bathroom. It was making me nuts and scared, so I made her sit in a high chair. Pearl hates nothing more than encapsulation.
Pearl was screaming, at the top of her lungs, for like maybe 2-and-a-half minutes.
It used to be a good idea to take Ms. Pearl off to the bathroom or outside or something to get her to relax. Those tactics no longer work, in fact they often make it worse. She is stubborn and loves to make me look bad in public.
The owner of Scalles came over and said, “Hey. What’s the problem over here? Nobody wants to hear that” to Pearl. It was funny and it startled her, so she shut up for like 20 seconds.
Then the owner went to where we could see him watching us and stood there, glaring.
When, about 1-and-a-half minutes later, Pearl finally started to seem like she’d relax, the owner came and asked me if I could take her outside and get her calmed down. I was hot and tired and hungry and annoyed by the negative energy emanating from his skinny shoulders, so I grabbed Pearl, put her under my arm and told my mom to call me when she and my sister were finished and I’d come get them. I bumped Pearl’s head on the door as I left.
My mom, also annoyed (and sympathetic to the plight of a child who may or may not behave on no recognizable schedule), said, “No. We’ll come too.”
So they did. We left. We put enough money on the table for the food we’d consumed. Only 1/3 of the food had come to the table.
I took Pearl home and tried (to no avail) to get her to nap.
30 minutes later, a police officer came to my door. He told me I had to call the Carlisle cops.
I called the Carlisle cops and spoke to the NICEST police officer EVER. Officer Darhower. The owner of Scalles had called the cops on me, telling the officer the worst parts of the story to make me look like some white-trash weirdo who makes a habit of rolling on her food bills. Officer Darhower indicated that the reason for the call was that the owner of Scalles would like the bill to be paid.
I explained to the officer that I’d gladly pay the bill if the owner of Scalles would deliver the food to my door. I explained that the owner of Scalles had asked me to leave.
The officer explained that it was actually my choice to leave, and the owner of Scalles had just asked me to take my unruly child outside and get her under hand.
I was very angered and weeping through all of this. It stressed me out in a way I can’t remember being stressed out as a parent so far–and being a parent is fucking stressful.
I may be excessively sensitive to the ways in which people who are not caring for children, working full time, keeping a house, and paying all the bills ALL by themselves judge the bits of my parenting style that come into public view. In fact, I know I am. But I don’t think it’s wrong to want privacy and tolerance from people in the World.
I don’t go around telling couples who make out in public to stop because I’m really deprived, and it’s unbearable for me to watch. I don’t go around asking people with too little clothes and too much flesh to get dressed because they’re grossing me out. I don’t ask people to stop smoking or doing other things which may or may not irritate any number of other human beings. I endure my own irritation, most of the time, with a smile. Or if I am incapable of doing so, I absent myself.
So Officer Darhower called the owner of Scalles and then called me back, saying that the owner of Scalles was REALLY concerned about the bump to little Pearl’s head. And that I’m welcome to come back to the restaurant if I come settle my bill. They’d saved my food in the refrigerator. Wasn’t that big of them?