Sunday, 30 May 2010


Here's the scene which I witnessed.

Two mothers enter the coffee shop accompanied by their children. One has three children, the other has two. They take a table. The children are all aged between around 7 and 11 years old. The children do not speak.

The mothers ask the youngsters what they would like and then order for everyone. The children, having stated their food requirements, revert to silence. The mothers are able to chat happily together, without interruption, about the sort of things that two mid 30 year-old women talk about until after 10 minutes or so, their food arrives. Does this sound like your family so far?

I have omitted one important detail. Before I reveal it, can you guess what it is that allows the mothers to converse in such tranquility? Are the children simply well-behaved? Am I describing an event from the past?

Neither of the above.

The fact which I omitted is that having sat down at the table, each mother delved into her handbag and produced a Nintendo DS for each of their combined five offspring which then kept their respective attention until the need to consume their food intervened.

What an incredible sign of the times don't you think?


  1. An interesting sign of the times indeed, but I'm guilty of it too, on the rare occasions we go out for tea. My daughter is autistic and even though loves going out, she finds it impossible to sit still and enjoy an hour at a table in what could otherwise be classed as normal circumstances. She doesn't play on her Nintendo DS in the pub, but will sit and draw pictures, colouring in, which means we can enjoy a family meal together just once in a while.

    CJ xx

  2. Wonderful!! Children should be seen and not heard!

    If only these things had been invented when my kids were little it would have saved me having to teach them when and when not to be noisy and chattering! (Typed with just a touch of sarcasm LOL)

  3. Hey! If it worked, don't knock it! ;) Actually, I don't really mean that. Great for a bit of peace now and again but some youngsters do spend too much time on these things.

  4. Thanks for you DM on Twitter. I wouldn´t categorise this as family time. I´d see it as two mothers striving to have a social life despite not having someone to mind their children. This is how I´d see it. Good post!

  5. Very sad I think!! ... would it not have perhaps been better to encourage the children to play nicely together and socialise with each other?

  6. Tony as a child I was sometime guilty of throwing food ( it was a game )