“Laughter is the best medicine” is a well-known phrase, and for good reason.
Laughter tends to be contagious, and we generally love to see other people be happy.
But when it comes to children, not everyone is so receptive to seeing and hearing their joy, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Plane_Ad5416 was the father to “the happiest kid ever,” and he was pleased to see him laugh.
But when the Original Poster (OP) entertained his son in public, he realized there were people who were not so happy to hear his son’s laugh.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for making my baby laugh at a restaurant?”
The OP went out to a restaurant for his wife’s birthday.
“It was my wife’s birthday yesterday. She picked out a mid-tier restaurant to go to for her birthday. This was no Chili’s level restaurant but not high-end either.”
“We went at 5:30 on a Wednesday, so it was not that busy.”
The OP’s young son was very enthusiastic throughout the dinner.
“We have a ten-month-old who’s just about the happiest kid ever. Nearly anything I do makes him laugh.”
“Well, at dinner, I was making him laugh. He’d throw in some happy yelling. He maybe got a touch loud, but he was in a great mood.”
“The problem arose during a three- to five-minute interaction with my son while waiting for the check.”
“It was 90% giggling. The other hour-plus we were there, it was just him being quiet or eating or going, ‘Bah bah bah,’ over and over. There was no extended shrieking at all that occurred.”
The neighboring table was not happy with the OP’s son’s behavior.
“Well, the table next to us had an issue with what I was doing and asked me to stop. They told us to keep it down.”
“I’m like, ‘He’s laughing; that’s all. Him laughing is an issue?'”
“They just repeated that he was too loud.”
“They suggested if he was going to be like, we should just stay home.”
“I told them to leave us alone and continued making my son laugh.”
“I overheard them reference me as an a**hole. They requested to move tables and did.”
“But was I the a**hole for making my baby laugh?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought the OP was the AH for not being considerate of others’ dining experiences.
“When my brother and I were little, if my parents wanted to go out to eat, they either got a babysitter or we went to Ponderosa because that restaurant is about as loud as two little kids could be.”
“As we got older, we upgraded to the slightly nicer Friendly’s. By the time we reached the end of elementary school, we could go to places like TGIFriday.”
“By high school, I was going to very nice places with my mom while my dad and brother ordered pizza delivery because they both hate going to fancy restaurants.”
“Tonight, I am taking my friend and her daughter to the nicest place in town for her daughter’s tenth birthday. She has been looking forward to this for years (I promised her she could go out to eat with us when she was 10).”
“She is polite, kind, funny and interesting. I have no concern that she won’t behave properly. If I did, we would be going someplace else.”
“We’re not going to be the only people in the restaurant, and nobody wants to spend $300+ on a dinner that is spoiled by a misbehaving child at the table next to them.”
“OP, YTA.” – driveonacid
“You love your kid and think he’s adorable, but other people were there to enjoy a meal. You were deliberately attention seeking and probably wanted everyone to notice your wonderful baby, and were willing to give a ‘f**k you’ to other paying patrons when asked to tone it down.”
“I hope you left a really big tip for the extra inconvenience you placed on the staff, too, with them having to move customers to a new table and deal with their complaints.” – busyshrew
“OP mentioned ‘happy yelling’ in his post. Babies don’t yell. They SHRIEK.”
“On top of that, he admitted it got loud. Not okay. Continuous shrieking (even the happy kind) is a noise that, personally, would drive me up a wall if I was trying to eat in a restaurant.”
“And if I’m paying to eat at a restaurant that is ‘mid-tier’ (OP described as better than Chili’s, which is already pretty pricey, by the way), I’d be upset about it, too.”
“OP, YTA. Take your family somewhere more family-oriented next time, or think about getting a babysitter if you can’t live an hour or two without making your baby ‘happy yell.'” – mmwhatchasaiyan
“YTA. You deliberately provoked your kiddo into making loud noises in a place where people go to relax and enjoy a conversation. There’s nothing wrong with your kid laughing, but there’s a time and a place for it.”
“If you’d been doing this in a public park, that would be fine, but you were in a mid-tier restaurant, and you continued after people told you it was a problem. If you’d toned it down a notch after they asked, you would have been fine.” – 7hr0wn
“YTA. Let me preface this by saying that there is nothing wrong with your child’s joy, and you sound like a fantastic parent.”
“BUT, in your post, you mentioned both laughing and happy yelling. Those are not the same thing. A quiet giggle? Sure, no problem. But yelling? No. Just because it’s happy doesn’t take away the fact that it’s yelling.”
“Imagine if you were just trying to enjoy a quiet dinner with your family and a group of rowdy drunken people kept yelling and laughing at the table next to yours. Happy doesn’t mean it’s not still annoying.” – Deep-Manner-4111
“YTA. Because when you were informed you were bothering other people (who were also paying to enjoy a nice dinner) your response was essentially, ‘f**k them.’ There’s something to be said for basic manners.” – 2workigo
“I’m assuming that ‘laugh’ here is loud, happy, baby shrieking, and by the sounds of it, it was ongoing happy shrieking and not an isolated laugh. That’s too loud for a restaurant.”
“You’re dining in a restaurant. You need to moderate your voice. The people at the next table don’t want to hear your conversation, and they don’t want to be continually disturbed by the happy shrieks of your baby, either.”
“You’re not the a**hole for making your baby happy. But you ARE the a**hole for making too much noise in a restaurant. YTA” – _mmiggs_
But others felt there were far more important things to be offended by than a laughing child.
“Frankly, a happy baby is a delightful sound to me. I never had nor wanted kids, and I have INTENSE reactions to sounds (aka misophonia). However, with my sound aversion, my perspective is that my reaction is a me problem.”
“I certainly would never correct a stranger about their or their child’s noises, be they screaming and crying or laughing (or even a sound that makes me feel like dying and exploding in rage, for that matter).”
“NTA, OP. Congrats on your delighted little child.” – Frank_Jesus
“NTA. And this is coming from someone who hates children in restaurants.”
“He was LAUGHING. If it was crying, a sound hardwired in the human brain to cause discomfort and panic, you’d be the A all day long, but laughing? What did they want you to do? Sorry that the sound of Joy inconvenienced you. Let me play the world’s smallest violin.”
“They shouldn’t have said anything to you before moving tables. They should’ve just done it. There are definitely entitled parents who need to be ripped into, but a parent with a laughing baby isn’t one.” – VermicelliNo2422
“NTA. The baby was laughing in public, something that any living person is perfectly within their rights to do. Babies are babies and thus do not have great volume control as a result of that. Babies are noisy, it happens. But a dad making their baby laugh in public is not rude.”
“Yes, if it’s loud, I can see why they’d ask you to be quiet and then ask to move tables, but unless other diners were complaining and staff had to ask you to be quiet, it sounds like it literally just annoyed this one group of people. They’re allowed to be annoyed by a noisy baby, but the baby is not obligated to quiet its joy for that purpose. It’s a baby.”
“Also, this is a mid-tier restaurant. This isn’t a fancy restaurant. It’s like an Olive Garden or an Applebee’s or a Red Lobster, a mid-tier chain restaurant. It’s also known as a FAMILY restaurant. If you don’t want noisy families to eat near you, don’t go to a family restaurant.” – Nsfwitchy
“NTA. People need to lighten up, and laughter should be celebrated. They had a problem, and they moved. Good. If people want an atmosphere they can control, then they are the ones who should stay home.” – -phocus-
“NTA, depending on the place.”
“If they have a kid’s menu, you’re good. You were there early, during families with very young kids and old people’s time, so that’s in your favor. If the baby was giggling and laughing, great.”
“There are a lot of crotchety entitled people out there that should order takeout.” – Olysurfer
“Children are allowed to be out in public, and they are allowed to laugh. OP added that the baby was quiet the whole time and only laughed in the end when they were waiting for the check.”
“I don’t know how it’s in the US, but I am glad that at least here in my country, society does view children as human beings who are allowed to be present outside. Also OP, NTA.” – Aninaguma
“This doesn’t sound at all like a white tablecloth fine dining restaurant where this would be AH behavior. With over two decades of restaurant experience, I can firmly say that an occasional laughing and shrieking baby is a sign of a healthy restaurant, and I didn’t have a kid during that time for bias.”
“As a former manager, I can also attest that 100% of the customers that complained about babies were the AH. If a baby is a real problem, the staff will say something without another customer getting involved. That didn’t happen here, OP is NTA.” – OvalDead
“NTA. I see a lot of people agreeing with the ‘stay home if you want to be loud’ comments from the neighboring table, but I feel the reverse of that. If you want to eat in silence and chill, then maybe you should take it home and not eat in public where people might be loud, or kids might be having a good time.”
“Public spaces are for everyone, including those who aren’t fully in control of their voice levels, children, disabled, people laughing, crying, sometimes even mild yelling should be something you get over or stay home where you can control what everyone does.”
“I hate the idea that nearly every public setting is only for the mild-mannered NPC (non-player character) a** adults of the world, and anyone who doesn’t fit in, including kids, should just be locked away or silenced so y’all don’t have to experience something different than your chosen white culture social norms.” – uselesstoil
The subReddit couldn’t fault the OP for having a happy baby and enjoying his time together with him, but they also agreed that there’s a time and a place for loud noises, and a nicer restaurant is not one of them.