Jul 28, 2014

Ask Dr. Mike: Kids' Meals, Twos, Neighbors and Love

Michael Oberschneider weighs in on the latest round of questions about life in Loudoun County.

Ask Dr. Mike: Kids' Meals, Twos, Neighbors and Love

Kids Meals, Not for Everyone

Dr. Mike,
My husband and I recently went to a restaurant for lunch, and I requested a kid’s meal portion off the menu since I am on a diet and didn’t want a large meal. I also wasn’t in the mood to spend $12 on an entrée. The waiter refused to take my order and argued with me that their kids’ meals are for kids only. The manager supported the waiter’s position. We ended up leaving that establishment without ordering, upset and have no intention of returning. In my opinion, in this economy the restaurant should’ve been thankful for my business, regardless of what I ordered. And, this is a free country, so shouldn’t I be able to order what I want? 

I in Loudoun County  

Yes, this is a free country, hence a privately owned restaurant can determine how they wish to price and sell their food, and you as a patron are free to take your business elsewhere if you are not in agreement – as you did. I spoke to Mr. Gregg Nelson, the owner of the Urban Bar-B-Que Company in Ashburn, about your letter.  As a restaurateur, Mr. Nelson expressed that his place offers a children’s menu as a courtesy to the pubic because he recognizes how costly it can be today for a family to dine out. He understood your position on cost-effectiveness as a patron, but asserted that it would not be cost effective for restaurants to offer the children’s menu to everyone. Regarding your diet, more and more restaurants are offering health conscious options for those who simply want to eat more lightly or more healthily. I wish you the very best on your diet.

Target and the 2-year-old

Dr. Mike,
My husband and I have a very rambunctious 2 and a half-year-old boy. Our boy loves to run and run and run wherever he goes. We do our best to control him, but he’s just an active, lively boy who has a hard time staying still. I’ve been worried about our boy’s activeness for a few months now, however, my husband thinks that I am making too much of a big deal out of it since our boy is only 2. Our visit to Target the other day as a family is a good example of how my husband and I do not see eye to eye on this. At the store, our boy refused to stay in the cart and instead chose to run up and down the aisles. My husband chased after him, and while we managed to do our shopping, it was very embarrassing and stressful for me. My husband’s reaction was different in that he seemed to have fun running around the store with our boy. Any thoughts?

E in Loudoun County

Your son, at 2 and a half, will be prone to excitement, and at times overexcitement, as he explores and experiences the world around him. He does not yet have the capacity to self-regulate fully and will be vulnerable to following his whims and impulses. Life, however, is going to start to become more structured for your son, and he is in turn going to be expected to manage his emotions and behaviors in certain situations. If your son does not begin to comprehend “no” now, he may start to have some very real struggles ahead. I think you and your husband need to agree on how you plan to handle your son better to avoid his becoming overly excited in social situations. You should be in agreement with how you manage him before, during and after events. I would discuss as many situations as possible to make sure you are in agreement with how you should be as parents in these moments. Certainly, you would not allow your active son to run out into the street if he chose, but what about running around a restaurant, a doctor’s office, an airport or airplane, a church, etc.  So, in your Target example, your husband, your son and you could’ve have had some basic ground rules before even entering the store. And, you and your husband could’ve been in agreement with how you then handled your son behaviorally when he started to become too active in the store. You could’ve then praised him for his positive behavior to reinforce what he did do right for next time. With improved communication and agreement with your husband, and consistent reinforcement of your son, your son should learn how to better manage his excitement when necessary.

The Grass Is Not Always Greener

Dr. Mike,
My neighbor’s lawn is an eyesore. We’ve been neighbors for years, and while I think he is a great guy, he really does a horrible job caring for his property. I finally complained to the HOA anonymously last year because I couldn’t take it anymore, but nothing came of it. Here we are at the start of spring, and his yard already looks bad. I fear that nothing will change unless I address the problem with him directly, but I don’t know what to say without upsetting him. Your advice is appreciated.

W in Loudoun County

It seems that your priority for a nice looking lawn and yard differs from your neighbors. Short of your neighbor breaking some sort of county ordinance or code or HOA regulation (e.g., his grass being too high), I do not believe there is much you or your HOA can do to motivate him toward having prettier space. I suppose you can broach the topic with your neighbor directly as you mention, but I would caution you that the talk should require excellent tact and timing on your part. Being too frank or direct may offend your neighbor and hurt your relationship. You might start by talking about your lawn and yard, and by sharing some of your landscaping ideas for the spring and summer. You might even ask him for his advice if you are planning to plant new flowers or plants. Paradoxically, by talking about your yard with your neighbor, he may in turn begin to talk about his. If he does, you can then offer him some neighborly advice and guidance. Heck, you might even offer to give him a hand since the appearance of his yard bothers you as much as it does.


Giving Love a Chance to Grow … or Fade

Dr. Mike,
I am in love with someone I work with, but I am not sure he truly loves me. We’ve been dating for months now and things are mostly very good. Our attraction is strong and mutual, we share several common interests, we have similar values, and we have a ton of fun whenever were together … but something is missing. I seem to want more from him than he is willing (or able) to give. When I told him that I wanted a bigger commitment, he told me not to rush a good thing. He’s been divorced for two years, and I know his ex-wife did a real number on him, so maybe I need to be more sensitive to that. My instincts on guys and relationships are usually pretty good, and I am afraid that my Mr. Right has too much baggage to love me fully. I don’t want to end things now because that seems drastic … and I also don’t want to be alone. Does it make sense to move on from a good situation that you want to be great? Help. 

T in Loudoun County

I think you need to give things more time. With time, your relationship will either grow into something more meaningful for you both, or it will not. It seems that you could potentially ruin things by continuing to ask your boyfriend for a larger commitment at this point. Perhaps your instincts are right as you suggest, but perhaps your need for larger commitment now has more to do with you than it does him. It’s not clear. What is clear to me though is that you want to be more than friends with benefits, and that is what is making you most anxious at this time. I do not think it makes sense at this point to move on from a good situation that you want to be great, as you write, which is why I would give things more time to unfold. Eventually the cream will rise to the top, as the old saying goes, and you will see things for what they are.

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