Dear Amy:

The other night, my large family (seven children, my wife and I) went to dinner at a local restaurant.

We made reservations for a family of nine. Upon our arrival, we had to wait for the table to be set up. As we were waiting, my children were eager to be seated.

As the waiter came to seat us, I overheard a patron saying to the hostess, "Please don't seat them by us," meaning my children!

I went back to the waiting area and confronted this man. I asked him if there was a problem with my children that he didn't want to sit by them. When the hostess saw me confront this man, she ushered me to the table, saying that everything was OK.

Amy, everything was not OK. I wanted to leave, but my wife didn't want to make a scene.

Was I wrong to react as I did?

- Proud N.Y. Dad

Dear Proud: I have a confession to make. I don't want to be seated next to your kids, either.

Much of the time, I don't want to be seated with my own. Your children are lovely, I'm sure. But picture this: I've just hired a sitter, leaving my own kids at home to have a rare intimate dinner with my spouse. I don't want to sit next to your kids.

Or I've just scored a meeting with my client, who's passing through town. I don't want to sit next to your kids.

Or I've got my elderly mother with me and she doesn't hear so well. Yup. No kids for me, please.

You say that you overheard this gentleman speaking to the hostess. I assume that he didn't deliberately direct his comment to you. You shouldn't have confronted him. I would even go so far as to say that, in this instance, you set a poor example for your children.

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