No one ever wants to be the parent of the kid shouting in the restaurant or running through the grocery store. When your kid starts acting up\u00a0\u2014\u00a0or not even acting up, just acting young\u00a0\u2014\u00a0you start to tense up. Your eyes dart around the room, searching for another pair of eyes that are certainly rolling at your child\u2019s antics. Your ears prick up, listening for someone muttering under their breath. You fear what other people are thinking, imagining it\u2019s something like, \u201cLady, get a handle on your offspring.\u201d And you fear that response because you\u2019ve probably responded the same way a time or two. Kids in restaurants aren\u2019t necessarily more annoying than the table of frat dudes who\u2019ve been overserved, but we\u2019ve created social space and acceptance (however reluctant it may be) for the frat boys. Children aren\u2019t always viewed with even reluctant acceptance, let alone an open embrace that allows them to be little in public. After all, you\u2019re more likely to be complimented on how \u201cwell behaved\u201d your child was in the checkout line than how funny it was when she attempted \u201cquieter screeching\u201d (something Olivia seems to think is possible). So what do you do? Well, maybe you throw them the tablet or let them get out their Nintendo 3DS. Or if they\u2019re younger, you give them a bottle or a snack. Maybe a favorite toy. Let them tune out. Keep them quiet. Above all, keep them quiet. I\u2019m guilty of this. I\u2019m with other grown ups now, and\/or I\u2019m expected to have you under control, daughter, so please. Take my phone. Go play with the dinosaurs. Look, a dog! Just \u2026 shh. I\u2019ve seen kids riding in carts through Meijer with a Happy Meal and an iPad, bribed up to their ears just so their parents can make it to the milk case without incident. And what would \u201can incident\u201d be anyway? Worst case scenario, an epic meltdown, which no doubt ruins the day for the kid\u2019s parents and in itself justifies the iPad and McNuggets. I can\u2019t help feeling, however, that it\u2019s actually a buffer for the people who they\u2019ll pass on their shopping trip, people who would sneer or mutter or whatever if the kid steps out of line. I can\u2019t defend someone who takes their unruly kids to a refined affair at the opera or drags their baby along to a fancy brunch place. I mean, I\u2019ve done that\u00a0\u2014\u00a0perhaps you remember the bone marrow incident of 2013\u00a0\u2014and I can see now that it\u2019s an indefensible decision. But we\u2019ve got to embrace kids and all their quirks a little bit more, especially in public. Next time you see a kid acting up in public (or even just being a fidgety, excited little kid), give them a little wave or make a goofy face. Give their parents a nod, a wink, a half-hearted smile. Some small gesture to let them know you understand how it goes, even if you don\u2019t necessarily approve of the way it\u2019s going. Engage parents and their kid in public spaces. Build a little bit of community. The sound of one kid laughing in the produce aisle is a lot more pleasant than a dozen kids plugged in and idling in mute.