Enquirer: Natalie Portman embarrassed after failing to calm her fussy, crying baby

The Enquirer’s gossip guy, Mike Walker, always has stories about what celebrities are like when no one is there to document their behavior. No one except Mike Walker’s informal team of informers and snitches. Which is to say that I believe some of Walker’s stories, but most of time I think he’s just getting his stories from someone with an overactive imagination. This week, Walker claims that Natalie Portman was recently in an LA vegan café with her son Aleph, and Aleph starting throwing a fit. Natalie was so embarrassed, she asked for her food to go and she did something nice on her way out…?

Mummy hushes! Vegan Natalie Portman popped into LA deli Flore Vegan for lunch with 1-year-old son Aleph, who usually naps peacefully in his carrier while Mommu noshes – but this time the tyke started crying right after the waiter took the star’s order. Natalie tried calming her kiddie down, but nothing worked, so she asked the waiter to box her order to go, then immediately apologized to nearby diners – and quietly told the waiter to put the tabs for three tables on her bill!

Said my source: “Her fellow diners were grateful, but protested – saying kids cry sometimes and Aleph wasn’t that bothersome. But Natalie, apologizing profusely, insisted on paying their tab of nearly $150, then left them to veg in peace.”

[From The National Enquirer, print edition]

That was nice if she did pay for other diners’ checks, and since the amount is so small (relatively speaking), I think this story could be true. Plus, babies do have their moments where they just cry and you can’t calm them down. I never really get mad at parents with crying babies… that is, unless the baby is really WAILING and it would be easy enough for a parent to just step outside of the restaurant/movie/whatever with the loud baby. Even then, I’m not really “mad”. Just irritated. The worst – in my opinion – is when it’s an older kid throwing some kind of loud tantrum in a public place. If the child is old enough to be reasoned with, bribed or threatened, that child is too old to be WAILING in a public place. Of course, I was raised by parents who threatened to leave me at the supermarket whenever I cried, so maybe I’m not the best judge.

Here are some recent photos of Natalie and Aleph coming out of an LA synagogue. You can’t see the baby, of course. I just looked through all of our photos – we don’t have access to any of Aleph’s face. You can see one of the rare photos here. Aleph’s a cutie. But Natalie is pretty vigilant about not showing him off.

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet.

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136 Responses to “Enquirer: Natalie Portman embarrassed after failing to calm her fussy, crying baby”

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  1. RocketMerry says:

    Nice of her, if true.

  2. Eleonor says:

    usually I don’t like her that much, but this was a very very nice gesture.

  3. beyonce's bump says:

    I agree Kaiser on all counts! Very nice of her to have done that, I believe the story, babies crying do not make me angry but irritating, it is the repetitive shriek I guess, but these things definitely happen. Imagine sitting next to a crying baby in a flight for 9 hours *shudders* anyway that was a nice gesture.

    • PrettyTarheel says:

      This is my fear. In a few weeks we are flying with our 1 year old, who is a great kid, but he’s too young to really get the “why” behind the “no.” Fortunately, it’s a short direct flight, but all I can hope is that I do not torture our fellow passengers. I’m already mentally packing all sorts of goodies to be sure he’s entertained.

      • MST says:

        When my son was about a year or so we went on a family trip to Jamaica. He cried almost non-stop, even though I had bottles, toys, books, everything to distract him. You should have seen the looks from the other passengers — If looks could kill, we would have been six feet under. I’m not trying to scare you — my son was always very fussy, so you probably won’t have the same experience.

        Some oldtimers used to rub rum or whiskey on a fussy baby’s gums to get him to sleep — but that is definitely NOT recommended, cause if your baby’s breath smells like booze, you might just get a visit from CPS!

      • TQB says:

        Tarheel, I think our kids are close in age. We took the little dude across the country last week and he was AWESOME on the planes. Just make sure to nurse/give him a bottle on the way up and the way down and have your usual array of distractions (toys, snackies). Our guy loved looking out the window, making faces at strangers, etc. Try not to stress!

      • Bodhi says:

        I’m taking my 13 month old back home to visit my parents & friends by myself on Monday. I am so worried about getting him, the stroller, the car seat (yes, I know I can hold him, but I’m not going to, he has his own seat) & the carry on off & on the plane & around the airport that I’m too stressed to worry about his behavior on the plane. UUUGGGHHH

      • PrettyTarheel says:

        Thank you everyone! I have high hopes as he is always a very happy baby with great personality (I’m sure everything thinks this about their child, LOL). Only once have I ever had to leave a restaurant, and it was our fault completely. We were late getting home to my family and kept him out way past his bed-time. It wasn’t his fault he wasn’t happy, and I headed for the car and left Mr. Tarheel to get my food. I have high hopes that this will run as smoothly as possible.

      • memnoch says:

        Mom of 3 who has flown with all of them since they were newborns. Have a bag packed with toys and such that he has never ever seen. That way its a magical supply of distractions. That, and food, because you cannot rely on airlines to have decent kid meals. Whatever his fav snacks are, have lots. You’ll manage – they always surprise you! Just don’t get flustered – it is what it is and as long as you try to calm him people (usually) understand. Its the parents that don’t even try – they just ignore and let the kid cry/scream/run around/kick seats – that make other passengers mad!

      • ZenB!tch says:

        @PrettyTarheel – it’s all on the mom. I am not a fan of babies in general which is why I chose not to have them.

        What really annoys me is when the mom is all calm without a care in the world while junior howls and howls.

        When mom is trying, I feel sorry for her. As long as you try to keep the baby quiet you will be fine.

    • jermsmom says:

      My husband was military and we have three sons (all grown now) and had to travel frequently on planes. Thankfully my boys usually didn’t have a problem fussing but sometimes it just can’t be helped and there is NOTHING you can do about it despite your best efforts. IF I were sitting by you I would be one of those nice people that tried to help you or at least give you sympathy – because been there, done that, no tee shirt, and there is nothing worse than the dirty looks people give you. It just makes you more tense and the child picks up on it. Hope your travels go smoothly!

    • Cel says:

      I endured a night flight from NY to London with 2 screaming babies the whole way. I am bound to get abuse for this but I don’t think babies and young children should be on longhaul flights just for a holiday – take a break in your home country or short flights, but medium to longhaul is stressful enough without constant yelling. And yes, before anyone asks I do have children and didn’t take them on a plane until they were 10 and 11.

      • Trashaddict says:

        In some ways I agree. I could never get why parents take their kids out to places they couldn’t possibly enjoy (the kids strapped into strollers on 3-hour shoe shopping trips to the mall in particular) and then get mad at them when they kick up a fuss. Sometimes taking them along for the trip can’t be avoided, but when possible know your child’s tolerance and leave them at home if the trip will make you all miserable.

      • ohiogirl says:

        You knew this was coming :) My husband and I have family on two continents, with the older generations unable to travel and the younger generations unable to get time off work. I don’t think our children should miss out completely on half of their family just so we don’t annoy a few other passengers. We will do everything we can to entertain the kiddos and keep them happy but I mean, kids do cry and fuss.

      • You never know says:

        Well, it might not be for a vacation and relaxation. We had to move internationally and it’s not practical to say a baby needs to move via ship (talk about a long trip). The funny thing is that I got complimented on how my 1yr old and 3 yr old behaved on a trip from a business type who admitted to hating to travel with kids near. He was pretty pissed at the junior high kids who never shut up and got up constantly.

  4. Launicaangelina says:

    I remember I acted a fool one time in church, when I was 5. I kept talking and whining. My mom started to pinch me to quiet me down (Mexican moms do that! Lol!) so I would get louder. As soon as we got home, my dad spanked me. I’m 32 and I still remember that. We weren’t spanked often but I always remembered that and never acted up in public again.

    • Naye in VA says:

      The only time my father ever spanked me was after i acted up at church once. yup public was not the place to act up. my mom was the disciplinarian. i got the “look” and i knew i was in for it at home. we never threw tantrums in public. at home it was free-for-all but dont dare do it where anyone can see. early lesson

    • jermsmom says:

      Totally random but the church comment reminded me of a funny story my mother loved to tell on me. My mom would take me to Mass and always gave me her rosary to play with to keep me entertained. She said we always sat on the second row because i liked to look at “all the pretty things” at the altar. One day she said i started swinging the rosary around and around and around and then yelled out “Hang on Jesus, you are going for a ride!” LOL!

      • Susan says:

        Aww! That’s adorable and hilarious.

      • Amy says:

        Oh gosh my sister and I were holy terrors in church when we were toddlers. There was actually a “baby room” in one of the churches where we used to attend. But my sister and I still got in trouble–I banged on the glass window where parents could view the mass in the baby room. And I don’t remember this at all, but somehow my sister and I made it into some church back room reserved for the priests… the priest came out with a look on his face like he wanted to kill someone (according to my dad). We argued in the pews…

        Finally my parents realized food was the answer and started bringing dried raisins with them to shut us up. It worked! We were always burrowing into their pockets for more!

      • ViloDeMenus says:

        “Hang on Jesus, you are going for a ride!”

        Oh MY God! That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a looooong time, thank you! If there was a like button here, I would have hit it 100 times!

    • Dizzy says:

      My Mexican mom would pinch me to the few times we went to church and I wouldn’t be quiet.

    • Mitch Buchanan Rocks! says:

      My mom did that too in the grocery store – if we started acting up we’d get the pinch and knew we’d get it when we got home and so we were well behaved. In the supermarkets I don’t mind babies because they can’t help themselves, but cannot handle the screaming of tantrums and the mother yapping on the cellphone ignoring their offspring… oh well it is better than Celine Dion.

    • ZenB!tch says:

      I hate church but I have to take my elderly mom on occasion.

      Church is the one place I welcome a screaming child, I feel their pain. I would be screaming too if I could.

      For me it’s entertainment.

      I’m sure I was worse than you at 5. My mom gave up and left me with a non-Catholic friend. Funny how I behaved there.

  5. Celia says:

    I don’t understand her. babies are babies. nobody should be ashamed if a baby cries.

    • Rhea says:

      It’s nice if everybody have a mind like you and being understanding, but good luck in trying to tell that to the people who glared at you when your baby decided to throwing a fit in the subway ride or anywhere without the possibility for you to step outside for a while. :D

    • Susan says:

      You’re kind and logical. Some people have no patience or compassion. And they really overestimate the amount of control a parent can have over a young child willing to use their mouth and limbs. As a stay at home Mom of a spirited toddler, I’ve been there. I go places prepared with snacks, books, toys etc. but you never know. Kids have their own agendas too. Anyone that can’t appreciate that I’m doing my best, can F off, buy a private jet and fly to a private island.

      • gekkca says:

        I like your attitude Susan! I’m with you on that. My almost four year old is great most times, but when he loses it, look out. He is very hard to control, but I can’t give in and I’m not about to start slapping him around to satisfy others who think he needs a lesson. With my kids, not giving in is the key. That way they know that if they scream they don’t get what they want, EVER! That being said, it is not easy.

    • olcranky says:

      actually, most of the new parents I know are embarrassed when they can’t quiet their child (even an infant) in public, especially first time parents. It’s very normal for first time parents who often tend to get down on themselves thinking they’re not as good a parent as they should be.

      This story is a non-starter

    • Maria_Spain says:

      My 4 years old has autism and when we go out I do what i learned from therapy if people say something I invited them to show me how to do it better or stfu .

      • Kimble says:

        Ditto on the autism! Older children having tantrums doesn’t always mean horrible children and terrible parents …

        Only time I saw my husband contemplate violence was when one ass told us to “shut that f’ing kid up” on a flight – when you could clearly see us doing EVERYTHING we could to achieve that!

      • Susan says:

        I love that approach! I occasionally resort to that tactic with my husband when he makes some offhand comment about my efforts. “oh really sweetheart, well what do you suggest?”. And then there’s crickets.

      • yep says:

        My 4 yo has autism too and massive anxiety. She is afraid of strangers, which makes public outings very hard. So when you see a kid “who should know better” just realize you don’t always know the whole story.

      • the original bellaluna says:

        I had that experience at the grocery store once. This elderly lady kept giving me stink-eye while I explained to my toddler that his behaviour was socially unacceptable and he wasn’t getting out of the cart.

        Finally I glared at her and demanded “Do YOU want him?” She got flustered and kind of sputtered and I said “Then STOP LOOKING AT ME.”

    • Jilliterate says:

      That’s a sweet sentiment, but being out in a restaurant isn’t like taking public transportation or a doctor’s appointment or getting some necessary shopping done. No one NEEDS to be out at a restaurant — it’s a self-indulgent act, and one the child certainly wasn’t partaking in. The other patrons shouldn’t have to endure the sound of a screaming child when they’re paying for not only a meal, but an expected ambiance. Yes, babies cry, and no, you shouldn’t be embarrassed about that, but I do think Portman did exactly what she should have in this situation: the moment she realized her kid was on one of those unstoppable crying fits, she decided to spare everyone else’s ears and just get her food to go.

  6. Cherry says:

    Well, leaving a restaurant and offering to pay for other diners’ checks just because your baby’s crying seems a bit excessive to me. I mean, it’s not about the money, but about what it implies, you know? I think it’s nonsense to apologize for a crying baby, let alone pay off your ‘embarassment’. Believe me: I’m not particularly fond of babies and I hate it when I’m sitting next to a crying one in a public place. But I truly believe that the adult thing to do is just to suck it up. Babies cry. Celebrity babies cry, too. They all do. If the baby’s mom could do anything to prevent it, she would. Let’s all try to co-exist in this world without getting over-sensitive about stuff we can’t do anything about.

    • Raven says:

      Disagree. She was being thoughtful and considerate. No one wants to sit down to a meal and listen to that the entire time. And the diners were being considerate too, telling her it happens sometimes, but she did the right thing.

      My view, if you can leave and it is clear things aren’t changing, you should leave or at least leave the room, like people do at church. Places where you can’t leave, like planes, are different, and everyone needs to just accept the situation.

      • Lucy says:

        I TOTALLY agree. Nothing pisses me off more when a mom or family will just SIT there while a baby or toddler is wailing or whining for the rest if us to hear. Just because YOU don’t mind listening to it or can’t risk your food getting cold, doesn’t mean we want to hear it.

        When mine were little, I would get up and leave with them or my husband would till they calmed down and if my food got cold TS. It’s just rude and classsless to do otherwise.

        I also usually don’t like NP but this was very nice of her.

      • Susan says:

        And most Moms do leave whenever possible. 8 out of 10 times, my son behaves. The other times, I cut the errand, meal or whatever short to keep the peace in public and teach my kid the consequences of his actions. However, there are times, like for example if I’m at the DMV, he’ll get impatient and I get looks. Tough shit. I will not wait 3 extra hours in line to appease adults that need to learn that they are part of a society. Good, bad and indifferent.

      • orion70 says:

        I’d say she was being thoughtful and considerate and also aware that she is a public figure and more people are going to remember a celebrity baby screeching in a restaurant than that kid who lives up the road.

    • original kate says:

      i remember once my sister was about 2 years old and we were all out at dinner for my grandmother’s birthday. my sister was acting up, crying and whining and my mother could not get her to stop, so mother took her out and they sat in the car while the rest of us had ice cream and cake. we could actually see them in the car through the window of the restuarant! my mother did not play.

      that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you handle a kid who won’t calm down.

    • Jane says:

      It is certainly natural for a baby to cry. However, if a parent is not able to sooth the baby, then it becomes a different situation. The people that pay to eat, shop, travel, whatever, in a public place should be understanding, but there is a limit. I am not saying those having their experience ruined by a screaming child should be rude or mean to the parent, not at all. But, I don’t think it is unreasonable to to be unhappy and want it to stop.

      I think she was being very considerate of the patrons around her, but I also think she wasn’t too keen on being the center of attention when it concerned her child. Maybe it was very stressful for her to sit there with her child so unhappy and feeling the looks of the patrons, even if they were understanding.

      I would not be surprised if she had experienced being unhappy around a screaming baby before she had her own. She may have remembered just how irritating it can be, especially when you have no control over the situation and you have to rely on the parent to either calm the child or decide to leave.

      Of course, on a plane, that isn’t an option. I feel sorry for everyone, parent and child included, in that situation and don’t pretend to know the answer.

    • Meadowlark says:

      Totally agree. This was way excessive and unnecessary. There are going to be crying babies in this world and you’re going to be around them sometimes.

      Sorry, but if you’re so precious that you can’t deal with a crying baby, maybe start dining at private country clubs? Fly private planes?

      If you have to sit next to a loud, obnoxious adult in a public restaurant, guess what?.. You don’t get the meal comp-ed.

      • Danziger says:

        Loud and obnoxious adult customers are usually asked to leave or thrown out.

        A baby’s cry is one of the most grating sounds in the world, and for a good reason – it’s impossible to ignore, and that’s a baby’s survival tactic. But you heard me. It’s grating. And if it goes on for hours and hours for someone who is not the parent, I think you should not start throwing the ‘private jet’ card around. It is reasonable to be annoyed when something really loud and high-pitched won’t quiet down. It doesn’t warrant rudeness on the person’s part, but seriously. It CAN be horrifyingly grating.

  7. Rose says:

    She should stop covering the poor kids face, by doing so she’s just making a photo of his face more of a commodity

  8. Sisi says:

    the only times I get upset is when there’s a baby wailing near me and the parent is pretending to be deaf

    but for the rest, babies cry it’s what they do (sometimes). No biggie.

  9. gekkca says:

    Not everyone is so understanding. I remember being in the grocery store with a full cart of groceries loaded onto the counter when my son started wailing. I had an elderly man come out of his line around the corner to give me a stare down. My son wasn’t even a year old. I was so mad that I said to him, “yes, he’s crying. He’s a baby, they do that!” I’m usually not so outspoken, but I was a tired mommy. I find older people in particular can be rude. I guess they forget what it is like! It is hard for mommies sometimes, especially with people who judge. I definitely don’t miss those times!
    To be fair though about older kids and tantrums, one never knows. I was at Wal-Mart once and heard a kid about 4 years old having a massive tantrum. His mom was trying her best, but was trying to ignore him. Having worked with autistic kids I kind of figured out that the kid had some developmental problems. He was yelling so loud that it could be heard all over the store. When I got to the check out, she was in front of me and I said something to her about it being tiring when a child has a tantrum and she snapped back at me “my child has special needs”. I was empathizing with her, but I think she was just tired of people giving her a hard time. No sooner did I say something that the elderly lady in front turned to her and said “Can’t you do something?”. It was so rude and the poor woman was at her wits end. I felt so bad for her.

    • Cherry says:

      That sucks, gekkca. But I do think that you have to keep in mind that you’re not to blame here. Calling out a mother because her kid is crying is just… very rude. Still, I wish I could say that I never did anything of the kind, but that wouldn’t be true.

      • gekkca says:

        Yeah, I don’t handle judgemental people so well! Parents have so many things that can judge themselves on, we don’t need other people pointing it out to us! And I have a little guy who is particularly vocal. He came out that way and hasn’t stopped!! His tantrums are difficult at times, but we still have to go out and get things done. People act like you are a horrible parent because you can’t calm them, but sometimes you just have to ignore it or else they win!!

    • telesma says:

      I witnessed a situation in Walmart a few weeks ago. Two people in front of me in line, and the first one had a couple of little kids. One of the kids was sitting on the floor screaming while mom was checking out, and the mom was obviously flustered and trying to get finished ASAP so she could take her out of the store, but her groceries were half bagged and she had a lot.

      Now, in a restaurant, I expect parents to remove a child they can’t settle down from the situation, out of respect for other diners and for the child’s own good, and because your own comfort should be second to the child’s and other diners’ in that situation. I am a parent, and I have done exactly that – got my food to go and took the kid out of there as fast as I could once I realized she wasn’t going to settle down. Other people are paying just as much for their meal as you are, and you’re outnumbered. You’re the source of the disturbance and you’re perfectly capable of walking out and taking care of your child and leaving everyone else to dine in peace. So that’s what you do. Especially if it’s a nicer restaurant.

      But in Walmart? Half the kids you see are screaming because mom wouldn’t buy them something they want. Best to let them scream, ignore it, not give in. I only get annoyed when a kid is misbehaving, running wild, and the parent is oblivious or obviously ignoring it. Screaming? I can walk away easily, unlike in a restaurant, and personally, I’d rather see a kid shrieking in frustration than see a parent give them what they want when they behave badly. Good parents do not reward bad behavior.

      So, as loud as the kid was and as flustered as this mom was, I thought mom was handling it just fine.

      The woman in front of me thought otherwise. The second the mom was gone, she couldn’t shut up about how she should have smacked the kid right there in the store. I wanted to pop *her* one for being such a malicious, abusive cow and having no compassion for either the mother or the child, and for obviously having no clue what good parenting looks like. :<

      • ZenB!tch says:

        This is why I avoid Walmart and some Targets – I have more or less figured out which areas have the most indulged mewling brats and which areas have moms who try and look flustered.

        I hate screaming kids which is why I chose to not have any but all I ask is that the mom try to calm the kid down and look flustered and not take a kid under 8 to see the Avengers.

      • orion70 says:

        I’d rather see someone walk right out of the store with a child tbh rather than making everyone around them participate in whatever behavioral modification they’re trying out that week. Does anyone really NEED to stay in a Walmart while their child screams bloody murder? In a pharmacy or something, maybe.

  10. MeMyself says:

    Oh….this touches on one of my biggest pet peaves. And that is people who freak out when babies cry on long airplane flights. I am American and many, many times went back home to Montana from England, with my two little girls, so that my family back home could know them.
    There were a few times that I had the most hateful looks AND comments from other fliers when my youngest, then just a babe, was crying. Comments such as “Why did you ever have children?” I remember trying to hold the tears back at that comment.
    Yes, it is stressful to be near that, especially when it goes on awhile, but I understand the excessive apologizing, having been the source of discomfort while flying over the Atlantic.
    Now, I will always offer to help, even if I am not traveling solo, just to give the mom a break for a few minutes. Our society is not forgiving about babies crying and people can be really cruel, when the mother may be near tears already.
    I completely believe this story.

    • backwards says:

      I can’t believe someone would say something so horrible. How appalling.

    • olcranky says:

      I used to travel so much for work that when I moved and then made my first trip back to Chicago 6 weeks later the girl at the check in counter (on the return home from ORD) asked if I was OK because she hadn’t seen me in over a month. Let’s just say my traveling adventures surrounded by small children was great birth control. Most people understand that, especially with infants and very small toddlers, they are going to cry and just expect parents try to quiet and/or engage their child appropriately but that it doesn’t always work, let alone work quickly. Any time I noticed that a child was well behaved, I made sure to compliment the child and the parent(s). If a child was acting up a bit and the parent was trying to handle the situation (and I was near or passing them) I tried to go out of my way to give them a reassuring look oor say something because you can tell when they’re embarrassed/frustrated.

      Unfortunately, there are an awful lot of parents who come completely unprepared to entertain/care for their small children & even more who do absolutely nothing to try to get their kids to behave (and some who even seem to reward bad behavior by getting the kids riled up on the plane). My colleagues and I used to trade war stories of these parents. The worst story any of us had was a women who refused to so much as ask her kids to sit in their seats (she encouraged them to run around and climb on seats/people and if anyone said anything she’d scream that they were kids and people need to lighten up) – one of my colleagues was sitting next to her when the youngest child needed a diaper change. After 30 minutes of being able to smell how ripe the child was, my friend (who was in the aisle set) stood up and asked the women if she’d like to get out to be able to change the child and the lady suggested that if my friend was so offended by the smell my friend could change the child’s diaper. The lady wasn’t joking.

    • CreamSoda says:

      When that rude person asked why you ever had kids it would have been awesome to respond with, “Just to piss you off.” :)

    • telesma says:

      Some people are just beyond rude. Whatever I may *think* about someone’s parenting skills, or lack thereof, I would never actually say anything unless I thought a child was in danger.

      Babies and small children on airplanes are just a recipe for trouble, which is why you don’t fly with little ones unless absolutely necessary. Boredom, energy to burn, lack of appropriate boundaries, ears hurting from pressure changes…the odds are that if you bring a kid on a plane, it’s going to disturb other passengers. Obviously, good parents come prepared and do whatever they can to keep kids entertained and comfortable and do their best to minimize disturbances for other passengers, but sometimes nothing works.

      And you know what? That’s what earplugs and headphones are for.

  11. Evangeline says:

    I doubt Natalie was “embarrassed”. She was being considerate which was nice of her.

  12. Tiffany says:

    If Natalie is leaving a synagogue, why is she wearing pants. When I attended one we were told to cover up but wear a dress. Not familiar with Jewish services so has that changed.

    • olcranky says:

      It depends on the synagogue and what you were there for. It’s broad daylight so she may not have been there for a service so dressing up isn’t necessarily warranted.

      Most women attending an Orthodox service will wear a dress or skirt. In conservative, reform & deconstructionist shuls you don’t have to be so formal (except for a special service/high holidays). California seems to be much more lax. I’m in Philly and I’m in a conservative shul but I’ve actually gone to the odd Friday night service dressed that casually.

    • telesma says:

      There are multiple sects of Judaism. Reform, orthodox, etc. They don’t all have the same rules of dress for attending synagogue.

  13. Naye in VA says:

    before i had a baby i was actually much more patient with other peoples crying kids. Now i would NEVER say anything to a mother because i assume they are always doing the best they can, but now when i hear babies cry in my brain im like “arrhhhh shut up please! I just left my crying baby at home!” lol

  14. Cinderella says:

    Sometimes the baby will start to cry in a spot where you can’t escape. But when I could escape and spare everyone else the noise, I did.

    I’ve boxed many a meal. I always felt that it was more stressful dealing with the crying baby and the glares than it was to pack up and leave. Often times, my baby would stop crying as soon as we left.

    • PrettyTarheel says:

      This. I just boxed my first meal last week-my son was off his schedule due to travel, it was late, and food was slow because we had a large group. He was making me uncomfortable because I knew he was disrupting other people in the restaurant. I told MrTarheel to pack my dinner and BabyT and I went to the car and snuggled. He was completely fine once he was out of the high-chair.

  15. LittleDeadGirl says:

    That was very nice and thoughtful of her. I tend to be forgiving of children wailing anywhere. It’s a bit annoying sure but I’d never make a parent feel bad. I’ve seen people glare and I wanna say “it’s a baby … relax … you were just that annoying too once and you still are apparently”.

    I agree I only really get annoyed when it’s like a 10 year old throwing a fit. The best is when you’re at the supermarket and some 10 year old is bumping into your cart, running in front of you, being rude and and obnoxious and the parents can’t be bothered to give a shit. It’s a business not a daycare. Look after your kids.

    • remote control says:

      “it’s a baby … relax … you were just that annoying too once and you still are apparently”. AWESOME. I will use this in the coming months..

    • telesma says:

      Yeah, this. I expect little kids to misbehave. I expect them to not be well trained yet, to not have appropriate boundaries, to not have control over their emotions. I have a lot more compassion for parents of little ones when they act up, especially when I see the parents responding appropriately to the behaviors in question.

      Older kids? Not so much. I expect them to know how to act, and I expect their parents to nip obnoxious behavior in the bud. Even a kid with a behavior disorder or whatever…the parent should be prepared to deal with that, whether it means having some means of effectively correcting the behavior, or being willing to physically remove child from the situation. I’ve been there and done that myself, and if I can do it, so can they.

      The thing that pisses me off, in either case, is parents who just ignore bad behavior and let their kids run wild. A little kid having a tantrum in a store is one thing. That same kid running around climbing store shelves or grabbing things out of other people’s baskets is another thing entirely. And an older kid having a tantrum should be removed immediately, for the kid’s own sake.

    • orion70 says:

      I once stopped a child from plowing into my cart once when he was running backwards up the aisle. Kept him from braining himself on something and all the parent did was say something sing-songy to him and walk away. So if you aren’t watching your kids and someone else stops them from getting hurt it also wouldn’t hurt to treat them like more than an inanimate object.

  16. aims says:

    As a mother of three, I know that if you think your in charge when you go out in public, your wrong. Things happen, life happens. Now, having a fussy kid is normal, one that is having an all balls out fit needs to be taken out of the situation. I swear, I was always more on edge when we went out, afraid of some sort of meltdown. That I would stress myself out for no reason. I’m so sensitive to other peoples comfort levels, that I only went places with the kids that were more kid friendly. Thank god my youngest is in forth grade. Those years were rough.

    • telesma says:

      This is how I was with my kids. I didn’t stress myself out, but I didn’t bring them into situations I didn’t think they could behave appropriately in if I could help it, and when they misbehaved, I took care of it. I tried to only take them to kid-friendly places until they were mature enough to be trusted in more adult situations like a nicer restaurant. Otherwise, I got a sitter.

      And when I brought them anywhere, I was more than willing to drop whatever I was doing and remove them from the situation if necessary. A fact that it didn’t take them very long to learn, even my daughter, who has ADHD and some attendant emotional challenges (meltdowns were common with her). As a parent, you may not have control over their every behavior, but you certainly have control over your response to it and the consequences they face for it.

      Also, I think people are much more tolerant and compassionate if they see that a parent is responding to the offending behavior.

      • the original bellaluna says:

        It also helps the child when the parent stays calm, as children are little emotion magnets: they pick up on our vibrations and go from there. If we freak out, it’s just going to make the situation worse; if we’re calm, it’ll help calm them down.

  17. mommaq says:

    Aww if that’s true, I feel bad for her. It stinks when you can’t console a little one, you feel helpless. I hope she didn’t feel embarrassed about it, a crying baby is not something you can control.

  18. Jen says:

    Goddammit, that actually makes me like her a little bit. Nothing worse than being someplace where someone’s kid is screaming and the parents do NOTHING to quiet their little Snowflake.

  19. Memory27 says:

    How isnt stop crying?? Damn let him breath it’s ok u don’t want pple to c him but at least let him catch a breath here and there.

  20. Ravensdaughter says:

    She seems like the kind of person who was raised Ms. Manners style. Certainly Ms. M would preach Natalie’s alleged response to her “out of control” baby (which is how Ms. M would perceive it).

    I live in Seattle where everyone does whatever the hell they want with their kids, and when I went back to a reunion with my uptight East Coast family (my now 12 year old was 5 mos old), I was wigged out about everything, especially trying to nurse. I say that again-especially trying to nurse.

    It really depends on where you are geographically or in terms of an individual restaurant as to how people will respond to baby behavior. I would think vegans would be cool about all things baby natural. Still, Natalie seems tightly wound like I was when my kids were tiny.

    Aside-she looks gorgeous-whether it’s motherhood or just maturing, her beauty has evolved to another level…

  21. Zorbitor says:

    Shut up. You want something to cry about? I’ll give you something to cry about.

  22. dholmas says:

    I applaud her for doing what she did. Babies cry, kids have tantrums. As a person who was never able to have kids their crying really does not bother me. We used to go to this upper-end restaurant quite often and knew the owner very well. One time we took a couple with us who had no choice but to bring their newborn son. He started wimpering and the owner scooped him up took him upstairs and rocked him to sleep. Yes she had a rocking chair (the restaurant was an old farmhouse). The parents were a bit leary but we assured them it was fine to let her take him so they could enjoy their meal in peace. As for paying for the other table’s meals that was a nice gesture on her part. She just gained more respect from me.

  23. lucy2 says:

    If true, nice of her to be considerate.
    If a parent is trying, I have sympathy for them, I just can’t stand people who ignore the kid. We had a whole big family dinner pretty much ruined at a restaurant (one that was not good for kids) by a couple, and grandparents, who let their toddler run, scream, cry, and do all sorts of stuff through the entire dinner, without ever making an attempt to calm her down.

    • orion70 says:

      You’d really think that people would be more careful if for no other reason than the child’s safety. In a restaurant people are walking around with hot liquids and sizzling plates, and if kiddo runs into a server out of nowhere, there’s a good chance they’ll get hurt.

  24. Call Me Al says:

    She looks gorgeous in the navy blue.

  25. annaloo. says:

    I am sorry, but it is NOT considerate to others to bring a baby to a movie. Ever.

    Restaurants are bordering on indecent of hte parents too, depending on the type of place. ( if it’s more casual and family oriented then fine… if it’s a pricier, more upscale place, I wonder where the parents reasoned to themselves that is was ok)

    I don’t think children belong in bars at all. Inappropriate, and especially bad if the mother takes it upon herself to chastise another patron for something like cursing or talking about adult topics while her children are present in AN ADULT ENVIRONMENT.

    Public transportation, people must have some give. I understand there’s not a lot of wiggle room on that, but I do prepare with bringing earplugs and headphone.

    I think it takes common sense on all people.. babies do cry, but setting really matters. Some people (parents and non parents alike) are completely inconsiderate and rude.

    • the original bellaluna says:

      Agree with you about the fancy restaurants (if you can afford to eat there, you can certainly afford a sitter for a couple hours) unless it’s for brunch or a special occasion; movies (they’re just too loud for their sensitive ears & my toddler won’t sit still AT HOME for 90 minutes, let alone a dark theatre); and ABSOLUTELY kids shouldn’t be in a bar (unless it’s family-owned and they live above the bar).

      It takes consideration on the parents’ part – don’t ever take a tired and/or hungry kid ANYWHERE, if it’s at all avoidable.

      • telesma says:

        This, too. It’s not just about having respect for other citizens, it’s about having some respect for the child and what it’s capable of doing or enduring.

        There is no good reason to unnecessarily subject a young child to an adult environment. You have no reasonable expectation of the child being able to behave appropriately or even cope with the situation. By ignoring the child’s needs and abilities you are creating a situation where the child will be unhappy or misbehave.

        And unless it’s some kind of emergency, dragging a tired or hungry kid around is just poor parenting. You plan your day around naps and snacks, always carry juice and snacks, always bring something to entertain the child, etc. It’s just what you do, you anticipate the child’s needs and you ensure that they are met.

    • Janet says:

      ITA about the movies. I was in a theater when a couple brought a sleeping baby in. He woke up ten minutes into the film and started squalling. They couldn’t quiet him. After a few minutes the manager came in and told them to leave.

      • orion70 says:

        How the hell were THEY enjoying the movie, never mind anyone else? That’s the equivalent of sitting at home trying to read a book while you’re dog barks non-stop for hours. Even if it’s not bothering anyone else, I wouldn’t want to listen to it.

    • ZenB!tch says:

      A bar???? I would call child services. Sorry but a bar?

  26. RobN says:

    I don’t care for her, so if she actually showed this much consideration for other people, that’s going to be a little disappointing.

  27. S.R. says:

    I don’t believe a single word of this, I don’t believe that woman’s shit at all at this point. Was her womb raider/husband with her too?

  28. original kate says:

    when babies/kids are crying,screeching and/or running around in a restuarant, movie theater, etc. and the parents cannot make them stop they need to leave.

    or just get a babysitter in the first place – why do some parents insist on dragging babies to a movie or toddlers to a bar?

    anyway, if natalie did this then good for her.

  29. the original bellaluna says:

    I’ve done the same thing with my kids: please switch that order to “to go” (I haven’t paid for everyone around me); left movie theatres; and even asked the grocery store manager to put my cart full of groceries in the dairy cooler (it’s like a meat locker, but for all the milk & yogurt & stuff) while I took my oldest (and only, at that time) out to the car for a little hand-to-butt conversation.

    Sometimes children just have meltdowns. Nothing to be embarrassed about.

  30. Eve says:

    Natalie Portman being kind towards another human being? I’m not buy it (yes, I hate her).

  31. Janet says:

    Oh come on, babies are babies. Crying is what they do. Toddlers, OTOH, are another matter. If they can’t/won’t sit still in a restaurant without getting up and running around and bothering everybody else, they shouldn’t be there. Until they learn how to act right, order takeout and stay home.

    When I visited my son and daughter in law last Christmas in California, we took my little grandson to a restaurant. He was two and a half. We took along a portable DVD player with a few of his Elmo cassettes to keep him occupied. Total strangers came up to us to compliment us on how well behaved he was.

    • original kate says:

      nobody is saying babies should never cry; but if a crying baby can’t be quieted then the parents need to leave the restaurant/movie/BBQ/symphony/ballet etc. does it suck for the parents? i suppose it does, but that is part of the trade-off when you decide to have kids; sometimes you have to stay home, sometimes you have to pay for a sitter and sometimes you have to cut the outing short.

      • telesma says:

        Exactly this. You have to set your own comfort aside and respect other people and respect the child. If a kid is melting down it’s because they need something they’re not getting. Whether that’s a nap or a diaper change or food or discipline or simply a change of venue, it doesn’t matter.

        As a parent it’s your job to sort it out, and sitting there pretending that it’s not happening is not sorting it out. If the kid is overstimulated or hungry-cranky, you take them outside until the meal arrives or you take them home. Whatever is needed, you handle it, and you do it such a way as to minimize disturbance to others wherever possible.

        Yes, babies cry. And parents have to be prepared to deal with that fact, not just ignore it and act like everyone else has a problem for not enjoying having their meal or entertainment disturbed.

  32. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    She’s lost half her weight in rhinoplasties. Top pic: the nose knows.

  33. Ginger says:

    If this is true I would have had the same reaction as the other diners…very nice of her but not necessary. My son was fussy sometimes as a baby but really hit his stride when he was toddler. He was the kind of kid that had full on hissy fits in public (usually when I was in line at a store) and I would have to abandon my cart and take him home. To him that was the worst discipline if I just put him in the car and took him home so it usually worked to stop the tantrum. So, now when I see this happening to other mom’s or dad’s I feel immense empathy not annoyance! That was a rough, embarrassing phase that he went through and it’s not always easy to decide how to handle it.

    • telesma says:

      My daughter had issues with meltdowns long after the point where most kids stop, but I would take her outside to the car if it looked like she was reaching the melting point. Usually she’d settle down and we’d figure out what the problem was and we could go back in and enjoy our meal. If not, it got boxed up and we went home. It didn’t happen very many times, though. Usually a trip to the car to cool down and the threat of leaving if she didn’t settle down was enough for her to get hold of herself.

  34. Eileen says:

    I flew from the east coast to Utah for a graduation when my boy was about two and a half years old-we were terrified of his potential behavior but the rocking motion of the plane knocked him out and riding in his comfy car seat helped. Schlepping his seat,wheelchair, walker,etc was nightmarish and fellow travelers took pity on my husband and I and helped carry it for us. Natalie Portman seems very classy and not surprised to hear this. a little human tolerance towards each other goes a long way.

  35. V says:

    I think the ticketsellers in movie theater should have a right to refuse to give movie tickets to people who bring their babies with them.
    I’m lucky that I haven’t watched movies when there are babies with their parents.

  36. ViloDeMenus says:

    You can tell when a baby is crying, being unattended, or one that is fussy because they are tired or teething. The first pisses you off, the second you understand and if you have a heart and are normal, it doesn’t bother you.

    It’s just that WE can tell the difference, even if the parent is pretending not to know what’s wrong and doing something about it.

  37. moo says:

    It was EXTREMELY generous to take the order to go and leave the restaurant. She did not have to buy everyone lunch though….. babies cry. Period. It happens, even to big celebrities!

  38. Kim says:

    What a class act. She did not need to pay for the other diners meals and Im so glad they confirmed to her babies cry and no big deal but its still really nice she did that.

  39. Amanda_M87 says:

    That was nice of her, though certainly not necessary. Putting up with crying babies is something people deal with.

  40. Sashaqueenie says:

    I hate hate hate babies who cry in public, even though I know it’s not their fault. Think I just have a terrible time coping with irritating noises so I avoid babies and toddlers and kids in generally. But as karma would have it, the more I avoid them, the more I attract them. Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……………….

  41. pato says:

    well, I can´t stand crying children in public spaces. I mean, the ones that cry for hours. I suffered a couple of times on planes, I am sorry if I offend anyone, but I am being honest. I used to be like that when I was a child until my mother gave me a really cold shower in the middle of winter to stop me in a very cold house. She was pregnant and I was almost 3 years old, I swear I still remember even what I was wearing. I never ever cried or screamed again except at home. and not that much either. I think my mom did the right thing LOL

  42. Dragon says:

    Oh my God, I’m so shocked about the problems these poor celebrities are facing. Is it possible to donate money to comfort them a little bit?

  43. Cheryl says:

    I’m convinced Steve jobs invented the iPad for distracting children on flights. ( yeah, like he ever flew commercial….) we download some movies, some games, keeps our 2 year old happy for a few hours on a plane ( or really long car ride) and we’ve been doing this since she was 15 months old. She can work that thing like a pro! So, if you can afford it…

  44. tru tru says:

    that was a nice gesture, maybe she has felt “bothered” before she had her son.

    a lady could not get her son to stop fussing and I started making faces and playing w/him–at the end of it all, he fell aleep on my lap and everything worked out.

    we were on an airplane.

    When I was a kid, the mean eye got me alll the time, its where one eye is scrunched down tight and the other is bulging out big and the mouth is crunched down to a mean tight line.

    either that or the promise of a goldfish and a slice of pizza.

  45. telesma says:

    She did what good parents are supposed to do. Not the paying for other diners’ meals, but removing the child from the location as soon as possible.

    Sometimes you only have to take them outside for a few minutes until they calm down or you can figure out what the problem is, other times you have to put your own comfort aside and leave altogether. But staying in a restaurant with a miserable, crying child is not fair to either the other diners OR the child. Better to leave and try again another time. Bravo to Natalie Portman for doin’ it right.

  46. Carpe Diem says:

    She is just gorgeous.

    I think it’s a natural response for a mother to be embarrassed of a fussy baby in a restaurant. Not necessary, but natural. And I don’t think it’s bad to leave with the fussy baby (better to accept your own embarrassment and high-tail it than pretend it’s okay and get frustrated).

    But the payment gesture is over-the-top; it’s like saying ‘we ruined your meal’ when, if she left, she really didn’t. But w/e; better to be overly-apologetic than to not give a sht.

  47. bored says:

    Crying babies bugged me until I had my own baby. Now I just feel bad for the parents and the child who is obviously in some sort of physical or emotional discomfort.
    I’d like to pont out older children acting out inexplicabley (particularly if it looks to you like the parent is not trying to stop them) may have special needs. When my autistic son reaches the poiint of a meltdown from overstimulation etc no amount of yelling or bribery will help. soft words and getting my business done and out of there are the only solution. These kids can get into that tantrum state a lot eaiser than regular kids and its not aleays obvious they are special need kids. Those parents ahve to shop, eat etc too. Try to give a screaming kid family the benefit of the doubt. :)