A couple thoughts about dining out with toddlers.. About the food thing: only the parents truly know what's going on there. There's a difference between a kid in a behavioral food rut and one that literally gags and is honestly repulsed by certain foods. If it was the former situation, maybe the parents simply chose to "pick their battles" on this particular outing in order to have a peaceful and enjoyable time without creating a scene, as opposed to the usual day-in-day-out of "fighting the good fight" at home.
The window seat? Aw, that's just sweet. It seems that the parents knew it meant a lot to the child. It's just another look outside to us but it can be the coolest thing to a little kid.
Talk about the birth of a narcissist.. (Maybe something like this was along the lines of what you feared when you saw the kid in the restaurant.) I know of a child --this kid didn't have any legitimate food aversions-- that was unbelievably catered to at home and everywhere and always. This encompassed just about everything the child ever wanted, but I'll stick to the food story, here. The mother, father, and grandparents, after cooking and serving entire meals only to have them rejected, would get up and microwave junk food and bring it to the child. The meals weren't ultra-weird or anything, I know he liked what was served because I'd see him eating it between meals.
This went on all the years of the kid's life from early toddlerhood on up. I'd go to family dinners and see this big ten year-old sitting at the table, turning his nose up to the food and sending his mother to go microwave some "Bagel Bites" or "Pizza Rolls" or some such garbage. Another amazing behavior that they consistently tolerated was this gem: when the kid got older and finally did take some of the dinner items, he was allowed to pile the food on the plate then only take a few bites. Sometimes items weren't even touched. Everything else got swept into the trash. He was back in the kitchen less than an hour later either microwaving junk food or doing the wasteful thing again. (I realize that sometimes our eyes are too big for our stomachs, but this thing happened EVERY time the kid made a plate.) When I say, "kid" I mean that he was doing this into his teens now. So rude and wasteful, and nobody ever straightened him out on this.
It gets "better", though: The parents would drive to fast food joints a few times a week and bring the food to the kid AT SCHOOL for lunch. ..but wait, there's more. Once, on a large group friends-and-family day trip, everyone in the two vans agreed on stopping for sandwiches to fill the cooler before taking the long drive. Sandwiches. Can't go wrong there, right? This sandwich shop had all kinds of choices. Imagine my absolute surprise and WTF GTFO moment when, after getting the sandwiches, we parked in the hot sun in a fast food restaurant parking lot for an hour while the parent and child got in a tourist-town line that wrapped AROUND THE BUILDING of the restaurant just so somebody could have their burger. The mother saw to it that over ten people were made to wait on the whim of this kid.
Needless to say, this child turned into one hell of a mess in his late teens/early twenties. His mother had to drop everything and take him out for a coffee right when he wanted one. He regularly screamed and verbally abused his grandparents for anything less than the total surrender of their car and money to his whims, was violent, impulsive, promiscuous, and was often in conflict with other students, teachers, employees, employers, acquaintances, and random strangers.
The way he was raised really did a number on him. All seems to be quiet with him now, though. He's in college and takes a new part-time job every time the last one goes sour.
It's sad to say this, and I hope things work out for him in the future-- I know it wasn't his fault how he was raised, but for my own safety and sanity's sake, I wouldn't ever trust that kid as far as I could throw him. :(