I can’t even get a date, so I’m the last person in the world to give parenting advice. I probably know more about nuclear physics than I do kids. What I do know is they are often loud and usually dirty. Sometimes, they smell bad. They are always sticky. And they don’t get my jokes.
People are always giving you advice when you’re a parent. It all starts when they find out you’re pregnant. They tell you what to eat, what colour to paint the nursery, and what toys to buy. There are cultural and family traditions from spare the rod to hippie free-range parenting. So it begs the question, are there places where kids, especially young kids, just shouldn’t go?
Getting there is half the fun, unless it’s a family vacation. Nothing makes you want to throw the baby out with the bath water more than a screaming infant on a trans-Pacific flight. There is a case to be made that, like smoking, little kids should be banned from airplanes. After all, it’s not doing any good for my mental health to have someone’s spawn drowning out the jet engines while their big brother kicks the back of my seat for six hours straight. That’s the real reason they don’t want anyone taking knives and guns on an airplane.
Somebody please do a study that shows taking babies on planes gives you cancer (it doesn’t have to be true). It’s the only way it will stop.
It’s not like raising kids is something new; we’ve been doing it as a species for some time now. In the past fifty years, we’ve learned how to put a phone, computer, tv, and a video camera in to something small enough to fit in your hand. So why can’t we figure out a way to keep kids from screaming at the top of their lungs in crowded restaurants? (The closest we’ve gotten so far is the shock collar, but somebody said that was cruel.)
A lot of people complain that kids shouldn’t be allowed in restaurants because they are loud and disruptive. By that logic, I know a good many people who should not be allowed out of their houses at all (some are running for office).
And if there’s anywhere that everyone is acting like a child, it’s at a sports arena. If you want an example of how not to behave in public, go to any place grown men are tossing their balls around. (Sorry ladies, I merely report the double standard; I don’t create it.)
There is a simple solution to all this that everyone seems to be overlooking. (Contraception?) No, there are places that are for kids (They usually have some kind of mouse or clown themed decor) and places that are for adults (They smell like beer and desperation). If you have kids or are allergic to them, stay on your side of the line, otherwise you’ll get what’s coming to you. It’s like sitting in the first three rows at SeaWorld, and complaining that Shamu got you wet.
Perhaps in some future utopia we will take all the noisy brats and lock them all up in one place, only releasing them once they learn to behave in a civilized society. Or maybe that’s what someone else has done to us. It would certainly explain a lot.
Also, I will tell you the one secret to having a successful outing. Complain a lot. Because everybody loves the guy who’s got a problem and is not afraid to tell you all about it.
(All images used in this post are public domain.)
“Or maybe that’s what someone else has done to us. It would certainly explain a lot.” Yes, yes, that would explain a lot… Great job adding some humor to this week’s writing challenge.
Thanks. That bit was inspired by the Douglas Adams character who build the inside out asylum.
I raised three children, and my (now ex-) wife and I were very aware of how our children were interacting with the environment. For us, having children with us determined where we went, what movies we saw, what kind of restaurants we patronized, and so on.
Over the past decade, the idea that parents with small children should bring them only to places designed with small children in mind seems to have faded away. I have seen toddlers running between tables in sports bars and up and down the aisles in theaters showing “NC” rated films.
What’s more, it seems that many parents are not keeping close track of children. We had a rule with our children, if they didn’t mind us and stay close, we left. As far as screaming in public? We’d walk straight out the door–no discussion, no second chance.
More than once I can recall finding a server and paying for meal that we hadn’t yet received, because one of our children had become unmanageable and we had to leave. However, once the kids learned that an evening out was dependent upon their behavior, they behaved.
For us, there was a sense of obligation not only to our children but to the other patrons. I don’t see that same sense of obligation in many other parents. I hope that the ones who are being responsible are the majority, and it’s only the minority that we see bringing toddlers to bars and letting them run free.
Ah, yes. That oft-forgotten skill called parenting. Let’s hope it doesn’t go the way of black smithing and butter churning.