Last Time I Checked, Babies Were People Too

April 9, 2010

From a recent post by a fellow blogger:

“There’s another something I want to throw out there. A tough lesson for us moms to learn. Not everyone likes kids. Not every store wants your baby in it. I’m telling you, the more they move, the less appropriate it can be to bring them along. The reality is that there are shops (and their patrons) who are totally not into babies. Right or wrong, that’s just life.”

Let’s try a little thought experiment:

“There’s another something I want to throw out there. A tough lesson for us moms to learn. Not everyone likes kids disabled persons/the elderly/people-who-are-not-a-size4/whoever-it-is-you-don’t-like-or-are-made-uncomfortable-by. Not every store wants your baby disabled persons/the elderly/people-who-are-not-a-size4/WIIYDLOAMUB in it. I’m telling you, the more they move, the less appropriate it can be to bring them along. The reality is that there are shops (and their patrons) who are totally not into babies disabled persons/the elderly/people-who-are-not-a-size4/WIIYDLOAMUB. Right or wrong, that’s just life.”

Maybe. But just because “that’s just life” doesn’t make it right.

Look, I don’t expect people to like my children when I bring them out into the public sphere – nor do I expect anyone to coddle them or tend to them on my behalf – but I do expect them to accept my children as participants (albeit much smaller and – usually – less reasonable participants) in that sphere, who need to move about in that sphere if they are to maximize their development as members of civil society. Children are, like it or not, part of society, and to the extent that anyone begrudges them the opportunity to participate in society to a reasonable extent, the less functional members of society will they be. That, and discrimination is discrimination. Children aren’t dogs. We shouldn’t be expected to tie them up outside when we go into a shop.

So. Don’t like children? Suck it up.

******

On a mostly completely unrelated note (unless, that is, you consider that BABIES WEAR DIAPERS): we’re promoting a contest over at the Bad Moms Club that involves diapers (Huggies! Sponsor Alert!) and parties and is really kind of awesome. Please to enjoy!

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    { 189 comments }

    melissa April 8, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    “to a reasonable extent”. in my opinion, ’nuff said.

    Maris (In Good Taste) April 8, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    I don’t have children but I agree with Catherine’s comment:

    “Parents DO need to be responsible, and consider what kinds of public participation their children can handle.”

    A loud kid in a store or restaurant is annoying, sure, but no more annoying than a loud, drunk 22 year old in the same venue. Until kids are 18 and/or old enough to make their own choices it is up to their parents and guardians to make that call.

    Again, I say this as a “non parent” but I think that everyone, parent, child or childless adult deserves respect in public – isn’t that a basic human right?

    Kerri Anne April 8, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    As a non-parent who isn’t sure she’s ever going to have kids, I agree with this completely. Kids are most certainly people, too. In fact, kids are some of my favorite people.
    .-= Kerri Anne´s last blog ..Good Things: Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer =-.

    Steph April 8, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    My now 10 year old once completely melted down in Walmart. I mean full on MELTED.DOWN. I have no idea what set him off and obviously I was mortified and trying my damnedest to get the HELL out, but it didn’t help that the 16 year old gum smacking checker said “WHAT DID YOU DO TO HIM, GET HIM OUT OF HERE”. I so wanted to slap her I can’t even tell you! It’s WALMART!! Ever seen the peopleofwalmart.com site??

    I have seen countless signs of the world becoming more and more anti-child in recent years. The ever present “airplane debate” is definitely one of my favorites.

    I completely agree it’s a parental responsibility to mold how your child behaves in a public place, but those people who choose to remain childless really need to step back and think about how we’re supposed to teach our kids to be functioning members of society if we DON’T take them out.

    In 15 years I fully expect there to be a debate regarding the next generation’s inability to function at their job or in public and then we can all gleefully remind them they didn’t want our children in public so we just weren’t able to teach them to be contributing members of society. It’s not our fault if our 20 year old throws temper tantrums in his psych class in college because we weren’t allowed to take him to Walmart and teach him not to throw tantrums in public.
    .-= Steph´s last blog ..I Fail =-.

    andrea April 8, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    i think that comparing children to anything other than what they are and injecting your interpretation into another persons words is wrong.

    i have five children, *and* i have nursed them. EVEN in public.

    with that said, there is absolutely appropriate and inappropriate places to do so, just like there are child friendly and not so child friendly establishments.

    women should use their efforts to focus on more important issues besides gaining the right to whip their tit out in the middle of nordstrom.

    a lot of my fellow sisters are judgy mcjudgersons who need to take a step backwards into their glass houses, look around, and realize that there’s a lot of cracks in the walls around them also.

    respectfully not of the norm,

    andrea

    Catch the Kids April 8, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Amen. It’s all about balancing respect for all the parties involved. I come into the restaurant with my young family. You come into the restaurant with your elderly parents. Civilisation is all about how we sort it out. You make allowances for the youth and inexperience of my kids and I help find your Dad with dementia when he goes missing. Courtesy is a great blender.

    The Grown Up Teenager April 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    I’d have to respectfully disagree, just like Jessica. I don’t believe babies/toddlers are like pets and meant to be chained up, but there are certainly places that I go that I would consider small children unwelcome and I will freely admit to (silently) judging parents that bring them to said places.

    I’ll use the example of a live hockey game. Its not the place for either babies or toddlers. Its loud as heck after goals which can make babies cry (understandably). And its too long for toddlers. I don’t expect them to sit still that long, but I also don’t want to deal with them crawling under seats, over seats, across people, whining, etc when I paid to see the game.

    The same applies to a lot of other situations, and if the store or venue is clearly trying to NOT appeal to the kid crowd, I think parents need to respect that and wait until the child is old enough to appreciate and enjoy the place, not to mention not ruin it for everyone around them.

    I fully understand that with things like traveling, kids can’t be left behind. But if the parents want a night at the theater (movie or live), or a nice restaurant, or a sporting event, or go shopping in a nice boutique, etc…that’s the time to get a babysitter.
    .-= The Grown Up Teenager´s last blog ..Ben =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 8, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    I agree that there are times and places where it is less reasonable to bring one’s children – as I already implied. But that doesn’t mean that we should have a social expectation that children not be allowed in those places, any more than we should expect the elderly or whomever to not be ‘allowed’ anywhere.

    But there’s this, too: parents don’t always have access to babysitters. They just don’t. So – setting aside the question of entertainment – if a mom need to buy a birthday gift or grown-up clothes – or, say, fly on a airplane – the biases against children function as biases against her, too. It’s not just about what the child can appreciate – it’s about moving about freely in the public sphere.

    And, as I’ve said before – I’ve seen more adults ‘ruin it for everyone else’ – behave boorishly, loudly, rudely, disruptively, at hockey games, in bars, at restaurants, in shops – than I ever have kids. So why single out the kids?

    The Grown Up Teenager April 8, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    The thing is, in many of the situations that you mentioned, those adults can be removed.

    Hockey games employ security to remove drunk/obnoxious/etc patrons. (NHL arenas often have local police on site for all games as well) Bars have bouncers. Restaurants have every right to ask a disruptive table to leave. And as a society, we’re perfectly okay with all of that.

    But if a mother is asked to leave somewhere because her child is causing a scene and being disruptive to everyone around her, I can see it turning into a discrimination/rights violation outcry.
    .-= The Grown Up Teenager´s last blog ..Ben =-.

    Steph April 8, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    I just want to point out that generalizing against all kids is a bad idea no matter what your viewpoint…

    My 10 year old son has been playing hockey for years and as a direct result his sister is a HUGE hockey fan. She’s 3 and she will sit through any professional hockey game and has done so twice, once through a shootout.

    Not meaning to pick on your comment at all, just wanted to point out it’s dangerous to generalize kids in certain situations as they’re all very different.
    .-= Steph´s last blog ..I Fail =-.

    Alexicographer April 10, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Yeah. Just to add to Steph’s comment, we’re looking forward to going, with our 3-year old, to his older brother’s hockey game next week. It’s a reunion of a not-very-good (sorry, W!) college team, so it’s not exactly going to be the sort of game where seats are in short supply (and it will be cold), and if our young son finds the game too tedious or loud, I’ll take him out of the rink area … not, honestly, out of concern for the other spectators (it’s a safe bet at his worst he can’t compete with the college-team fans whose company we used to “enjoy,”) … but, come on. We’ll be there. And go out to dinner with the team afterward. And have fun. Even if one of us does, from time to time, have to take the 3-year old to a different part of the venue in order to keep him, and us, sane.

    Maris (In Good Taste) April 9, 2010 at 1:28 am

    Catherine, I am curious (and I don’t mean this facetiously) but when when you refer to moms who “don’t have access to a babysitter” are you referring to moms who cannot afford one/don’t have family members or friends to help out or moms who refuse to leave their children with someone besides mom and dad because it is their preference?

    I think whether to leave/bring your kids out is a personal issue as well as a social question. A mom might feel as uncomfortable leaving kids with a babysitter as the same store owner or patron who feels uncomfortable around the child.
    .-= Maris (In Good Taste)´s last blog ..The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge: Week 20 (Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire) =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 9, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Any of these, although primarily the former, for whom it’s just not possible to leave kids with someone else.

    Again, for me the issue is the question of discrimination – feeling uncomfortable about leaving one’s kids with a stranger isn’t directly comparable to feeling uncomfortable around a certain type of person. Some people are uncomfortable around the elderly, or around homosexual couples, or even around women – is it okay for them to act on those discomforts, publicly, by suggesting that members of the group they’re uncomfortable with not be allowed, say, in the local cafe that they frequent?

    harrietglynn April 8, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    Kids can be hell on wheels and it’s simply inappropriate and frankly not fun to bring them to adultish places, including, to my mind, crowded coffee shops. As a new mother of a kid who’s starting to drop, throw, crawl, spill, pull up, and generally make an unwholly mess wherever he turns, I’d rather go somewhere we’re welcome like open gym or the one a family friendlt restaurant of which there are many in Vancouver, and they’re good.

    Miriam April 15, 2010 at 5:37 am

    It’s sad you don’t feel welcome in coffee shops in your area.
    My kid has LOVED coffee shops since he was able to drink a babycino and eat a marshmallow. They are my sanity saver, and we always feel welcome.
    Even when he was a baby, we went to the local cafe for breakfast every Saturday, and took turns wheeling the pram down the street if he got a bit cranky. My mother’s groups usually met in cafe’s, if there was room, and we felt welcome there too.

    Tina C. April 8, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    who is Jessica Gottlieb?? am i supposed to know her? am i supposed to hold her opinion in high regard?

    Accidents April 8, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    I wrote about this issue after the crazy CNN dust-up over “Babies in Bars,” in a post about “Parentitlement” and the argument that kids should be kept indoors: http://bigpreg.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/controversunday-parentitlement/

    I think your thought experiment is apt. The point is that someone’s being uncomfortable by a subgroup of humans (whether that group is young, old, male, female, black, white, whatever–and these are all comparable because they are descriptors of humanity) does not bar that subgroup from entry into public spaces. This line of thinking DOES dangerously align with ablism/racism/fascism/etc. I don’t think it’s an unfair comparison, though it may seem to some to diminish the oppression of others to compare them with children. It’s not a one to one correspondence, it’s conceptual.

    To expect not to see children (or frat boys, or older women, or Greatful Dead fans) out in the world is to except yourself from the species.

    And I’d also add that to expect children to always behave is to expect them to be adults, not children. And they are not adults, and they are not capable of being adults, nor should they be expected to be. So I am equally disgusted by the argument that people should just “parent better” and then no one would ever hear a baby cry on a plane or watch a kid knock something over in a store. This is CRAZY, people.
    .-= Accidents´s last blog ..ControverSunday: Gifted Children =-.

    Diane April 8, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    I agree with everything you’ve said, but that last paragraph is just brilliant. I want to put it on a freaking billboard. Just THANK YOU for summing that up so perfectly.
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..The one thing I just can’t handle =-.

    Lauren April 8, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    Babies are people? NO FUCKING WAY.

    And *I* was once a baby? YOU LIE!!

    I think that we all need to be considerate of one another. Don’t take your teething baby to dinner at a $30 per plate restaurant at 8pm. Don’t talk loudly on your cell phone using profanity while you’re waiting in line to check out at Gymboree. Gimme a break. Common courtesy (and common sense) is missing from our society.

    In regards to nursing in public? It’s natural to feed a child with one’s breast. What IS NOT NATURAL is shoveling greasy food into your trapper. You cover up.

    Marthanow April 8, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Oh my goodness. It is so simple.If the owner of a store or restaurant does not want you or your kid to shop or eat there, just leave and don’t go back. End of story.

    gisto April 9, 2010 at 2:26 am

    How do you equate someone with a genetic disability with your (and others) inability to control and discipline their own children in public?

    two totally different things I’m afraid.

    a much better analogy would be dogs. nobody wants an untrained semi-wild dog running around their store, but a well behaved guide god would always be welcome because it’s not going to run rampant and destroy everything.

    learn to control your children and keep them under control and you aren’t going to have any of these problems.

    and whilst you’re at it take some responsibility for your lack of parenting skills instead of trying to blame other people and then telling them they have to put up with it.

    Her Bad Mother April 9, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I didn’t compare people with genetic disabilities to children – I compared *dislike* of certain groups – including persons with disabilities, genetic or otherwise, and also the elderly, the not-size-fours, and others – to *dislike* of children as a group. Why would it be NOT okay to dislike a person in a wheelchair, and seek to have them banned from public spaces on that basis, but totally okay to dislike the elderly? That’s the thought experiment. Not, how are children like disabled persons?, but how is dislike of any group, translated into calls for the acceptability of prejudice, acceptable?

    And, if you read the post, I stated explicitly that any right of children to move about in the public sphere comes with a corresponding parental responsibility to manage them. Nobody’s asking that children be allowed to run amok.

    Jozet at Halushki April 9, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    This drives me fucking ape shit.

    People I know, who I work with, have come up to me and gleefully stated that they “hate children”. Just like that. An entire group of humans.

    It’s called MISOPEDIA.

    And don’t dare tell me about your compassion, humanity, religious morals, political enlightenment, etc., etc., etc., when you are going to tell me flat out that you hate children. And I don’t care if it was a mistake of syntax or you didn’t mean it “that way” or it’s a common idiom for disliking annoying behavior…too bad. Fix your language. Then work on your heart and soul.

    And I just did write a post about kids in a retail store and will add on. Yes, it’s from the perspective of safety, as well as common sense, but with understanding that kids are people in training who can’t simply exist in school and Chuck E. Cheese until they get sent off to college. Egads. I have more to add. You’ve motivated me.

    Her Bad Mother April 9, 2010 at 10:12 am

    And? Children comparable to dogs? REALLY?

    mom101 April 9, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Because it’s generally fruitless to debate an anonymous commenter with a fake web url who turns a discussion about babies into “undisciplined children,” I just thought I would point and laugh at the comment instead.

    So that’s what I’m doing.
    .-= mom101´s last blog ..MAMAGEDDON! =-.

    brtkrbzhnv April 9, 2010 at 6:21 am

    I prefer if people who cannot behave aren’t allowed in the stores, restaurants &c. I frequent. I don’t care whether they’re children or not, but if they’re screaming or running around or whatever, they need to be removed and not allowed to reënter.

    I think it’s perfectly acceptable to discriminate against people who cannot behave.

    Her Bad Mother April 9, 2010 at 10:01 am

    So, men between the ages of 18 and, say, 25 are known to have pretty bad behaviour. And the elderly, wow – they can get kind of obnoxious. So – do we discriminate against any group that we feel might not behave according to the standards that we prefer?

    I think it’s clear that every parent here acknowledges the responsibility of parents to manage their children’s behaviour – I said as much in my post. So where does that leave us?

    Alexicographer April 10, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Catherine, thanks for saying this. My dad, who is in his late 70s and has dementia, exhibits the following attributes … he’s wheelchair bound. He wears diapers, not (necessarily) because he can’t control his bodily functions (though that is at times an issue) but because I’m not kidding about the wheelchair bound part — he cannot safely transfer himself from the chair to a toilet, and as he weighs nearly 200 lbs, I could no more move him myself than fly to the moon). He doesn’t (necessarily) understand or follow instructions; he can be quite rude, e.g. pointing at something he wants rather than asking for it — a trait that has been true throughout his adult life and is not (simply) a function of his dementia, though that has exacerbated it; and he doesn’t speak clearly.

    I find him much, much more difficult to manage than I find my 3-year old son.

    Interestingly, the few times I’ve mustered the energy and courage to take my dad out in public, said public has been phenomenally kind and helpful, perhaps because many of us realize we may end up in the condition in which my dad finds himself, whereas we know we won’t be babies again …

    ThatsSouTrik April 9, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Your logic doesn’t apply for the simple reason that disabled people and the elderly have business everywhere. If they are at a store or restaurant, they want to be there and have a reason to be there. Babies/toddlers don’t have business ANYWHERE, except for a Baby GAP or day-care, etc. There is absolutely no reason they need to be at a movie theater or restaurant, so DON’T BRING THEM.

    Accidents April 9, 2010 at 11:05 am

    How are children to learn to behave and become a member of the social community if they are only asked to interact with each other/toys? Babies don’t have business being anywhere but daycare? Really? Parents should pay to “board” their kids if they need to go to Target? You call for children to “behave” but there is no way for them to learn social behavior if they are denied exposure and emulation.
    .-= Accidents´s last blog ..ControverSunday: Gifted Children =-.

    red pen mama April 9, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    MOMS and DADS have business elsewhere, too. So your logic doesn’t hold, @thatssoutrik. I can see your point about movie theaters unless it’s a kid movie, but otherwise you’re making a senseless argument. Pretty much with Accidents on this one.
    .-= red pen mama´s last blog ..Losing Lost =-.

    Her Bad Mother April 9, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Um, why might children not have cause to want to eat food? Accompany their parents to shops or cafes? What if I want to bring an elderly parent or disabled nephew with me to H&M while I shop? Is it appropriate for them to be turned away because they have no immediate business there? Reductio ad absurdum – women could be discriminated against in men’s wear departments, men in lingerie shops, etc, etc.

    And, as numerous commenters have pointed out – discrimination against children is discrimination against parents. Moms with kids should never go anywhere but BabyGap?

    But again, really, the issue is this: WHY is it okay to discriminate against children just on the basis of their age/size (and note: everyone is in agreement here that parents should manage their behavior. NO-ONE has said that children should be free to run amok. Also note: we’ve established that members of other groups are as capable of disruptive behavior, so set ‘some kids are disruptive’ aside). Really: one good reason that applies only to children and to no-one else.

    jo April 9, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Yes, babies are people too. People that cry and shit their pants. If you shit your pants, I’d ask you to leave the store as well. If that is discrimination, so be it.

    Jozet at Halushki April 9, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    There are plenty of disabled people who do the same – albeit in diapers as well, whereas 20 year old drunk guys just smear it on the bathroom walls – and I’d be interested to see exactly how you would go about asking disabled adults to leave a public place without getting lawyers involved or a lashing in the newspaper.

    I mean, if shitting is your main problem.

    Although, as sensory issues go, I could be for a full public ban on anything that offends any of my senses, beginning with stirrup pants, perfume, and processed hair.

    If being loud is a problem, then yes, very much so. Let’s post a decibel level in all venues where sound travels across private lines into public space or other private spaces – cell phones, noisy cars, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, radios, airplanes overhead, concerts, etc. You’ll get no argument from me there.

    But shitty pants? Least of my complaints.
    .-= Jozet at Halushki´s last blog ..Vintage Halushki: Cookie Proof =-.

    GreenInOC April 9, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    I find it offensive when I see 2, 3, 4 & 5 year olds with sippy cups and pacifiers.

    Does that mean that they should not be allowed to have them?

    I am guessing that the answer to that would be a resounding NO.

    So if you don’t like it when a woman breastfeeds or soothes her child with her breast, then you should look away, grow up, do some research or grin and bear it (like I do when I see those plastic eating and soothing devices).

    **I find it “offensive” because I find it sad that instead of going to Mom and her breast for nourishment and comfort they are instead being soothed by plastic devices and most likely sucking down endocrine disrupters from that same plastic.
    .-= GreenInOC´s last blog ..Bye Bye Birdies =-.

    GreenInOC April 9, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    My first sentence should read:

    I find it offensive when I see babies, toddlers and young children with bottles, sippy cups and pacifiers.
    .-= GreenInOC´s last blog ..Bye Bye Birdies =-.

    Accidents April 9, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I don’t want to start a spin-off debate, but is it truly offensive if an infant is using a bottle? What is mama isn’t there and the baby is being fed by another caregiver? What is mama is dead? I am an avid promoter of breastfeeding but to call it “offensive” for a child to use a bottle or pacifier is incredibly unfair to parents. (For example, to a man who is raising a child on his own, to a good friend of mine who lost her breasts to cancer immediately following the birth of her child, and to my good friends whose autistic 7 year old uses a pacifier, because that’s what works for her to calm down).
    .-= Accidents´s last blog ..ControverSunday: Gifted Children =-.

    Accidents April 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    All I’m saying is we need to follow through with our logic and try to think about what’s best and fair for babies, women, parents, people. Generalizing any position to a strict formula is going to be deeply problematic and oppressive–that’s what this whole thing is about (examples above include a blanket prohibition of extended breastfeeding, barring children from public spaces, etc.).
    .-= Accidents´s last blog ..ControverSunday: Gifted Children =-.

    GreenInOC April 9, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    @Accidents, not sure if you read my entire comment…

    “**I find it “offensive” because I find it sad that instead of going to Mom and her breast for nourishment and comfort they are instead being soothed by plastic devices and most likely sucking down endocrine disrupters from that same plastic.”

    The same could be said for women breastfeeding their babies in public.

    What if the baby, toddler, child can’t digest anything but breastmilk?

    What if the baby, toddler, child has just experienced their father’s/sibling’s/grandparent’s death and needs the comfort of their mother’s breast?

    My point was that someone will find fault and offense in any choice and that we should be mindful and do our best to be gracious humans to one another (which goes both ways), we cannot avoid an opposing opinion and we should not be kowtowed into behavior simply to placate.
    .-= GreenInOC´s last blog ..Bye Bye Birdies =-.

    Accidents April 9, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    @GreenInOC: I’m terribly sorry–I seem to have skipped over your clarifying point:

    “Does that mean that they should not be allowed to have them?

    I am guessing that the answer to that would be a resounding NO.”

    Sorry!
    .-= Accidents´s last blog ..ControverSunday: Gifted Children =-.

    Chrissy April 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I love how everyone, EVERYONE loves to tell others exactly the right way to live their lives. There’s so little “live and let live” going on in our society. Here’s a beautiful little experiment, what if everyone stopped trying to intercede in matters that harm no one, and simply minded their own business for a while? We might just float right up to Nirvana. I keep thinking of what my mother used to say when we picked at our dinners…”But there’s starving people in Africa!”. We’re so blessed to live how we live, and it makes me so sad when smart women judge other women. It’s so detrimental to our great push forward as women. Love this thread and the support here, Catherine.

    Chrissy April 9, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Also… Boobs are beautiful, sexy, hot, stirring, AND nourishing and motherly. The old Madonna/Whore complex has grown thin and so has blaming porn and society.
    .-= Chrissy´s last blog ..Inspiration in the form of a 1960′s Television Witch =-.

    Sierra Black April 9, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    LOVE YOU FOR SAYING THIS, AND SAYING IT SO WELL.

    This has been a major, major issue of mine for many years, and I’m sure it will continue to be. When I’m traveling, when we’re in a restaurant, when we’re walking down the street or taking a class or at a park:

    “My kids are not an exotic hobby, or a bizarre lifestyle choice. They are little people with all the rights and privileges people are entitled to. Their emotional and physical well-being is in your interest as well as mine.

    When you are old, and need care, it is my kids and their peers who will be your doctors, your bus drivers, your congresspeople and your financial advisors. Whether you had children and took on the burden of raising them or spent your middle years blissfully child-free, jet-setting around the world and bitching about those annoying kids on airplanes: today’s kids will wipe your ass someday.”

    (pulled from this post about people being nasty to kids and moms: http://childwild.com/2010/02/19/nerve-endings/)
    .-= Sierra Black´s last blog ..Serena taking my picture [Flickr] =-.

    Jen Wilson April 9, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Completely agree. 100%.

    Gwensarah April 9, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    If I am next to a crying baby on an airplane, the check out line, ect. I deal with it because babies cry. Babies cannot be asked to stop, they cannot be reasoned with, they are going to cry if that’s the need they have.
    HOWEVER..
    If it is a toddler or worse a school age child who is completely nutting up in a public place I wonder why the parent isn’t removing said child RIGHT NOW.
    For the sake of the rest of us as well as an important lesson to child. I once told my son who at the time was four that if he had one more melt down that it must mean he couldn’t handle Disneyland for one more second and he obviously needed to go home and go to bed.
    Guess who went home and went to bed at 5pm. He learned a lesson though, which is we all have to maintain no matter if you are four or forty. He also learned, do not try to call mommy’s bluff because she isn’t bluffing.
    I don’t want to have to listen to a kid throwing a fit, especially if it’s not my kid. If your kid can’t handle things it’s the parent’s job to recognize this and take him/her home.
    On the flip side of this though, if a kid is having a melt down, I (and everyone else should really try this also) try to not immediately assume the kid is a brat or the parent is irresponsible, I understand that there are some kids out there who have spectrum and other processing disorders that can lead to a melt down..take the time to assess if this might be the case and if so, give the parent an understanding word or encouraging look..they feel the embarrassment of knowing how it looks on the outside more keenly than anyone knows.

    Alexicographer April 10, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Gwensarah I suspect you and I basically agree on this. But it’s interesting to me that you told your 4 year old that if he had one MORE meltdown (emphasis added) that he was out of Disneyland. How many had he had to that point? I don’t (really) mean to be flip, but as a parent to a 3-year old, it can be hard to tell which “meltdowns” are really too much (actually in my world once he hits the first “meltdown” it’s probably too much — though see below) and which ones require a hug and a “stop crying or we’ll have to leave, the noise is irritating people,” and how much time is (or isn’t) OK between the first and the second, if he does stop when I tell him to.

    And that said, if I need to be in the grocery store or, say, picking up the antibiotic for my sick toddler at the drugstore and he’s having a meltdown? Sorry folks, but if I really need groceries — and we do really need the antibiotics, and he’s crying because he hurts — well, sorry, but I’m just going to do the best I can to get out and home quickly, but we’re not leaving until I get what I need.

    Gwensarah April 11, 2010 at 11:09 am

    It was the second of three, he was just in a mood that day. It wasn’t a matter of being overtired or sick, he was having one of those days of pure punkassery. I took him home not so much because I cared about noise or even a scene, it’s Disneyland I doubt anyone would notice or care, but because he was making it miserable for the other kids who were with us. He was just determined to be in a bad mood and since we had passes at the time, going to Disneyland was pretty much like going to the park only with rides :) My friends and their kids stayed and enjoyed the rest of their day and my son got an early bedtime and woke up his normal easy going self the next day.
    If he was overstimulated or sick and I was somewhere with him and he couldn’t handle it, I fully agree with you, he needs a hug and acknowledgement of what he is experiencing.
    Of course he had a lovey that went with him everywhere so that helped when he got overtires or there was too much for him to take in.
    Funnily enough, he’s now 11 and every so often gets in those same little moods. Seeing it now reminds me of myself when I need some space, if its the weekend I basically give him a pass from any planned activities and let him hole up in his room with his books or his DS, he always emerges better for it. I wonder if even as a toddler he simply needed alone time (from other kids or group activities) every so often and I didn’t recognize it.

    Alexicographer April 11, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Gwensarah, thanks for replying. Your response I think touches on a lot of the issues relevant here … you had a particular kid, in a particular location, under particular circumstances, and you made a decision (judgment call?) about what the appropriate way to deal with his behavior was at a certain point in time (not during or even after the first meltdown, but the second). And, today, many years later, you wonder if there were things about your toddler’s experience (need for alone time) that you didn’t fully recognize/incorporate into your thinking.

    In short, it’s complicated. Indeed, I’d add to this thought the point that many of us come to parenthood after relatively little exposure to babies/toddlers, at least, I have. Now I’m not an idiot and I do believe I’m a good mother (bearing in mind that bad is the new good), and I do care that my child behave in public. All that said, it’s not always obvious to me when he needs a hug and when a good talking to and when both. And to the extent that we as a society don’t welcome children, including young children, into public spaces, well, we make it that much more difficult for parents to learn what we need to know (whether as parents or prior to becoming parents).

    accidentalcitygirl April 10, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Babies are babies, they cry. Toddlers have melt downs. Kids can be disrespectful to others and their property. Adults can be just as bad.

    I have worked in the dreaded mall. I love kids. MOST children are not a problem in a retail setting. If they have a melt down, mom or dad takes them outside to calm down. If they make a mess, mom or dad apologizes and picks it up, at least helps. These kids and parents are not the ones that most retail places cringe at the sight of.

    I have seen toddlers shake their sippy cups full of sugary drink in a sticky trail of yuck through an entire store. I’ve seen kids and toddlers rip apart displays, try to climb mannequins, tip over glass tables of merchandise, run OUT of the store with merchandise while the mother/caregiver is not only unaware, but when they are gently asked to stop such behavior, I have personally been cussed out and physically threatened for daring to suggest that their preshus baby boy shouldn’t be throwing hangers at me and other shoppers. I have seen mothers and grandmothers use their own children and those children’s strollers to steal slutty clothes to wear to the club on friday night. I have seen a child encouraged and coached to steal and create havoc at a very young age to allow others to steal. IT SUCKS ASS TO BE A RETAIL EMPLOYEE. Once again, I love children, I have soothed a cranky toddler in the fitting room and played peekaboo to give mom enough time to pick out an outfit for date night. It’s the other moms that make it hard for those of you that just want to go to the grocery store for dinner fixings. To run errands without getting the evil eye from the snotty salesgirl. I get that. But, you need to see the other side. No, they don’t know your child, but you don’t know about the hell other children have put them through for their minimum wage. A screaming baby is nothing compared to a fire alarm set off by a four year old so that mom could get out with her loot. Yes. That happens.
    .-= accidentalcitygirl´s last blog ..The Closet Problem =-.

    Jessica Gottlieb April 10, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Oh man, my kids are 8 and 11.

    I’m going to have to teach them to pull the little red thing.

    No one will every recognize me.
    .-= Jessica Gottlieb´s last blog ..Do You Take Your Son To The Bathroom With You? =-.

    jeanine April 10, 2010 at 3:15 am

    I was recently at a restaurant with my family and noticed the table next to ours was seated with a family with 2 young children (one was an infant) and I admit my first thought was “Great at some point infant or child or both are going to start screaming or causing a scene” But they were actually well behaved, wouldn’t have known they were there.

    I was impressed and it goes to show me that the problem is not kids being in public but that a lot of times kids in public are not monitored by their parents which IS the behavior which is problematic.

    When Parents teach their children how to behave in public the problem is eliminated.

    On the other had there are certain places where children clearly do not belong.

    lanned April 10, 2010 at 3:55 am

    Well most people try to control their children. But if you have a child with issues are you suppoosed to never go shopping? Children are gifts.
    .-= lanned´s last blog ..Men are easy and I may possibly be evil =-.

    Sabreena April 10, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Intolerance is everywhere. It seems somewhere along the timeline of history most people became completely self involved and go out feeling others should accomodate them. I take my kids out all of the time and will not stop because of these selfish few. The last thing I need is two unsocialized lunatics released into the world (I don’t think kid haters would like that situation either). I am very responsible for them when they are out and try not to allow them to disturb others but at times it’s inevitable. They’re kids. It seems if we all just aggreed to disagree and went about our own business the world would be a better and more friendly place for kids/elderly/diabled/or whatever type of human other humans have decided is beneath them to deal with in the public sector. I hate intolerance of all kinds.
    .-= Sabreena´s last blog ..Porn Stars Make Bad Mistresses =-.

    Supa Dupa Fresh April 10, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    I think most of you are being disingenuous.

    If someone complains about your kid — don’t act as if they’re judging your kid. They’re calling YOU out. Listen a little. Sheesh.

    I was often out with a poorly behaved toddler, and I think it was clear to people that I couldn’t handle her but I was trying. If I was out at 4 p.m buying carryout… probably needed it. “The public” (such as it is) responded to me with a fair amount of empathy.

    I think people are sometimes pretty good judges of when there’s a parent acting like a jerk. Toddler in a bead store? Jerk. NOT THE KID OKAY?

    And the people who work in the store are permitted to be jerks, too. It’s not required that everyone like kids. That’s not the same as making it illegal to bring them out in public. (They’re not like minorities or fat people. They’re part of YOU, the parent).

    Retail workers who’ve never been parents aren’t required to like kids any more than your kids are required to ACT like adults. But you (not you, Catherine, parents in general) are now responsible for yourself AND your kids. So listen when someone calls you on YOUR bad behavior. That’s why it’s called public space. We have to share it.

    Worst case scenario? They’re incivil and have unreasonable expectations? You can tell them so. Nicely, or, as is your right, not.
    .-= Supa Dupa Fresh´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday: Classroom =-.

    Shannon April 10, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Amen and right on! And on a different but somewhat related note, my husband took the kids to the grocery store a while ago and was outraged at all the candy and crap put right where they could reach it and then torture their parents into buying it for them. He called the manager over to the check out line. “You see this,” he said, indicating the candy bins, “How dare you do this to parents? Set them up to have to either feel humiliated leaving the store with screaming kids or trapped into buying something unhealthy they don’t want their kids to have.” He turned to the kids, “Kids, touch whatever you want while we’re here. You just can’t take it out with you. If they didn’t want you to play with it, then they wouldn’t put it right there for you like that.” He told the manager, “When you get tired of paying your employees to put everything back, you might want to rethink the free advertising you’re giving to the candy companies.” I love it! And I’ve adopted it. The kids are now perfect angels while we’re in the store and when I’m loading the groceries onto the conveyor. “It’s empowering, isn’t it?” my husband asks when I come home. And it is.

    Alexicographer April 10, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Shannon, would you mind if I tongue-kissed your husband? Just once?

    My mom did this too; she got the local grocery store to set up one check-out aisle with no candy. Imagine that.

    Her Bad Mother April 11, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    That is just so awesome I don’t know what to say.

    Trish April 13, 2010 at 11:58 am

    How about just saying to your children “Kids, we are not buying candy today…you may look, but we are not getting a treat today.” Done. My kids are now 7 & 9 years old, but when they were little, before we went into the grocery store, I reminded them that we would not be buying treats that day. I gave them several reminders as we made our way through the store. I would never encourage my children to dismantle a store display; what on earth does that teach them?

    I find it a tad ironic that the whole discussion has been about taking children out to learn how to behave in public and yet, by demanding that candy be removed from view, we’re eliminating an excellent learning opportunity. You will not always get what you want when you want it; that’s just how life works out. Start out small when they’re small.

    Stephenie April 10, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Amen!
    I have a child with Sensory Processing Disorder. This means that places like stores overwhelm him because he literally senses the world in a different way than most people. Sounds are louder to him. Touch is harder. Lights are brighter, etc. A loud noise may make him scream or cry. People in his face may make him meltdown. In short, he may be annoying to other shoppers, but you know what? I still have to buy stuff and he needs to experience the world. I can’t keep him in a cage because he has a neurological disability that people find obnoxious. I get so sick of people acting like it’s so hard on them for my kid to be screaming while we’re checking out. Guess what? It’s harder on me than you and it’s a heck of a lot harder on him than anyone else in the store. He’s not a bad kid and I’m not a bad parent. It’s part of life for us.
    Judgmental people seldom know half the story that they’re seeing. They should step off their high horses and let people live their lives.

    Her Bad Mother April 11, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    As I said in another comment — we would be horrified if people in public spaces acted appalled at kids in wheelchairs; we should be equally horrified when people act appalled at kids with behavioural or developmental or neurological or any other less visible issues. They deserve the same respect and tolerance as anyone else.

    Alexicographer April 10, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Thanks for writing about this, Catherine.

    Those looking for an earnest and thought-provoking read on this topic might enjoy Rupert Isaacson’s book Horse Boy about his autistic son. To be honest I expected the book to be downright irritating, but the dad’s love for his son comes through so clearly that in fact, I quite enjoyed it. And one of the points he makes a number of times is that his son, too, has a right to be in public spaces.

    Her Bad Mother April 11, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Thanks for the recommendation. We would be horrified if people in public spaces acted appalled at kids in wheelchairs; we should be equally horrified when people act appalled at kids with behavioural or developmental or other less visible issues.

    Marcy April 11, 2010 at 10:40 am

    YES! THANK YOU!!! Kids are treated as second-class citizens so much of the time. I hate the assumption that ALL kids are apparently spoiled brats who’ll run a store ragged. Sure, there are some– just as there are always people who are disruptive. But there are also many kids who go into stores every day with their parents and behave fine.

    Kids have a right to be out in public. Yes, parents need to be watchful and the kids should be relatively well controlled. But They DO have that right. They also have the right to some respect and for people to abandon the assumption that just because someone is young they’re going to be a terror to deal with. How many of us would like to have that assumption placed on us everywhere we go?
    .-= Marcy´s last blog ..Easter Pics =-.

    sarah April 11, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Great post!
    .-= sarah´s last blog ..I Got Sunshine… =-.

    Amanda April 11, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    We give ourselves a MacGyver clock and the clock is what it is. It’s why we don’t take the kids when we are going to the restaurant that takes 90 minutes to get a drink (remind me again why we even go there) or why a 15 minute there-back-and-done trip to the dump is perfect for quality time together. I resent the parents that’ve given us a bad rap and the folks who are totally not into babies who up the expectations of failure. Nothing quite like having people watch and wait for something to go wrong.

    There is no winning, just aging out and remembering to be compassionate.
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Intentions =-.

    Rachael April 12, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    I kind of feel like if you want to live in society, you need to deal with… other humans. If you don’t want to be around children, then hang out at over 21 places. But you can’t avoid society if you want to be a participant in it. What if we ALL just tried to have a little more patience with each other? That would be kind of cool.
    .-= Rachael´s last blog ..35 Weeks: UGH =-.

    Kim April 13, 2010 at 10:56 am

    I’m tempted to take this post, cut and paste it to my forehead. I am so tired of people acting as if my toddler is an imposition. Thank you for this!
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..For me =-.

    Run ANC April 13, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    I’m late to the party of course, but all I can say is:

    Hellz to the Yeah!

    If they don’t like my kids, then perhaps they don’t like my money, either? I don’t think that any business these days can afford to turn away paying customers.

    LC April 14, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    I don’t even think you have to change children to “disabled people” for the suck it up argument to apply. Children should be taught to behave and parents should be responsible for that behavior but when you’re out and about in public, you have to deal with *shocker* the public. Kids, teens, hipsters, grumplestiltskins, people who chew gum, urban attention seekers, and yes, even jerks who can’t handle a moment of disturbance.

    A little patience goes a long way. Smiles and empathy go even further.

    Meagan Francis April 15, 2010 at 9:39 am

    I can’t tell you how much I agree with your post, and how frustrated I am by (some of) the dissenters. But you know, I’ve had this same argument on my own blog, on other people’s blogs and all over the Internet for the last decade or so and there is just no bridging the gap, it seems, between people who believe that children are members of society, and those who believe they should be separated out into their own little worlds so that they don’t bother or offend anyone. I look at it as a human rights issue, honestly. And…I think it’s doing a great disservice to kids not to expose them to normal life and help them figure out how to navigate it. We all live in the world. There is not one world for adults and one world for kids.

    selena April 15, 2010 at 11:54 am

    hear, hear. don’t remember how i was originally linked here… but will be stopping by often.
    .-= selena´s last blog ..happy birthday, micah. =-.

    Tobi April 15, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    You are right… your child is supposed to be learning to be a productive member of society–I do agree with that. However, the last time I checked screaming at the top of your lungs, running around, and generally being a publish disturbance while others are trying to shop or enjoy a meal is NOT considered being productive in society. If you want to argue that they need to explore to develop that is fine–it’s completely true. However, loud noises and running should be taken care of at the appropriate place and as a parent it is your responsibility to make sure that happens where it is supposed to–i.e., not a store or restaurant. If you expect me, as someone who WASN’T permitted to act like a wild beast in public as a child (and who developed fine), to respect you and your child when things like this happen then you thinking ludicrously. I should not have to deal with the consequences of your inability to manage your children and/or time.

    Secondly, children are not comparable to the disabled or the obese, et cetera. Children are a phase and are to be parented and you are offensive and crude to make the comparison.

    Meagan Francis April 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Tobi: “However, the last time I checked screaming at the top of your lungs, running around, and generally being a publish disturbance while others are trying to shop or enjoy a meal is NOT considered being productive in society. If you want to argue that they need to explore to develop that is fine–it’s completely true. However, loud noises and running should be taken care of at the appropriate place”

    Is anyone here really arguing against this?

    I don’t allow my children to run or yell or in general be annoying or obnoxious in restaurants or stores. Sure, they occasionally act up, at which point I get them under control immediately or we leave. I’m not sure why you seem to assume none of us have any standards for our kids’ public behavior. In my waitressing days I dealt with mean, racist old people, boorish, sexist middle-aged men, and raucous, drunk young adults. That doesn’t mean I now resent other old, middle-aged, or young people being out in public.
    .-= Meagan Francis´s last blog ..priorities vs. perfection: why parenting values matter =-.

    Jessica April 16, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Am super, super late to this, but had to say as a parent to a child with Asperger’s, WE TRY. We try every day to teach our children the right and the wrongs and to keep control of them in public. And there are those days where they are tired, and we are tired, and we have to go to the store because we have no food! And so we do and there is screaming and whining and it’s awful. I do my best to think about others in the store, their ears and headaches, and get my kids out as soon as possible. Funny how no one ever thinks of us. No one ever lets me ahead of them in a long line when I have two crying kids and a gallon of milk. No one gives me a sympathetic smile or nod. That’s fine, my choice to have kids and they’re my issue. However, I refuse to keep them at home and do my grocery shopping at 9 PM because that’s when it would be better for my fellow grocery store patrons. Ridiculous.

    Amy April 18, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Tobi: “However, the last time I checked screaming at the top of your lungs, running around, and generally being a publish disturbance while others are trying to shop or enjoy a meal is NOT considered being productive in society. If you want to argue that they need to explore to develop that is fine–it’s completely true. However, loud noises and running should be taken care of at the appropriate place”

    Is anyone here really arguing against this?

    I don’t allow my children to run or yell or in general be annoying or obnoxious in restaurants or stores. Sure, they occasionally act up, at which point I get them under control immediately or we leave. I’m not sure why you seem to assume none of us have any standards for our kids’ public behavior. In my waitressing days I dealt with mean, racist old people, boorish, sexist middle-aged men, and raucous, drunk young adults. That doesn’t mean I now resent other old, middle-aged, or young people being out in public.
    .-= Meagan Francis´s last blog ..priorities vs. perfection: why parenting values matter =-.

    Ingames April 19, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Babies ARE peacel too!

    Alan April 25, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Babies ARE peacel too!

    Nick April 25, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    It’s sad you don’t feel welcome in coffee shops in your area.
    My kid has LOVED coffee shops since he was able to drink a babycino and eat a marshmallow. They are my sanity saver, and we always feel welcome.
    Even when he was a baby, we went to the local cafe for breakfast every Saturday, and took turns wheeling the pram down the street if he got a bit cranky. My mother’s groups usually met in cafe’s, if there was room, and we felt welcome there too.

    Eric April 25, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Babies ARE peacel too!

    Ian April 26, 2010 at 5:36 am

    Babies ARE peacel too!

    Patrick April 26, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Babies ARE peacel too!

    Jeff April 26, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Am super, super late to this, but had to say as a parent to a child with Asperger’s, WE TRY. We try every day to teach our children the right and the wrongs and to keep control of them in public. And there are those days where they are tired, and we are tired, and we have to go to the store because we have no food! And so we do and there is screaming and whining and it’s awful. I do my best to think about others in the store, their ears and headaches, and get my kids out as soon as possible. Funny how no one ever thinks of us. No one ever lets me ahead of them in a long line when I have two crying kids and a gallon of milk. No one gives me a sympathetic smile or nod. That’s fine, my choice to have kids and they’re my issue. However, I refuse to keep them at home and do my grocery shopping at 9 PM because that’s when it would be better for my fellow grocery store patrons. Ridiculous.

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