Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Is There a War on Babies in Public?

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Baby In Restaurant 25332

Remember that old saying, "Children should be seen, not heard?" It looks like it may be coming back to that era. You may remember the brouhaha that happened after a couple brought a baby to swank eatery Alinea in Chicago a few months back, and couldn't get her to stop crying—and the owner talked about banning babies altogether. Well, a similar issue erupted at Graze, an Iowa City restaurant, over the weekend, where an altercation occurred between a family and the staff, this time allegedly over a laughing 10-month-old baby. And of course, there have been countless instances of nastiness over crying babies on airplanes, and women who've been humiliated and banned from breastfeeding in public.

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That's led to people clamoring to put a moratorium on wee ones at restaurants or creating kid free parts of airplanes. And while I can understand the reasoning behind their desires to kick kids to the curb—I've been subjected to some pretty horrendously behaved kids at plays, restaurants and on long flights—the real issue is common courtesy and decency, from both sides of the aisle (and from people of all ages). If your baby's quiet, you should be welcome just about anywhere, without the dirty looks and comments (yeah, I've gotten those). If it's a baby who's simply laughing, I can't quite understand how that offended someone. But if you do bring your baby on the road, you have to be prepared that if she starts crying in the middle of the appetizer, it's time for you or your partner to head out until the baby calms down—or until you can muster a doggy bag and the check. And when your child is old enough to understand direction, you also have to help guide them in appropriate behavior for an occasion—or again, take them outside. (I wish the mom who sat behind us with her three-year-olds recently at a Broadway show had done that, rather than let her child kick seats and scream in my ear through most of the performance.)

That way, maybe we can head off a little bit of this anger—so maybe we can avoid having our babies banned from places we want to take them.

What do you think? Share your stories about being subjected to bad baby behavior—or unkind adults!

Image: Elena Stepanova/Shutterstock.com

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