I usually write something around this time of year about all the fun child-friendly stuff to do with your kids in summer. This year, however, I’ve decided to dish about places that are not appropriate spots to take your infant or small child.
Yes, here in Asheville, people seem to think it’s OK to take their babies (and their dogs) wherever they want. Just know that some people (OK, me) might get feisty when your baby, whom you thought was going to sleep for another hour, wakes up and starts screaming during the climax of an R-rated movie.
So here’s my list of places I don’t want to see either your kids or mine:
1. As I said: the movie theater (unless it’s a G-rated movie). Actually, most kids under the age of two can’t focus and sit still for the length of even a G movie. And no matter how quickly you run out with your wailing baby, it’s disruptive and may cause theater goers to miss a key piece of dialogue that they’ve just paid $10 to hear.
2. Fancy restaurants. I don’t eat out often at swanky joints, but when I do, I prefer, as with the movie theater, not to have my dinner interrupted by a crying baby or a food-throwing toddler. At some point, kids can be trained to suffer through fancy dinners, but until they can appreciate fine dining, leave them at home. My cousins and I weren’t allowed to eat at my grandparents’ dinner table on holidays until we were practically in college. We preferred sitting at the kids’ table in the kitchen anyway because we could act up and throw our peas in the trash without getting in trouble.
3. Bathroom stalls. I’m not saying don’t take your kids to the potty in public places, but please control them once they’re there. If one more toddler crawls under a bathroom stall to ask me if I’m peeing or pooping, I’m going to call the etiquette police to arrest the mommy.
4. Work. “Take your kid to work day” really should be called “Let’s all babysit each other’s kids while stressing out about the work we aren’t doing days.” Unless your child is old enough to actually work and/or keep herself occupied for long stretches of time, keep your children’s visits to your place of employment short. There are always times when you have to take a child to work with you — I’ve taught classes with a baby on my back and have dragged kids to meetings — but having everyone’s kids at the office on the same day is a recipe for stomach ulcers.
5. Bars. I write about beer as well as about parenting, so my kids have spent a good bit of time in bars. But let me qualify that to say that it’s usually around suppertime and my kids are sitting at the bar eating with me — after which time, we go home and they go to sleep. If that’s you and your kid, that’s fine (provided you’re also controlling your alcohol intake so you can successfully get the kid home). On the other hand, it’s not appropriate for your kid to be hanging out at the bar acting cute and ordering shots for his adult “friends” at midnight.
6. Adults-only parties. Respect your friends’ desire to have a kid-free event now and again (or you’re not going to be invited back). One recent party invitation I received read: “We love your children, but we want to spend time just with our adult friends on this night.” Even so, someone always brings a baby whom they claim will sleep through the party but eventually wakes up and ends up being passed around while the babe’s parents try to pretend it doesn’t belong to them. If you can’t get a baby sitter, don’t go. Guess what? When you have a baby, you can’t do everything you want to do. It’s called being a responsible adult.
A friend wonders which area businesses actually make the claim not to be kid friendly or specifically say, “No kids allowed.” Pisgah Brewing requests no kids under 12 after 9 p.m., but that’s one of the few businesses I know of that’s so specific. Know of any others? Got more places you don’t want to see my or your kids? Let us know in the comments section at http://www.mountainx.com.