Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day #19: Banned

Today's topic is:  "How do you feel about kids being banned from such places as restaurants and airplanes?"

Am I missing something?  Last I checked, both those locales were fully stocked with children.  I suppose I'm to assume they're speaking hypothetically.  Well, okay.  I'll play.

I am not a banner.  There's something very oligarchical about the idea.  (Well, I take that back.  I am totally for San Francisco's decision to ban plastic bags, and I hope the ban spreads like wildfire.)  Anyway, I'm not for banning people from anywhere.

Also, my feelings about this have definitely changed.  I used to veer the host sharply away when I saw them leading us towards a table near children--"Oh no." I'd say.  "I want a quiet table."  And I sighed noisily when I saw families approaching me on a plane.

But now, I have been those people.  And it's hard to go back to innocence once you've bitten the apple.    I have been the people whose toddler is screeching bloody murder over something really important and eminently solvable like the buffet has the wrong flavor Jell-O, and who is spreading a tapestry of food around the perimeter, marking our territory.  I've been the people on the plane whose baby missed her nap during a three-hour layover in St. Louis and is now going to sob inconsolably for most of this leg simply because she's too tired to fall asleep.

Once you've been those people, your compassion mushrooms and flowers and spores all over the place.  It grows like the Grinch's heart, and busts the boundaries of whatever was there before.

On the other hand?  I still don't like it.  If David and I are on a date night and have sprung for a babysitter, I will still steer the host away from tables with food-flinging toddlers, because I'm paying for it and I (usually) can.  I still don't love listening to screaming babies on planes (I mean, who does?) though I can't stop myself from giving rueful, sympathetic smiles to the parents.  Ironically, now that Jarrah is a good (and quiet) flyer, she is over babies on planes herself.  A baby was screaming and kicking her seat on a short flight about a year ago, and she stage whispered "I didn't know it was possible for a baby to scream that loud.  Why won't it stop?"

Excellent question, young grasshopper.  One you'll be trying to answer all your life.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Hear, hear. Well put, the both of you!