Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The child-free zones Q&A

Just took a proper look at ToI’s child-free zone story in which I was quoted recently and found that it uses only a couple of short quotes (one of which was taken from this old post - a humour column for Metro Now - and included in the piece as if it were a direct quote. I'm glad that they at least said "half in jest"). Just for greater clarity, and to make the point that my views on the subject are slightly less strident than the piece suggests, here’s the questionnaire that was sent to me on email, along with my responses. (Still don’t understand the point of the sixth question, but well...)

1. Do you think we should have childfree zones in India? Why?

Personally speaking I'd appreciate it if it happened, but I don't have a hardline stand on the subject. What I think is more important is that parents be "trained" to keep their kids in check – when they stroll across to the next table at a restaurant, for example – and also try to keep in mind that not everyone loves kids (and that not everyone is under an obligation to love their particular kid!).

Parents should also be willing to bear the costs of their decisions. If a child is creating a non-stop ruckus in a movie hall while a film is on, at least one parent should be prepared to interrupt his/her own enjoyment of the movie to take the child outside until it has calmed down. Rather than staying in the seat indefinitely, hoping the kid will fall asleep eventually. (Thankfully, in an extreme situation like this, there are usually enough people – including some who normally like children – who will voice their irritation.)

2. Which are the places where you would not want to see children?

I'd rather not hear them (or have them picking on the back of my head or dribbling into my hair) in a movie hall. Or have one come across to my table while I'm eating and stare at me continuously (or worse, fiddle with things on the table).

3. How can it be done? Can it work in Indian society?

No idea if it's possible, practically speaking. I imagine it would be especially difficult in our society, where most people can't wrap their heads around the idea that some people might simply find children irritating.

4. What is the age group that you have in mind?

Age group of children who can be irritating? Anywhere up to 6 or 7 years, I guess, generally speaking. But then a well-behaved, well-brought-up child will be tolerable even at a much younger age. And I know of adults who behave far worse in public places, so it's a moot point anyway!

5. Would you be ready to pay more to access such child-free places? If yes, how much more?

No, I wouldn’t. If things get out of hand, I think I can rely on myself to silence the child/its parents with a glare.

6. People who want to stay away from children are generally considered 'less human' by others. Your comment?

How to comment on something like this? If it's true, it makes me less human, but I'm told I meet the biological requirements for the species, so someone has it wrong.

More seriously, how exactly would these people define "less human"? You don't have to be a child-hater to see that it's a fairly silly and self-defeating thing to say. I could just as easily retort (with just as much or as little rationale) that the people who say such things are secretly envious of those who don't have children hanging around their necks! But once you decide to start heaping insults at each other, it'll go on till the end of time. The more pragmatic thing to do is simply accept that people who aren't fond of children do exist and will probably go on existing (unless they are tossed into concentration camps on the grounds that they aren't "human"). And that children (being at an age where they don't yet understand the concepts of intrusion or personal space) should be properly monitored in public places.

The responsibility of keeping kids under control rests with the parents, not with the people who are being inconvenienced by them. That's not such a difficult concept to understand – surely you'd do the proper amount of monitoring/admonishing if you took your child to a shop where there are fragile objects lying about. (If something broke, you wouldn't expect the shopkeeper to say, "It's alright ma'am, don't worry about it, if I expected you to pay for it that would make me less human.")

7. Is it only the children of strangers who bother you? Or do you just find all of them annoying? Do you like children of your relatives/ friends/neighbours?

Offhand I can't remember particularly liking any human child (I do love kittens and, to a lesser extent, pups). But that doesn't necessarily mean that I find all children annoying or that they all “bother” me. I'm fine with the ones who mostly stay quiet and don't demand my attention.

P.S. the comments on the online version of the ToI story are superb and remind me of some of the comments on this post.


  1. As kids go my brother and I were unusually quiet and well-behaved, in ways that surely only happens to future spawns of the devil (still waiting for those dark magick powers to kick in!). My parents were constantly being quizzed as to their 'secret' and they would just smile and shrug and say something pat.

    What my mother probably wanted to say was, "Stop treating your kids like children, you frustrated morons with aspirations of being gulag administrators!" or something along those lines (she would have said it more eloquently).

    For every time I see some kid in a mall or cinema 'misbehaving' (and trust me, Indian kids are pretty tame voices among the multicultural tumult I see in Dubai), it's usually because their parent is studiously trying to ignore them or treat them like crap.

    Child-free zones? Parent-free zones, please.

  2. Hi,

    I hugely enjoy your blog and your wit. Though I love kids myself, I think that's a good point about parents needing to monitor their children in public- so that they are not stepping on toes - literally.
    However, trying to speak from the child's viewpoint, I would say that there's many a child who is subjected to inane behaviour by sundry/random adults for example smiling at a child for no reason, engaging in baby talk in an irritating voice, etc. Maybe the behaviour that you describe is just the childrens' way of getting back at adulthood collectively!

  3. there's many a child who is subjected to inane behaviour by sundry/random adults for example smiling at a child for no reason, engaging in baby talk in an irritating voice, etc.

    Sohini: that's an interesting point. I'm always confounded by how adults of my own age manage to do those things with young children - I can understand someone who likes babies wanting to cuddle them or pet them or whatever (I do that with animal babies) but I just can't work out the patronising, cho-chweet talk directed at young children (in a tone that firmly says: "you're the Kid in this room and I'm the Grown-up and let's not forget that, okay"). If I'm placed in a situation where I have to say hello to or talk with a child, I treat him as I would a grown-up - quick smile and "hello, how are you", maybe a handshake and then fingers crossed that no further conversation is required!

    Have written about some of this stuff earlier, in this post.

  4. Just read the comments, and remember some from your earlier post. They are hilarious, and yet a little sad too. I feel the reason both parties in this debate tend to get so strident is there's such a huge gap between being parents and non-parents that any kind of understanding between them is impossible. I've seen the same person's views doing a complete turnaround with a change in status.

    The nons will never get the peculiar trials (likewise the thrills) of being parents. It's not one of those circumstances you can empathise with even at second hand -- say being gay or being diagnosed with a serious illness.

    I remember this incident in Bangalore about a year ago where a child slipped from a mall railing and died. The comment from a child-free friend was 'the parents must have been completely careless', whereas I know how easy it is to get distracted for one minute and have your child hurt itself or do something completely audacious. But I didn't expect her to understand that. You can't till you've managed a child for at least 24 hours in a row.

  5. Shrabonti: You're probably right, but even so at least some of those comments are downright trollish and quite possibly written by people who don't have firsthand experience of parenthood themselves. And conversely I know many parents who manage not to react viscerally to people who don't like kids.

  6. Mrs. Krishna Desiraju, Hyderabad, says:
    "What else can happen in a society where women marry and breed, not because they want to be wives and mothers, but just for social acceptance and credibility? They neglect their children in putting their own needs first.Children dont want to eat out, its their lazy mothers, who wont cook at home.The young Indian woman is the foremost pestilence"

    One very pissed off Mother In Law eh?

  7. i guess people in india are turning away from the family values they are famous for .. as a mother i only feel pity for you coz you can never feel the joy of giving birth and seeing a part of you growing up ... anyway i am visiting india in the winter and will take my kid everywhere so child haters suck it up :)

  8. I'm amused to find that other people think like me. I'm glad they do! And I would even pay more for child-free zones!

  9. Don't bring kids under 3 to the movies! Or go only for the Disney kind.
    Why can't some parents be less selfish about this?

  10. hah....the TOI comments ARE good :)
    I notice a lot of em r ppl not actually livin in India :)
    Been a regular reader of ur blog some time n i was wonderin when u wud comment bout that TOI article after u made the front page :) (at least here in blore)

  11. Thank Goodness!I am sooo relieved to have read this article.

    ...I thought I was the only one on this planet who finds most kids irritating, especially if they are spoilt and/or attention seeking.

    ...and whats with all parents wanting them to sing nursery rhymes in my presence?????!!

  12. Akshay,
    I'm not surprised many comments are from people outside India. Indian parents will flout movie ratings and bring kids as young as toddlers to Indian movies in the US. The funny thing is I've never seen them dare do it for an English movie not targeted at kids.

  13. Great post Jabberwock and you made it to Front page of TOI. Bah, you are officially a minor celebrity now :).

    Unruly kids are a transnational phenomenon. Given India's neck breaking emphasis on family values the problem is more pronounced in India. I think the reason we have unruly kids is because their parents are lazy and they do not appreciate the concept of privacy and quality outdoor time. I had once heard somewhere that there is no apt translation for 'Privacy' in Hindi.

  14. someone once said that "there are no problem children only problem parents". we as kids were on a very short leash as far as irritating people was concerned. touching stuff in other peoples drawing rooms was punishable by death (kidding....but close). now-a-days parents feels if their precious snowflake is the most annoying kid in the restaurant they should win an award for being "liberal" parents. its something to be proud of if chintu is out of control
    "kids-free" zones- YES PLEASE

  15. ...you made it to Front page of TOI...

    Daily Poppycock: this wasn't the first time, and it's hardly a big achievement anyway in this media-bloated, "everyone gets their 6 seconds" age. Incidentally, a previous occasion involved misinformation about ads on this blog - very irritating.

    I think the reason we have unruly kids is because their parents are lazy and they do not appreciate the concept of privacy and quality outdoor time.

    Also, if they don't get privacy and quality time themselves, it's perfectly natural for them to want to deny others the same things. Human nature etc.

    Bianca: enjoy your visit!

  16. Satyajit: you touch on an interesting point. I've sometimes wondered if my view that children should be disciplined in public places contradicts my feelings that parents shouldn't be rigid with their progeny in other matters (e.g. imposing religious beliefs on them, determining their career trajectories, discouraging friendships with children of other castes/classes). I usually manage to convince myself that these are separate issues, but it's possible that the sort of parent who effectively disciplines his child is also the sort of parent who might be inflexible and domineering in matters of personal choice.

  17. Jai,

    Thanks for the link to the post on Black Swan Green and the child's eye view.
    I guess many adults can recall instances when, as children, their enthusiasm on particular subjects was translated as smart aleckiness if it meant involved contradicting grown-ups- just like it happened in your conversations about movies/mahabharata with aunts and the like.
    The problem is most adults forget this conveniently when they grow up themselves,and do just the same thing.
    I have a ten year old nephew, whom I have watched grow up closely and whom I get along famously with. There are many times when he makes the gaps in my knowledge or the rust in my memory apparent, and frankly I can't help being impressed rather than embarrassed when that happens.I think that's part of his self expression, but there are times such "self expression" does not go down too well with his parents - who are beginning to think that he has too many opinions on different subjects, including homework!
    At the other end of the spectrum are the kids whose "self expression" really does go too far,and can be a real nuisance for the others around - where again the responibility lies with the parents to monitor their behaviour.
    So therein lies the delicate balance that a responsible parent/parent figure needs to maintain - between stifling a child's creativity and self expression- or having them become absolute brats and running wild!
    I guess that's related to a point you made a liitle while back.
    Having said all of that, I'd say that most imaginative children are also creative enough to find ways of self expression, whether or not that comes with parental support!

  18. Parenthood is a 24/7 job requiring superhuman stamina. I did not realize the meaning of parenthood until I became a father myself last year!

    People who are not parents have every right to feel disdain and irritation towards children and parents alike.

    It is two sides of a wall. You either on this side or on the other. So rant on...

  19. I'm a regular reader, and admirer, of your blog. For the first time, I'm disturbed enough to comment.

    1. Dislike/ disdain/irritation towards children is a personal preference. Perfectly understandable and as human as liking them. It does not, however, justify enforcing child-free zones. If we did, there's no end to the number of something-or-the- other free zones we'd have to create. As a woman, I'd like men-free zones, so I can shop or walk or watch a movie in peace. Is that justified? And let's talk about adult-free zones, shall we?

    2. Parents should be "trained"? Erm, like how? It's the one job for which there is no training and the only way you learn is prolly by destroying one child.

    3. Have you thought about single parents? There is precious little (or very expensive) social support for single parents in India. Do we want them cut off from some public places just coz some people can't stand children?

    I support your right to dislike children. But not the demand for child-free zones. The only justification for child-free zones would be some harm or adverse effects for the chidren themselves.

  20. Yep, I saw this article on front page ToI and the same thought crossed my mind - that you're officially a celebrity now!

    Despite having kids at home, I would agree that Indian parents must monitor their kids and not treat their antics as 'so cute'. I remember travelling a two-hour-long flight from Bombay to Kolkata getting kicked by the toddler behind me throughout the flight! My repeated pleas to the parents fell on deaf ears!

  21. oh it is so uber-cool to dislike children... I mean geez, how can anyone think of being a parent! forget the fact that i myself was an insolent little monster when i was a kid. i am all grown up now and i have an opinion you see! i equate children with pets - now how cool is that, huh? i cannot imagine a baby in between my Kurusawa and Manga indulgence.

    just like i don't get Orkut! you may be "in" when you are into Orkut... but i come in and say what the scrap is orkut? that is beyond "in"... that is obercool (just to be true to the german language - i am a stickler for these you know!)

    so here i am, mr. beyond, something you wish you could be... but can never become! i am Jabberwock!

  22. I expected this post from you after I read the article. I agree with you on every point, especially point #1 and #6.

    I just can't understand how people can let their children misbehave, throw tantrums and be tumultuous in public. I am fine with children crying and yelling till the age when they cannot talk. They don't have many ways of expressing themselves, so taken. But, grown-up kids treating every public place to be a playground is so irritating.

  23. Last Anon: lovely! Your uber-cool comment goes straight into the 2008 end-of-year comments list.

    Smoke Screen: did it at any point strike you while reading the post that I'm not "demanding" the "enforcing" of child-free zones?

    And that "parents should be trained" bit wasn't just a four-word diktat, it was part of a larger sentence which basically said that parents should discourage their kids from harassing people who don't want to be harassed. The "trained" was tongue-in-cheek anyway, that's why I put it in quotation marks.

  24. And guys, please can we stop with the minor-celebrity nonsense, even if it's meant as a joke? This blog and I have both been quoted in many publications in the past (most of them more respectable than the ToI) but that didn't lead me to think of myself as any sort of celebrity.

  25. Jabberwock:

    My bad. Point taken. Let me rephrase: The argument for child-free zones, if it's based on dislike, doesn't wash. All men are not alike. All adults are not alike. All chldren are not alike.

  26. Every time I meet one decent child, along come 3 obnoxious ones. And I blame the parents entirely. Most of these parents belong to the 'oh my baby is soooo funny/cute/adorable' category and it's hilarious how they completely ignore the dirty looks everyone else is giving them.

    But I have to say American kids are amazingly well-behaved. Their parents at least try to teach them manners. They are so much more polite and they mind their own business. Go to a mall/the beach/a restaurant and see the difference between the way the Am parents behave with their kids and the desi parents behave with theirs.

    The difference between the Ams and the desis is so palpable :-/

    I went to this Udipi place recently and this kid kept walking around the restaurant, waving his dirty fingers while his mom sat at her table talking rapid-fire with her family. Kid stopped at my table and I completely ignored him. The mom looks up for one second, and looks at me. I said "I don't want tamarind chutney on my new skirt. Please control your kid".

    I would have totally given her a dry-cleaning bill too. :-p

    The sad part is, a lot of parents ignore these criticisms and merely label others as 'child-haters'. We don't hate children, but we wouldn't have these reactions if you actually paid attention to your kids.

  27. Whether you like kids or not is you personal matter. But, in that case how did you convince your girlfriend to marry you?

  28. This reminds me of a funny/embarrassing incident.

    I was at a friend's house, and her one and a half year old daughter approached me with fruit-juice laden hands. As she tried to do grab my jeans, I squealed and jumped out of her reach. My reaction was very sudden and instinctive, and when I looked up, I noticed my friend staring at me.

    I just laughed nervously since I couldn't tell her that I will only touch her daughter if she cleans her up.

  29. It seems to me that people who say that people who would like child-free zones are some kind of child haters are missing the point. For instance, I have nothing against puppies and kittens, generally speaking. But, when I am in a restaurant, I don't want them underfoot. It's no argument against puppies, kittens or people who actually keep them. It's simply that there are certain places where puppies and kittens, cute as they might be, don't belong.

  30. @ Jai, thanks for the recognition of the uber-cool comment. In return, I shall call myself "Last Anon"... :)

  31. I don't hate kids..some of them are way to cute :)

    What i hate is the fact that when i get onto a 9 hour long flight, there will invariably be 2 kids in exit row who will start bawling even before the flight has taken off...and sometimes after a point, you do feel like flinging the parents out out of the window, and then the kids after them...

    As Pitu rightly mentioned, the problem's usually not with the kids...its the parents who are usually the problem :)

  32. At 11:37 PM IST, Anonymous Anonymous said...
    Whether you like kids or not is you personal matter. But, in that case how did you convince your girlfriend to marry you?

    Since women (unless Anonymous is referring specifically to your wife, of course) will obviously not marry non baby-craving men, I'm forced to imagine what a marriage proposal based entirely upon the proposer's ability/desire to make babies would sound like. It's very pleasing.

  33. Let me rephrase: The argument for child-free zones, if it's based on dislike, doesn't wash.

    Smoke Screen: absolutely. As an animal-lover (and we're in a very small minority, at least in our colony) I'm constantly aware that an argument based on dislike doesn't wash (or shouldn't wash). And like I've said before, despite my personal feelings about intrusive children, I'm certainly not an activist for child-free zones.

    Sambar42: I wouldn't say that children "don't belong" in places like restaurants, but the onus is on the parent to keep them under check.

    Aishwarya: we should totally write a script based on that scenario!

  34. I totally get Sambar 42's point -- damn good reasoning actually.

    But when it comes to Kihba, dude, do tell me HOW one is supposed to stop infants from crying in a cramped, confined space like an airplane seat if they WILL cry? Gag them? Give them a drink and hope they go to sleep? Take them for a walk outside maybe?

  35. Despite being a founding member of Child Haters Inc., I have to say I disagree with the idea that 'disciplining kids in public places' is the answer. At least so far as 'discipline' means scolding / censoring children (obviously hitting them is beyond the pale).

    I think what we really need is not so much good behavior from children but good behavior from parents - which means mainly being sensitive to the fact that other people may be disturbed / annoyed by your child. If I compare my experiences with children in public spaces in the US to my experiences with them in India, it's not as though children in the US are less likely to be noisy or to intrude on your personal space (and it would be hard to argue that US parents are any stricter or less liberal with their brats than Indian parents are) - the difference is that if I'm sitting in a restaurant and junior wanders over to my table, the first thing that (usually) happens in the US is that one of junior's parents comes running up, apologizes for the interruption, picks junior up and takes him / her back to the family, not so much disciplining him / her as trying to distract him / her, turn his / her attention elsewhere. What I've never seen a parent in the US do is sit back and look fondly at junior trying to have a conversation with me, and taking it for granted that I'm going to enjoy playing along. And that, to me, is the critical difference. We don't need stricter / more rigid parents, we need parents who start from the assumption that their child will be annoying to other people unless they are explicitly told otherwise.

    smoke screen: women-only zones already exist - dozens of restaurants and bars have ladies nights and plenty of beauty parlors are women-only. And while I can't say I know of any restaurants / clubs that are women-only all the time, I don't see why I would have a problem with that. If women want to designate private spaces where they can be by themselves why would I want to intrude? Which, incidentally, is what I don't understand about the opposition to child-free zones. If people want to have a quiet meal in a child-free environment why do parents feel this need to inflict their brats on them? It's not as though anyone's suggesting cordoning off half the city against kids. Frankly, I suspect that, like Jabberwock most, of us aren't particularly keen on the idea of child-free zones at all, it just happens to be the only thing that non-parents can do to keep from being annoyed by other people's kids (as opposed to the dozens of things parents could do, but apparently won't, to keep their kids from annoying us).

    Oh, and finally, to the point about their not being social support for single parents in India - why isn't there? If so many people feel so strongly that children are wonderful creatures and never find them annoying, why don't they step up and help single parents? Why don't single parents (or parents more generally) help each other? Given how wildly popular other people's children are with the vast majority of the population (if comment spaces are to be believed) it seems particularly unfair that the small minority of us who find children annoying should be called upon to provide the support that thousands of people like you, should, in theory be simply dying to provide.

  36. if I'm sitting in a restaurant and junior wanders over to my table, the first thing that (usually) happens in the US is that one of junior's parents comes running up, apologizes for the interruption, picks junior up and takes him / her back to the family...

    Falstaff: yes, that's pretty much all I meant by "disciplining".

  37. it's possible that the sort of parent who effectively disciplines his child is also the sort of parent who might be inflexible and domineering in matters of personal choice.
    Not true. at least not in our case. we have a very well behaved child and i am often complimented on how polite he is - i suspect it is partly genetic and partly nurture. we've definitely told him what constitutes rude behaviour when outside - that includes interrupting a talker, whining, opening a host's fridge, talking during movies and suchlike. yet, we won't hassle him when it comes to personl choices - he is free to marry whoever he wises, change his religion, eats what he wants, career of his inclination. the two are not mutually exclusive. polite behaviour is about civilization, society, community - the rest is about individuality. you can have the second while learning to live in a civil manner with fellow humans

    i like some kids - i like mine, i dislike quite a few that have been born to relatives and friends - kids have their personality like adults too - if we dislike some adults for obnoxious behaviour, it wouldn't call for a label of being adult haters, would it?

  38. J'wock: fair enough. Though I would suggest that disciplining is not the appropriate word to use in that case. Particularly since if that's what we mean by 'disciplining' then this makes no sense:

    it's possible that the sort of parent who effectively disciplines his child is also the sort of parent who might be inflexible and domineering in matters of personal choice

    Good etiquette and courtesy to others are hardly the characteristics of people who are inflexible and domineering. Responsible parents in this sense aren't trying to curb their children's behavior or seeing it as anything but natural, they are simply limiting its impact on other people, recognizing their responsibility for doing so. If anything, I would argue that the fact that these people are capable of recognizing and respecting the fact that other people may have different points of view from their own means that they are more likely to be the kind of parents who respect their children's choices even if they don't understand them.

  39. Falsie: you win (as always). Good point that parents who are capable of accepting other people's indifference to children are likely to be more inclusive in other respects too.

  40. Interesting discussion. I find myself agreeing with a lot that shrabonti says.
    Just one thing though. I've been in the US now for close to 3 years & i think this entire debate of indian kids vs 'their' kids is completely baseless. During the story reading sessions or play time at the local library, it's the indian kids who are a lot better behaved than the americans, though not for any lack of trying on their parents' parts i admit. In fact, be it in restaurants or theatres, parents here are that much more conscious about privacy, quiet time, etc, & behave accordingly. maybe it's a simple matter of putting ur best foot forward in a foreign country, but indian's are careful & they do try in a way i dont recall seeing in india.
    Also, this thing that falstaff & others are referring to - these days where do u get kids strolling over for a friendly chat from across neighboring tables or aisles? i thank god that enough no. of parents have changed with time & are more open to having a nanny or trying day care as opposed to our childhood when some kid (cousin/neighbor's) was always hanging around our house because sheila aunty had to rush to dadar to buy fresh fish!

  41. Falstaff: Your words about single parents are extremely callous & completely lacking in merit since i dont think anyone here admitted to "how wildly popular other people's children are with" them. First, nobody in the U.S works close to 13hrs a day the way ppl do back in india; most women have plenty of options to choose from if they desire to pursue a career after childbirth - work from home, work thrice a week, contract flexi hours, etc. Even if i can't afford a nanny, i have the day care to fall back on which is state licensed & where i am assured of a certain quality of well being for my child. None of this is available in india even today. Most day-cares in bombay operate out of a 850 sq ft 2 BHK where there may be as many as 13 kids. In the absence of grandparents looking after the kids( which is really unfair to expect), single/ working moms have a v.fragile support system that enables them to enjoy their career.
    There's no point in asking 'why are things thus?' They just are, just like our roads are shitty & require maintenance before every monsoon season. Having seen both sides of the coin, I think working parents have areally tough time in India.
    p.s. Jai, i know this isnt really pertinent to the point u are making. Sorry for using ur comments space but i do think we need to seriously examine the whole question of that much touted 'social support' that we speak of in india.

  42. Hey Jai,
    I'm a parent and I completely agree with you and am glad you've posted this.

    I work really hard to discipline my kids and ensure that they dont disturb others - so I see no reason why others can't.

    I waited 2 years to watch a movie in the cinema hall and get back a social life because i had no help - get a DVD to watch if you have nowhere to go. Call for takeaway if you cant go out. whatever. but its unfair to disturb others who have paid good money. when i didnt have help, i'd wait till parents visited of house guests and leave the kids with them.

    that said - some places its unavoidable. like airports. there i just wish people would help out of sheer decency. i was pregnant and travelling with a toddler and couldnt run after him - but i had to travel and simple things like lifting luggage off the carousel etc were harder to do because my son kept running away! its just courtesy when you see someone struggling and barely takes a minute. not a big deal if one doesnt help though..

    the third one is when friends ASK me to bring my kids over for what is essentially an adult party because i have no househelp or family and have not been socialising. I dont even accept those because i think its unfair to expect others to stop smoking/stop using cuss words or whatever just because my kid is around.

    and finally - most places where kids are a nuisance - are really not kiddie places anyway. no one would care at a mcdonalds - but they would care at the Taj - which is really not the place for kids to be anyway.

    sorry for the terribly long comment - just wanted to say this is not a parent/ non-parent issue and shouldnt be made one. if both sides were considerate - we'd all be fine.

  43. the mad momma: good to see you here; hope you followed the previous comments as well. Reading your comment, I wish all parents could be as balanced and pragmatic as you are.

    This might also be the time to confess that I myself have aided heavily pregnant ladies in a couple of situations similar to the one you describe! Common courtesy, as you say, and nothing to do with child-like or dislike.

  44. oh but I hang around here a lot Jai. And I mostly agree with you so I have nothing to say but to nod. This one I just wanted to add my two paise only because i hate to see regular people being called child haters. i hate other people's kids being a pain in the butt at a restaurant when i've got away from my own. hell i'd hate my own if i didnt get a break once in a while :)

  45. @Mrs.Desiraju says:
    "Children dont want to eat out, its their lazy mothers, who wont cook at home"

    What about the fathers I ask? Are they not lazy when they are sitting on the couch like zombies instead of helping cook?

  46. Falstaff -- Y'know, if it makes you feel any better, the husband and I do not assume strangers enjoy our kid. One less couple. If that helps at all. :)

    (P.S. Not being sarcy/rude/ironic; just saying. Is all.)