Friday, March 14, 2008

not housewife on the road in the air

I'm heading to Florida. Just for a few days, and oddly enough, largely due to my desire to see Horton Hears a Who with the people who introduced me to the delightful Seuss story.

As often happens, I am heading to warmer weather just as it turns here in New York, as in, I went for a Starbucks run this morning (I try to brew my own most days but I had a serious bout of insomnia last night that meant there was no way that I would be up to greet the Time Warner Cable guy between 10 and 2 without an americano) with no jacket or coat. I didn't wear a coat because I was too zombie-like to think of it, but I didn't need one anyway. I ordered my americano iced to celebrate. Maybe by Easter we can call Winter officially over.

Oh, and Time Warner Cable sucks. I probably didn't need to say that. There are plenty of Consumerist posts on the topic. Or maybe you have Time Warner Cable yourself and have experienced the special joy of dealing with their service team.

Despite all appearances this is not a random catch-all post; rather, I wanted to talk about children. Why? Largely because I am going to Disney World, and despite planning to spend only an hour or two in the theme parks, I anticipate seeing a lot of children. Also, when I return to campus, I anticipate seeing a lot of children because plenty of Manhattan parents treat this campus like a very large playground, despite the fact that the actual students pay a whole lot of money to play here. Now, since I'm not a parent I'm positive plenty of people will snicker and say "just you wait, when you have a kid you will understand that these are not the failings of poor breeding, but unfortunate side effects of having children". Maybe, but I think most of these things could be handled if people stopped coddling small children and their parents in public. Without further blathering, the top three reasons I no longer find children in public adorable:

Parents who do not pay attention to their kids, then blame other people. I live in Manhattan. It's a big, dangerous city with cars, subways and tons of people. I'm pretty sure those baby leashes (which I abhor, not the point) were invented for New York City. At least once a week, some three-year-old stumbles into my legs, jumps in front of me, or otherwise puts his/herself in risk of being injured by me. I was a small child (I'm a small adult too), and I know how terribly annoying it is to have big people run into you all the time, and hit you with their shopping bags. I keep my eyes out for delicate little hands and feet. Still, I regularly receive annoyed looks and comments from parents whose free-roaming children I have accidently bumped. Guess what? I cannot help it if your son saw something shiny on the sidewalk and ran toward me without looking. He's a child, he doesn't know better, but you should have been holding his hand rather than whining about something with your girlfriend. While I understand that you cannot keep your eye on the kiddo for every second or every day, not blaming strangers for your kid's erratic behavior is the minimum required by politeness. It would be exceptional to apologize for the child inhibiting someone else's journey (very annoying when I'm late for class), but I'll settle for not being called "thoughtless", "careless", "heartless" or any other "less" (except maybe "childless") just for walking normally down a busy city street.

Parents who do nothing about interruptive fits. People love to complain about this one so I will keep it short, but it bears mentioning all the same. Kids cry. Adults cry too (some even more than kids). If your kid is crying/screaming/tantrum-ing somewhere where other people are having something you could call an "experience" (shopping experience, movie watching experience, fine dining experience), be kind and bring the kid outside. Yes, we all feel really bad for you because you need to put down your fork and step outside with the six-year-old who just discovered a terror of marinara sauce. All the same, parents lose my sympathy the minute they allow fits to carry on when they are ruining movies or dinners for other people. You chose to bear children.

Parents who are seeming unaware of the effects of sugar on children. There is a reason sugar high is such a common term: too much sugar makes normally reasonable people bonkers. Theme parks are notorious sugar centers, with cotton candy, ice cream, popsicles and cookies available at every turn. Every kid deserves treats and all kinds of fun, but loading your kid up on sugar without controlling for the effects is really not acceptable. This is probably more important if the non-parent will be spending time in close quarters with the sugar high child (at a gathering for instance). It is completely uncool to feed your kid chocolate, lollipops, soda or even large bowls of pasta and then unleash them on an unsuspecting victim friend or relative. Figure out how sensitive your kid is to sugar and determine at what point it is no longer really fair to leave your kid to the supervision of others. I imagine some nannies/babysitters/day care workers and owners feel strongly about this as well.

I'll be blogging all week: rolls, cookies, massages and something about fruit. Oh, and if you haven't yet don't forget to vote in the poll, especially if you live near me, because there is a strong chance I will foist the results off on you to avoid eating them myself share the bounty of my baking chops with you.

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