In Her Words
Persona Non Grata
Rubbing elbows with children
By: Janya Veranth
Before I had my son, I was pretty anti-kid. I liked children; I just didn’t want to be anywhere near them. My husband and I always chose bar seating over restaurant seating to avoid hearing any squealing, crying, yelling or other kid-related sounds. We’d ask for another table if the one we were offered was within earshot of any children.
I had no patience for noisy kids where there should otherwise be silence, like movie theaters, libraries and especially airplanes. I’ll admit I was one of the people whose heart sank and eyes narrowed whenever a kid got on my flight. And God forbid that kid should be sitting anywhere near my seat. I even went so far as to say that kids should not travel by air or eat out in public for the first several years of life, if at all. Those were just a few of my hard and fast rules about kids until, of course, I had one of my own.
Now I’m forced to reevaluate my stance on the subject–otherwise, I would be housebound for the next several years. I realize that parents want to resume some normalcy in their lives after having a baby and want to do the things they used to do before they were parents: go to parties, eat out and socialize with their friends. For some, a babysitter is just too expensive, and for others a babysitter just isn’t an option. I want my son to be with my husband and me doing the things we like to do. Plus, he’s still a mostly breastfed baby, and I am not willing or ready to leave him with someone else, no matter how much his grandma begs me to go out for just a few hours without him.
I’ll admit I’ve learned the hard way that some outings must be put on hold. While I refuse to eat at any kid-friendly establishment that has human-sized mice singing and serving cheap pizza, I know that places with dim lighting and a wine menu aren’t a place to bring a baby. Movies are off the docket for several more years until I am ready for a babysitter to come over and raid my fridge, ignore my kid and make-out with her boyfriend.
So to all the people who were on the receiving end of my cross looks and awkward stares while their kid was shouting, crying or piping-up in public, I do formally and sincerely apologize. I commend those of you who tried to shush your kid to no avail and then took him outside for the rest of his fit. For those of you who flew on the same airplane as me, I know you were just trying to get on with your lives, just trying to get from A to B in one piece. Next time I will smile at you sweetly when you’re doing everything you can to keep your kid quiet. And to those of you who still allow me to be a part of your lives, who hang out with me and my baby and don’t expect me to leave him with someone else, I am forever grateful. He’s a part of me, a part of my life, and I’m not quite ready to cut the cord.
Tell us: How have your views of children and parenting changed since you’ve had a child?