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Whither I goest, my baby will go

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The brouhaha of this past week regarding a blogger junket planned by Johnson & Johnson got me thinking about where it’s appropriate to bring a baby, and where it’s not.

Last summer, when I was still pregnant, many of my fellow bloggers brought their babies to the BlogHer conference in Chicago. Some of them used the child care services provided by the conference organizers, but others carried their babies in slings throughout the days (and nights). I wasn’t disturbed by their presence at all, and even held one little guy on my lap while listening to Elizabeth Edwards’ keynote address.

Since Oliver’s birth, I’ve taken him out several times without incident. (Unless you count his bowel movement at Panera that literally echoed off the walls and ceiling.) We even dined with him at Jax Fish House in LoDo on my birthday. He nursed under a cover for most of the meal, then settled into his carseat next to my husband Kyle as I settled into a glass of port. Not a single peep out of him all evening.

And until J&J clarified that their plans for Camp Baby did not in fact include babies, I was planning for his first plane trip, hotel stay, and taxi ride at just over two months old.

But should I have been making those plans? Is it okay to take a relatively portable newborn places that I wouldn’t take a toddler? Or is it my responsibility to my fellow diners, travelers, and conference attendees to find care or else stay at home?

Personally, I think it depends entirely on the child and the circumstances. Some newborns eat and sleep peacefully; others spit up on the tablecloth and cry endlessly. Some toddlers sit still and don’t spill; others climb over the back of the booth or crawl under the table. Some parents recognize when a child ought to be removed from a situation (when that’s possible); others don’t.

Was I nervous about the prospect of taking Oliver across the country? Only because of the associated logistics and the fact that without Kyle present, I’d be fending for myself. I wasn’t concerned about his behavior or my ability to handle it. Frankly, I’d be more concerned about taking my daughter CJ on a plane trip by myself, and she can walk, talk, and use the bathroom.

Where do you willingly take your kids, and where don’t you dare go with them? Better yet, where do you wish OTHER people wouldn’t take their kids?

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  • comment avatar Amber March 26, 2008

    Really, I can’t think of too many places my children have not gone. We regularly go out to eat and they are really great in restaurants because of it.

    I would have to say my one peeve (and the place I would never take a young child) is to the movies. We rarely go anymore but when we do, we purposely pay a babysitter so we can go out and enjoy the movie. And it is my personal opinion that others should do the same!

  • comment avatar Kagey March 26, 2008

    A good friend of mine excluded all “mobile children” from her wedding. It was in her home, as was the reception, and she was rightly concerned about the sterno canisters heating the food being a hazard. Other than nursing infants, the youngest person there was 15, I believe. We came with only our dd (4 months at the time) and our DS had a great weekend with Granny & Papa.
    I respected her choice on this – but she felt awkward when she wrote to me about it. On the whole I liked that we could only bring one kiddo – my son loved the individual attention from his grandparents for the weekend, and it was a lot easier to fly with one (and cheaper, too).
    Usually when I’ve run into a “no kids” situation, young infants are excluded…

  • comment avatar Candace Karr March 27, 2008

    What a drama the whole thing created! Call me crazy but shouldn’t Camp Baby include babies?

  • comment avatar Candace Karr March 27, 2008

    Oh, and I agree it depends on the child and the circumstances! I’m with Amber on no children at the movies, though.

  • comment avatar KarenJ March 27, 2008

    I just think common courtesy is lost in today’s society. I take my baby/children most everywhere. If they start to fuss, I address the situation immediately. It is not everyone else’s problem so why make it theirs!?

  • comment avatar Lizzy March 27, 2008

    I wouldn’t take babies to a movie because I worry about the sound hurting their little ears (which often causes them to cry).

    I do like you and take it case by case. There are times though when I can’t find someone to watch my children and so I opt out or I tell the person inviting me that if they want to see me badly enough the kids will have to come too.

    It also depends on the kid. I could always take my two oldest anywhere all the time. My next two though… I don’t like taking them anywhere. We are just barely ok going to the library for 1/2 an hour with those two.

  • comment avatar Catherine March 27, 2008

    When E was an infant we still dined out at nice restaurants, the kind with cloth napkins. He nursed under cover and then slept in his car-seat. Once he was in a high-chair those restaurants were largely off-limits to him. When his sister came along no way was I taking a 2 yo anywhere that I was willing to take an infant.

    I was much more comfortable taking my wee baby places than I am my 4 1/2 and 2 1/2 kids. I don’t have nearly the control over them I did when they were babies? Crying babies like pacifiers and to be fed. Screaming toddlers like … to scream louder, I guess.

    So, I’m with Julie – just a baby? No sweat. Kids? No way.

  • comment avatar kelly March 27, 2008

    I agree that it depends on the baby and his/her personality. I’ve taken my kids nearly everywhere, and especially as babies when I can ‘wear’ them, nurse them, and keep them close. But as soon as I arrive I always plan an emergency exit route in case anything goes awry.

    I usually think occasions that exclude children are planned by people who don’t have them. Seems silly the J&J would not want babies to be a part of their event!

  • comment avatar Joy Opp March 27, 2008

    This past week we had more complaints about our generator on our camper going at 8:00 p.m. than our 5-year-old giggling at 6:30 a.m.!!

  • comment avatar mayberry March 28, 2008

    I posted about this once because I was so annoyed by an (IMO) arbitrary rule about no kids under 4. I think that in most cases involving public places, parents should be trusted to make their own decisions about whether kids can be included.

  • comment avatar Born2Shop March 30, 2008

    My son went to his first movie (You Got Mail) at four months old. He was so mesmorized by the screen, he did nothing but stare at it in amazement the entire two hours. I on the otherhand have always hated it when people brought their screaming, crying, babies/kids to the movies and here I was…joining the despised!

    Of course after he became a little older(he’s now 9), we gave him the courtesy threat before the movie starts. You know the one where you tell the little darlings that if they make a peep it will be the last movie you ever take them too, yeah, that one. But it worked becasue he even sat through 4 hours of Lord of the Rings (Mr. Wonderful is a big fan) with no chatty comments on “Daddy why is that Hobbit so short?” and “Mommy, where is the horse running to?” and my favorite part, we never had to get up and leave the movie for countless bathroom breaks! In fact, now that I think about it, he is actually BETTER behaived at the movies then at home…Hmmm.

    I still don’t hesitate to turn and give “The Look” to parents who let their little angels talk during movies and kick the backs of your seat (sooo rude!!), but…I make sure when we as parents take our own little angels, that we sit near the end of the isles closest to the exits, in case we need to make a quick exit ourselves and that we treat people at the movies the way we want to be treated too, pre-baby days! 😉

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