Category Archives: Traveling with Kids

Family Weekend Whirlwind Trip to NYC: Our #OneTankAdventure

When you live in DC, you are often faced with this question: Is a whirlwind #OneTankAdventure weekend trip to NYC with two young kids a good idea?

Is it better to travel from DC to NYC with the kids in the winter or the summer?

Can a 5-year-old stay up for a 7pm performance of the Rockettes?

Do we dare tackle I-95 and the New Jersey Turnpike (barring any Governor Cristie revenge bridge closings) on a busy holiday weekend in December? Or should we cough up the extra money for train or plane tickets?

Note where the youngest WM'ette is perched...on a blustery night in Rockefeller Center

Note where the youngest WM’ette is perched…on a blustery night in Rockefeller Center

And in the end, the ultimate parental-evaluating-a-trip-question must be faced head on: Will we bleed money and end up carrying the kids more than anything? (spoiler alert: every parent knows the answer to this one).

I decided December 2013 was the time to find out the answers to these deep questions. As anyone knows who lives in relative close proximity to NYC, deciding to head there for a weekend trip with the young kids is not a simple question. There are so many things to contend with: traffic, crowds, weather, astronomical prices (starting with how best to get there; plane, train or automobile). But there are also just as many good reasons to take the kids to NYC for the weekend: amazing museums, beautiful architecture, unforgettable theater experiences, entire stores dedicated to candy….to name a few.

So how to get there, where to stay and what to do? My sister lives in Brooklyn and in previous years, just me and the eldest WM’ette would travel up to NYC for a whirlwind weekend holiday jaunt. We’d crash on their sofa and tool around town, it was fun and easy and relatively affordable. Then things got more complicated. My sister now has a toddler of her own and my youngest is now old enough that there’s no way you can take off for a weekend and hit toy and candy stores, see decorations and possibly even a play – and her not find out about it. Suddenly our tradition of quick and affordable holiday weekend for two became a family of four and we needed a hotel room.

Final_OneTankAdventureLast fall as we were considering planning the weekend, I was contacted by a representative from Ford Motor Company offering me a Ford Escape for a weekend. They asked if we had any trips coming up and would we want to give it a whirl? It seemed like the perfect time to try out a new car – a trip up 95 North in the Ford Escape – and we locked it in.

Next question we faced – where to stay and should we spring for tickets to the Rockettes? I knew that at ages 5 and 8, our girls were the perfect age to invest the $500 (yes, you got that right, $500 for 4 seats in the nose bleed section) in taking them to Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes.

Final question – where to stay?

We reasoned that if we were going for one night, we should get the 7pm tickets to the Rockettes in order to maximize our time around the city, and we should spring for a hotel close to Rockefeller Center & Radio City Music Hall because by the end of the night, the kids would just be DONE.  We ended up booking a room at the Omni Berkshire, a few blocks from Rockefeller Center.

photo(155)Ford delivered the beautiful blue Ford Escape the day before we departed, back in mid-December, and the next morning we heard rumblings of snow. Being a DC’er, I chalked it up to maybe a few inches but probably nothing. Being a chronic over-packer, even for a 24 hour jaunt, Mr. WM noted just how much storage space we had in the Escape. We loaded the kids and bags into the bag, set up our portable DVD players and set off towards I-95 North. With Mr. WM behind the wheel, he noted the comfort and leg space he had. In particular, he doesn’t like it when his legs hit up against the middle console, a common complaint he has in smaller cars, and he complimented the interior comfort of the vehicle and the space he had for his long-ish legs. I enjoyed the back-up camera, the satellite radio and of course, the blind spot detection on the side mirrors – loved that feature.

I quickly began to wonder if, in fact, this incredibly fuel-efficient small SUV would result in a #OneTankAdventure for us because we were averaging a whopping 26.2 MPG. Obviously highway travel is more fuel efficient than stop-and-go city traffic – but considering we were headed to NYC – we were bound to hit stop-and-go city traffic. Either way, this car was averaging more efficient mileage than my small Mazda3.

Upon arriving in Midtown, we quickly realized that the snow was coming down at a good rate and it was more than a fluke and poorly predicted DC-style snow storm. The valet had whisked away the trusty Escape and we headed out front to grab a cab to the Upper West Side to meet my sister at the American Museum of Natural History.

NaturalHistoryEnter the first big question to be more strategically evaluated when planning a trip to NYC. If the weather is turning bad, should you leave the neighborhood where you are staying? Was traveling so far from Midtown a good decision given the snow? Would getting back be worth the effort?

We didn’t worry about those things as we spent a few hours enjoying the museum, especially the dinosaurs and any exhibits featuring human bones, of particular interest to my 5-year-old.  It was when we left the museum and realized we had three really tired kids, along with fierce winds and a few inches on the ground that we knew maybe we should have stuck closer to 5th Avenue.

What ensued was a long, cold and really magical walk through Central Park. Back to the original question – do you end up carrying kids more often than not?  I offer you exhibit A:

 

One of these things is just like the other.....

One of these things is just like the other…..

Now onto the next question, is a 7pm show a good idea?

Hmm. I still stand by the fact that on a normal night, our youngest goes to bed around 8:30pm-ish – so a 7pm show wasn’t outrageous. But see, factor in whipping cold wind, driving snow, a long magical stroll through Central Park and insane Christmas crowds – and well – a little one doesn’t have much energy left.

Did she stay awake for the duration of the show?

No way.

Did we tell her she did?

Yes.

Did my oldest blab and note she slept through more than half and missed tons of great things?

Oh totally. But she shushed that dream killer and told our little one she barely missed anything. She bought it.

#Lies

#ParentFail

#PoorPlanning

Getting ready to take the Escape over a bridge before heading back to DC

Getting ready to take the Escape over a bridge before heading back to DC (note – you don’t see any snow, do you?)

The next day, much to our total shock, all the snow was gone. Unlike DC where upwards of 6 inches would have shut us down for at least an entire day, all the snow was completely removed from the streets and sidewalks of midtown. It felt like we had a snow-filled dream and perhaps it never really happened?

We honestly had never seen anything like it.The Omni valet delivered the Escape back to us at the hotel and after a lovely morning stroll around Midtown, we headed to Brooklyn, still with about one-quarter of a tank of gas left, enjoyed lunch with baby Jack and his parents before heading back down the turnpike and 95 in our sweet, fuel-efficient ride.

Overall – we had a really great weekend.

Did it feel like we were bleeding cash?

Yes, of course, it’s NYC.

Did Mr. WM end up carrying the youngest on his shoulders pretty much the entire time?

Of course but you all knew that would happen.

Should I have purchased tickets to the 4:30 showing of the Rockettes? Yes, probably but that would have really cut into our day – so them’s the breaks.

Was springing for a hotel so close to Rockefeller Center worth the extra expense?

Absolutely. In the blinding wind and snow at 9:30pm, after a long day of touring around town, this time I was the one carrying the sleeping 5-year-old and you better believe the room was worth its weight in gold at that point.

Did we make it to NYC and back to DC on one tank?

#OneTankAdventure

No. We were driving an entry-sized SUV, loaded with baggage and 4 of us…but we still averaged a whopping 26.2 MPG, filled up one time on the Jersey turnpike, crossed all bridges and tunnels without any unexpected traffic drama, and enjoyed the comfort of our loaner ride.

Will we do it again? Oh absolutely. Right now I’ve got my eyes on a May trip to NYC to see Matilda and celebrate a certain someone’s second birthday…….

Cousins strolling Park Slope

Cousins strolling Park Slope

Disclosure: Ford Motor Company loaned the Ford Escape to me for the weekend but my opinions here are all my own. 

Walt Disney World Tips: The WM Experience

2012-Spring 2013 2098How do you even begin a post about a trip to Walt Disney World?
I have been belaboring this dilemma for about a week now.

#FirstWorldProblem

It is overwhelming – and I mean that in a good way. Look, the truth is – I don’t particularly like other people’s crying children, I don’t particularly like crowds, I really don’t like humidity and I rarely have the patience for long lines.

#Scrooge

Initially, it didn’t seem like I was the sort of person who would fall in love with Walt Disney World.  As many of you know, despite these facts, we were initially planning a trip in November but then I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Conference and well – obviously you don’t turn down such an amazing opportunity.

On Thursday May 9, we sprung it on the girls. Disclosure – they knew we were going to Disney World but we’d kept the specifics on when in May, deliberately vague, and my older one had arbitrarily decided we were going on Monday May 20, so I went with that. We tossed it on them about an hour before departure for the airport time and well, I’m thinking the Disney PR team isn’t going to pick up their reactions for a TV ad:

I still found their reaction to be highly amusing, however, right? I mean, the library? Really? #Nerds.

But – here’s the thing – before I knew it, we were roaming Magic Kingdom and these words fell from my four-year-old’s mouth:  “This is the most fun I ever did have.”

And she was right. I fell in love with Disney, despite the odds, and it was the most fun we ever did have. With that, I give you my top tips on optimizing your Disney experience – in no particular order, mind you. I’m thinking I might do a separate post on shoes & necessary accessories.

1 - “The Parade made me late.” Seriously. It did. There’s one place in the world where you can use this excuse and actually not be lying, when you show up 20 minutes late to your dinner reservation…and that is Disney World. We were warned of the importance of factoring in “getting there time” but I couldn’t fully appreciate it until we were experiencing it first hand – getting where you need to go takes at least 30-45 minutes – so when you are heading out the door – be sure to factor in time for getting through lines, bag check, getting there (monorail, switching monorails, waiting for boats)….navigating through crowds….or the parade blockade. Expect the unexpected and pad your time accordingly.

2012-Spring 2013 21692- Character Meals – yay or nay? Totally YES! Frankly – these were a real highlight of our trip and I wish we’d done more of them. For many of the character meals, you really should make your reservation 180 days in advance to score your seats at your preferred time – but in our case, we had less than a 60 day notice we were going. I was able to book a table at Tusker House Restaurant for Donald’s Safari Breakfast in the Animal Kingdom and our hotel concierge reserved a table for us at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian hotel for our last night. Cinderella and characters were the hosts of that particular meal and we really loved the boat ride from the Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian (where we were totally late for dinner because of the parade….). My seven-year-old discovered a deep love for buffets at these meals and we found the food to be surprisingly good and healthy. The kids also loved the individual time with each of the characters and we appreciated not having to wait in line for those character meet and greets, as you otherwise would at the parks. As you can see here, they also do more than just take pictures and sign autograph books at the character meals. Where else can a gal dance with Cinderella?

3 – Fireworks start LATE. Like 10pm late at the Magic Kingdom on many nights. I hadn’t focused on this until we got there and if you’ve been at it all day with little ones, fighting the crowds and staying up late for Magic Kingdom fireworks is no small feat. I would highly recommend the Illuminations show and fireworks display at Epcot – they start earlier at 9pm – and there is more space to exit the park than Magic Kingdom. Just something to keep in mind. If you are a sucker for fireworks, like I am, then I’d encourage you to watch this riveting video I took of the show – Disney does it right. I should also add that we saw beautiful pink heart shaped fireworks coming from the Magic Kingdom show one night. Did you even know there could be a pink heart shaped firework? #OnlyInDisney

4 - Stay on Disney property. I think one caveat would be if you have your own car. Otherwise, there is a price point for everyone and it is just convenient. And with long days, hot weather and lines in front of you – convenience is your friend.

5 - Vintage Disney Still Lives On. What was fabulous when you were a kid is still fabulous. I hadn’t been to Disney World since the mid 1980s. Same with Mr. WM. And I was thrilled to discover that what I loved as a kid is still just as fabulous and completely unchanged: It’s a Small World,The  Enchanted Tiki Room, Country Bear Jamboree, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain Railroad, The Haunted House. Fabulous. Just as you remembered them to be.

6 - Disney Customer service is unparalleled. We are all so exposed to this world where children are an annoyance. Some people cringe when they see the shortie’s boarding flights. Others don’t want them in restaurants. And then there is Disney World. Where “cast members” can’t possibly be making very much money to stand and manage the line waiting to see Ariel, for example, and yet they act like each child is the most precious gift given to all of us. The attitude towards children was so refreshing. Sure, I know, it’s a children’s amusement park. But again – it is often the perfect storm for bad behavior – combine long lines, hot weather, hours of screaming children and someone who probably makes minimum wage – and yet every person we came across went out of their way to be helpful. What struck me the most was waiting in line at Ariel’s Grotto in the New Fantasyland. If you haven’t been, it’s built like a cave and the sound echoes. As we were nearing the front of the line, a toddler was screaming and the noise was piercing. The woman working the line asked for the crying baby to walk up front. The dad sheepishly strolled forward with his distraught toddler and the “cast member” asked her why she was crying and noted that no one likes the sound echoing through the cave. So what did she do next? She pulled out a stack of stickers and the little girl started smiling. Problem solved. Everyone was happy. That’s the Disney magic right there. Actually, the real Disney magic is how they motivate the 60,000 “cast members” they employ to all share this attitude. And could they sprinkle that across the country? Particularly in airports.

Asleep..on the red carpet...for the entire night.

Asleep..on the red carpet…for the entire night.

7 - If in doubt – always pack the stroller. Do I need to say more? Especially if you have a child under the age of 6 years old. One book I read in prep for our trip noted that everyone walks an average of 5-9 miles a day in Disney World. In fact, they recommend physical conditioning for the trip. When my 4-year-old was tired, that child just fell asleep in the stroller. And yes, she did sleep through the now infamous parade that was fantastic and blocking our ability to get to our dinner reservations. She also slept through an entire Red Carpet dinner party complete with characters one night of the Disney Social Media Moms conference and several other fun outings but hey – she had somewhere to sleep and not slow us down.

8 – Packing for Disney: if they wear it, they will spill on it. If you think you can pack outfits for your kids to wear again, then they must not eat like mine, or you don’t care about popsicle or ketchup stains (which after a few days, I didn’t either). I’d recommend at least one outfit a day for the kids. Picking the right shoes and bags for comfort and style for the adults warrants an entirely separate blog post – so give me a few days.

The inevitable...but you are always in good company.

The inevitable…but you are always in good company.

9 – Misery loves company. I realize now that my attitude was all wrong going into Disney. It’s not that other people’s crying children bother me, it’s that other people’s crying or argumentative children serve as the perfect reminder – just when you think yours is the only one freaking out at Disney World and you are bleeding cash – that they ALL DO IT. Just seeing it happen around you can bring you inner peace and comfort in knowing that you are, in fact, never alone. Disney World is the one place where we can all come together and let it all hang out, so to speak. It’s not our nudist colony, it’s our “here’s how they really are” colony. Namaste.

10 – The magical surprises make the trip. There’s no other way to say it. Realizing that it’s so cliche, it’s just the truth. There are magical, unexpected moments in Disney that make it “The most fun I ever did have” moment. You can’t plan for it, schedule it or purchase it in advance. You just experience it. For us, it was the talking garbage can in Tomorrowland who approached our oldest. Of course there’s a random talking garbage can in Disney World who charms parents, grandparents and kids alike. Why wouldn’t there be? He reminded me of ET.

Or it’s watching the kids’ faces as a random street parade comes tooling down Main Street. In those  moments, they suspend their desire to be practical and grown up, Disney World May 2013 083they stop crushing the dreams of their little sisters, and they believe that those princesses and characters are REAL and they are so happy. And you are happy. It’s what the whole thing is about and I had forgotten that until suddenly, there was a trash can talking to my kids.

11- You can find healthy meals. I heard the news last spring that Disney World was going healthier. I read the articles. But I still didn’t believe it. Guess what – it is true. There were healthy options for adults and kids most places we visited. In particular, I really loved a parsnip spinach salad at a buffet dinner at a character meal. Would you ever have guessed that’s where I’d find that one? Seriously. The girls munched on grapes and apple slices, had apple sauce instead of french fries. I was duly impressed and not fully expecting it.

12 - Magic Hours are not to be missed. If you are staying at a Disney resort, then pay attention to the magic hours and use those to your advantage. For example, we had a 9:15 character breakfast in Animal Kingdom. Despite all the odds, we managed to get up, get out the door and get into the park and onto the Safari by 8:30am to enjoy it before the crowds and lines – all before our scheduled breakfast. It wasn’t easy because it seems every night is a late night at Disney but it was so worth it.

2012-Spring 2013 212913 – I left my heart in Epcot. Epcot was just lovely. I don’t know what else to say. Somehow, by some cruel and evil twist of fate, I never got to France in Epcot. Personally, I could have spent a week just at Epcot. My older one also really loved Epcot. Bottom line – Disney World is about so much more than the Magic Kingdom.

I could keep going and going and going. Seriously. Instead, I will end here. These are my top tips and insights from the trip. I have a few more Disney related posts coming though. One will be dedicated entirely to the inside scoop I learned at the Disney Social Media Moms conference on what’s coming later this year and in the future from Disney and to the parks.  Clearly you come to moi for the scoop. And one post will be dedicated to mom-fashion at Disney World. It is possible. But one must be practical.

In the meantime, be sure to share anything I missed, that you thing is extra special about WDW and as always, hit “Like” on the old Wired Momma Facebook page.  It will be the most fun you ever did have.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Conference. I paid a conference fee to attend and we were given discounts to the parks and meals during the conference. All the opinions here are my own.

 

With young kids, is it a “vacation” or is it a job-relocation?

The Wired Momma family is moving next week….just a few miles down the road…but I still have to pack up my entire house and well, get us organized….so please bear with me these next few weeks and know that I’d rather be blogging than say – packing…..so until I have more time…I am bringing you my post from last year after we returned from our family “vacation” in August. In case you  haven’t taken your “vacation” yet this summer…I bring you this…and ask you a deep question: Is it vacation or is it job re-location? You tell me….

—————————————————————————————————————————————

“Mommeeeee…..Mommmmeeeeeeeeeee….I can’t find lion!” whines the voice in my ear. I am dazed. I am confused. I slowly pry each eye open. They are glued shut.

3:54AM reads the time on the clock.

“Mommeeee…..Mommeeeee…..I can’t find the lion” whines the voice again, this time shaking my shoulders.

My mind is starting to wake up. Is this really vacation? I wonder. Who decided that we should have 3 time zones in this country? And did they ever have children when they decided that would be a good idea? Can I meet with them? I could convince them real fast in my exhausted, enraged, mommy maniacal moment that we’re all good with just one time zone, farmers, that includes you.

In my daughter’s defense, she technically slept 24 minutes later than she normally does, if we were still on the east coast. But we’re in California and 3:54AM as a wake-up time for the day is cruel and unusual punishment.

And then, before I have a chance to intercept the inevitable, her whining for the dumb lion awakens her little 2-year-old sister and then all bets are off.

Our vacation day #2 begins at 3:54AM.

The day before it at least didn’t start until 4AM. Why are we regressing?

I threaten and coax and beg and plead but they will not go back to sleep….and I can’t get coffee anywhere for another 2 miserable hours.

Ahh…..vacation.

Just in case you thought that absurd start to the day was the lowest point of our day, think again, that arguably happened when my husband started projectile vomiting down the hall of our nice hotel because he couldn’t get to the bathroom fast enough.

Ahh….vacation.

One wonders….when children are involved….is there such thing as vacation? Does it skew our expectations and set us up for disappointment and further frustration when we even label it vacation? Is it fair to actually call it vacation? My friend says it’s not vacation, it’s just job re-location.

I can work with that. I went on a 10 day job re-location and shoved a good time down my kid’s throat while we bled money, what did you do this summer? Surely someone somewhere makes a t-shirt and postcard with that slogan.

Exhibit A...one whining, one feeling sick, one just headed in another direction

Is it worth it? The almost 6 hour plane ride solo with 2 kids should have given me some foresight into the rest of my time relocating my job.

As I lounged by the pool while sick husband and incredibly exhausted jet lagged children napped, I did soak in the beauty of the mountains around me and breathed out my anger at time changes, early wake ups, puking husbands (who constantly fail to use hand sanitizer and then wonder why they get sick) and thought of George Castanza.

Remember SERENITY NOW (I insist that you watch that clip)?

Ahh…yes…..SERENITY NOW suddenly became my vacation, oh sorry, job-relocation mantra. In those dark moments when I am threatening to call Santa if they don’t just stand for one second and smile and fake like they are having a good time so I can capture that special moment on camera for the rest of time, SERENITY NOW is what I am thinking…..

In those moments, I would look around, and swear I was trapped behind some sort of looking-glass because it seemed that all around me were sweet young children lapping up the good times with their parents, behaving perfectly, and enjoying their time away from home. While mine were grumpy and whining and wanting to just go back to the hotel and color and pout. Who were these families with such perfectly behaved children? What was I doing wrong?

So next year, as I naively and gleefully start planning next summer’s job re-location, I’ll need to think back on the reality of what traveling with young children really is….and then I guarantee I’ll convince myself that they are each a full year older and they are better suited for travel, and more adaptable, and better prepared for long plane rides and days touring around new cities because how could I not have birthed children who crave adventure and excitement?

Uh huh.

SERENITY NOW.

Kid-Free Restaurants and Planes?

With disgust and horror pasted on their faces, I intently eavesdropped on the conversation between a couple sitting next to us in Lebanese Taverna earlier this spring. These two were aghast over a family sitting behind them who had a baby, I guessed around 10-11 months old. The baby was perfectly well-behaved from my perspective. Beyond being super cute, he wasn’t making a sound and was eating his delicious meal. The trouble is the way babies eat their meals is up for judgment among those who have never had the pleasure of feeding a baby. Obviously this kid was both eating his rice and tossing his rice onto the floor, as any self-respecting baby does. These two near-perfect diners exchanged such comments as “If parents are going to let their  kids eat like that, then they shouldn’t be allowed to bring their children to restaurants.” And “Why doesn’t that mother do something about that kid?”

I couldn’t help but wonder if the flame had gone out in their relationship if the only thing they could talk about was the table manners of this unsuspecting baby. Then again, I was out without children and with my husband and was readily spending my time eaves-dropping on their conversation and shooting them nasty looks, so who was I to judge the state of their relationship? I was better-suited to keep my judgment directed towards their near-perfect existence enabling them to so harshly criticize this poor family. It was everything I had not to lean over and say “I know this will shock you, but you behaved THE SAME WAY when you were a baby.”

The other thing was, this kid was only tossing rice on the floor. When my youngest was that age, she was self-enrolled in the baby food-hurling Olympics and perfected the art of chucking pieces of meat into her dinner companion’s eyes, faces, noses, really anything at her level. We were like clay pigeons in skeet shooting practice for her and she squealed with delight over successfully pegging us with her food. Even I realize that is unacceptable table manners when out in public but there was absolutely nothing I could do about it until she outgrew that delightful phase. But merely tossing rice on the ground? Doesn’t that just come with baby-eating territory? The staff at Lebanese Taverna seemed to barely notice the state of the ground when that family left and cleverly moved another family to that same table – opening the door for this couple to begin judging yet another mother.

And why is it always the mom’s fault?

I must admit, their harsh and ongoing judgment of the families left me incredibly irritated but also wondering – how often have I been judged by others at a restaurant based on how my kids are acting? I work pretty hard at bringing a bag full of supplies to keep the girls entertained throughout the meal, offer rewards for good table manners prior to entering the restaurant (I mock the experts who tell parents not to bribe – have those people ever had kids?) and rarely fully taste my meal or finish a conversation – so it’s not like I’m lounging over a 4-course meal noting the hints of wood and fruit  in my glass of wine while my children are terrorizing other tables.

I might hang this sign all over my own house.

The experience in the spring helped soften my surprise when news broke last week that a restaurant outside Pittsburgh banned children under the age of 6. Even more notable, an online poll on MSNBC accompanying this news indicates that only 3% of survey respondents feel it is patently unfair to ban children from restaurants. Whaaa? 44% of respondents said children should be banned right now and if you are a statistics geek, this is a statistically significant survey because that 44% represents over 42,000 people. Apparently a generous 53% were at least nice enough to respond that it depends on the place.

So are parents of young children, here defined as those 6 and under, universally hated in restaurants beyond inexpensive chains?

To me it’s really about common sense and attentive parenting. Would I bring my children to Citronelle? Of course not – why would I spend an enormous amount of money on a restaurant only to waste it on my kids not eating the food and me not enjoying the experience. Is it respectful to other patrons to bring young children to high-end restaurants?  And does it even make sense? Isn’t that the parent’s call?

I do firmly believe that all parents are responsible for keeping the children quiet and as well-behaved as possible when eating out – but to go so far as to ban them strikes me as unfair and unkind. The trouble is – we’ve all seen other parents out with unruly children running around, shouting, fighting and generally bored while the parents just ignore them – so are those people dragging the rest of us down?

And what about planes? Last summer a survey came out that revealed the majority of respondents believe there should be a family-only section on planes. On some level, I have to wonder if that might offer some relief to the parent whose baby is screaming and there’s nothing that they can do about it – at least they are among company – but again – who’s to say that young children are any worse behaved than obnoxious adults? I’ve seen plenty of them on planes in my time.

One friend suggested we could just start taking this whole concept of banning similar groups to one area a little further. Her thought was – how about we ban all the skinny bitches at the pool to the same section?

Actually, I think if we need to resort to these kinds of boundaries, I’m in favor of how this old guy in North Carolina handles unruly kids – and I can’t say I fully disagree with him – he has a zero tolerance policy for screaming kids. And how does he communicate said policy? With a sign on the front door of his restaurant. OK then – perfect. As a parent, I know the rules. If my kid starts screaming, I leave the restaurant with said child, otherwise have fun and enjoy the meal. I can dig it.

What do you think?