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A first time mum at 39, trying not to let my son kill me off too soon. Busy juggling a new family, a new house and a tricky recording schedule I figured blogging would be less expensive than therapy and less embarrassing than shouting at rude and stupid people in the street/on trains/at the supermarket.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

WTF?????

I happened upon an article in 'Mother & Baby' today and followed the link.    In a nutshell, it was a blog about a letter that had been pushed under a hotel door complaining about the occupants' crying baby.  The neighbours to aforementioned crying baby decided to wait 2 days before taking action.  

What action did they take?

They could have knocked on the door of their neighbour on the pretence of checking everything was okay, thus alerting the parents to the thinness of the hotel walls.

They could have called reception to ask them to do something - taking the pressure and awkwardness away from them.

They could have had a quiet word with the parents the following morning.

Or, if all else failed, they could have spoken with the hotel to see how long the baby was staying and then to request a change of room. 

They did none of those things.  They waited til they were leaving and pushed an anonymous note under the door telling the parents how irresponsible they were, how inconsiderate they were and how disgraceful they were.  They said that a baby had no place in a hotel at a ski resort - a resort that was also hosting a conference that baby's father was part of, and a hotel that offered baby facilities/kids clubs etc, so not an adult-only one.  

By this point the parents had no chance to speak to their neighbours to apologise or try to explain.    It appears, the baby in question was teething.  Ahhhhh, teething.  That amazing phenomenon that comes and goes without warning and strikes fear into the hearts and minds of parents everywhere.  You see, one day your little cherub could be a gummy, laughing bundle of joy and the next she will take the form of the secret love child of Damian from the Omen and Linda Blair from the Exorcist.  Within hours this beast could have vanished once more only to reappear an random times over the course of anything up to three years. 

I feel for both parties in this situation.  I've been on the other side of wall to noisy neighbours and I've also been the frazzled, powerless parent to an inconsolable child in the middle of the night.  It's nerve-shattering on both counts. 

My biggest objection to this kind of note is that if the Sleep Thief had been a 6'4" drunken Footballer or a mass of Spring Break youngsters or even a very amorous couple, I imagine the writers would have been on the phone to the hotel reception immediately.  They would never have left a note for those people and they certainly would not have waited 2 days/nights to make a complaint.   But because the perpetrator was a small baby being looked after by some desperate, tired, possibly tearful parents then BAM! Hit them where it hurts.  Something they can look at whenever they need to just to remind themselves what crap parents they really are.  

Don't misunderstand me. There are places that you simply should not take your baby - in my opinion.  Places like bars and pubs that do not welcome children particularly in the evening, cinemas (unless it's a baby friendly showing), theatres and adult-only hotels.  If you take a child to one of those places and it screams it's head off then please don't be offended when you are asked to leave .   However, as far as I am concerned, if somewhere is a public place and does not specify 'no children' then it's fair game.  Particularly in a family-friendly hotel. 

The notion that, as parents, you should not take your child ANYWHERE if there is the remotest chance it could cry or make some other noise (laugh, maybe?) is ludicrous.  I refer back to my previous posting about it becoming acceptable to berate parents for noisy children but nobody will ask the annoying cretin on the train to stop yelling down his phone or to turn down his music or refrain from picking his nose etc.  

Clearly parents and children should only be together in the privacy of their own homes and never leave that place unless the child is sedated, bound or gagged. 

But to be honest, the thing that actually floored me was the response to this guy's blog posting.   I haven't read all the comments but generally there seems to be a huge rally of people suggesting this guy is an arsehole for thinking the note was wrong and that the people who wrote the note had a point.  And that's possibly the least offensive way I could describe it.  I am stunned, genuinely stunned. 

1.  If you are an adult, then you were once a child. 

2.  If you were a child then you were [at least] once very annoying to someone other than a family member.

3. If you have children and your children didn't upset or annoy anyone other than yourself, ever, then you are either a) lying b) deluded c) someone who boarded their children in their rooms until they were 18. 

4.  If you don't have children then can you be sure that you have never made a nuisance of yourself to anyone else in public?  ie: never been drunk in a public place, shouted at a friend or lover in public, used bad language language loudly on a train or in a restaurant, walked home late at night in a built-up area and not been as quiet as you could have been, never had a party even though your neighbours were sleeping, revved your car very early in the morning... the list is endless.  If you've never done any of those things then you are either a) lying b) deluded 3) were one of the kids who was boarded in their room until they were 18 and are now too scared to breathe. 

5.  If you never want to be bothered by children or anyone else for that matter in public, might I suggest that you never leave the safety and sanctity of your own house.  Just a thought. 

Most parents (and yes, I use the term 'most') are more than aware that their little darlings can be irritating as hell and will go out of their way to avoid upsetting people but having a child does not mean you don't go out or go on holiday or shop or take public transport or eat out.   And we  will continue to go about our daily lives in much the same way as your parents did when you were annoying, irritating and noisy little ankle biters.  

If you promise you won't argue with someone outside my house late at night, or get drunk in the daytime and fall into the path of my pushchair, or have sex loudly in the hotel room next door to mine (yes I'm talking about you, you weird, noisy couple in San Francisco in May 2011) then I will promise not to take my child into an inappropriate place and bother you. 

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