Talent vs. Tenure

I grew up in a household of educators. Both my mom and dad spent their careers working for the New York City of Board of education as teachers, administrators, principals and even Deputy Superintendent. While I believe my parents are the best role models I could have ever asked for, when I was a kid I never wanted to follow in their footsteps and become a teacher because the thing I heard most about from both of them was that politics always managed to find a way into their job and for the most part, it never seemed like those political decisions helped them improve — it only led to more of the same.
When I decided to pursue a career in public relations (or shall I say, fell into a career in public relations), what I realized was that the reward for great work was not only more work but promotions did happen for talented people. Those who were stagnant but remained on the job for years didn’t just get promoted because they were taking up space and had earned it because of their loyalty to the company — they were rewarded because they were talented, hard working and always managed to strive to succeed.
So why is it in the Board of Education that teachers who receive tenure get the chance to rest on their laurels and not challenge themselves or their students when they learn that no one can fire them? Instead, mediocrity rises to the top and no matter how talented you are, it doesn’t matter. If you don’t have tenure, you’re not safe. And sadly, the only people who suffer in the end are the students.
Case in point. My daughter recently performed with her middle school chorus as part of their annual spring recital. I didn’t quite know what to expect since she never gives me a sneak preview of any of her songs but to say I was blown away was a total understatement. Take a look….

The following day, my daughter’s chorus group (as well as members of the band) traveled to Dorney Park where they competed against other musical school groups. Think “Glee” but for middle schoolers. Following their performance, they learned that had earned 1st place in their division and they even won the “most behaved” medal too. The kids were ecstatic and their incredibly talented chorus teacher was thrilled too. But for him, the win was bittersweet. You see, due to budget cuts, this gifted music teacher who is beloved by the students he teaches, is going to be losing his position at the middle school and will be replaced by a teacher with more tenure. Is she more talented than him? According to the kids, no she is not. But that doesn’t really matter when talent is no match for tenure.
It seems our daughter’s chorus teacher will be re-assigned to one of the elementary schools in the district — not the one that houses a magnet program for performing arts (because that would make more sense) or the high school which has an incredible performing arts program for students, but another elementary school in the district which hopefully will have some budding singers in their ranks and if they don’t, he will surely bring out the best in them.
As someone who has always believed that people who strive to succeed should be rewarded for their efforts, I am truly disheartened by the news that one of the most gifted music teachers in our middle school is being re-assigned because the district has to cut funding to the music program. I don’t know if any discussion ever took place among the district administrators over who was more of an asset to the school and the students. Instead, numbers and seniority trumped talent and dedication. And that is why our education system needs to change.
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time for talented teachers to be rewarded for their efforts. If you need to cut the budget, then why not offer an early retirement package for those tenured teachers who have checked out long ago? I want my kids to always be challenged. To have inspiring teachers and mentors who take them to the next level in whatever discipline they pursue. My daughter’s chorus teacher is that type of person. One who managed to take a group of middle schoolers to the next level because he believed in them, challenged them and brought out the best in them. My daughter has a beautiful singing voice but is very shy when it comes to performing in public. He believed in her, gave her a solo and she was amazing (and I’m not just saying it because I’m her mom). Teachers like him deserve to keep their jobs. In fact, they deserve to be promoted. It’s time that school administrators pay close attention to the stars in their district. Not just the students, but the teachers who are taking our children to the next level and moulding them into the people they will one day become.

Ouch! The New York Post Just Insulted Me

kateportraitI don’t know about you, but I am a devoted reader of the New York Post. I look forward to downloading it on my iPad every morning and today, as I was sipping my coffee, minding my own business, I came across this article about Kate Middleton and felt completely deflated. The reason? Well, Kate is 31 years old and posed for a portrait and according to the Post, the artist who captured her made her look like a “dowdy” 45 year old woman. And therein lies the rub.
I am not 45 yet, but I am 43 and I do not consider myself or any of my friends “dowdy.” I know the Post didn’t mean to take aim at 40 something women but with that hurtful insult, they pretty much made it seem like once you hit your 40s, you instantly become a frump. Well, Andy Soltis (the reporter who wrote the story), we now know how you feel about women and aging.
While the portrait of Kate might have shown a few extra lines and her face may have been puffier than usual, that could have been due to the fact that she’s pregnant. When I was three months pregnant with my daughter, I remember having to take a photo at the DMV and when my driver’s license arrived in the mail, I have to say, I looked “dowdy.” I never expected to look that way, but that’s mother nature working its magic. In fact, when I had to finally get a new photo for my driver’s license last year, I made sure to blow out my hair, perfect my make-up and voila, I looked at least 10 years younger!
So Andy – before you use the word “dowdy” to effectively insult women in their 40’s, you might want to think twice about all the gorgeous women who are currently rocking our demo: Jennifer Aniston, Gwenyth Paltrow, Gwen Stefani, Nicole Kidman, Marisa Tomei, Salma Hayek…do you get my point?
And as for Princess Kate — she looks gorgeous no matter the medium and there’s no telling how incredible she will look when she eventually does turn 45. For my fellow 40 something friends, do not despair. We are not frumps, we are fabulous and next time when the Post devotes coverage to Princess Kate, maybe they should assign a female reporter to cover her story.
So what do you think about the royal portrait? And if you’re in your forties, do you feel frumpy or fabulous? Personally, I hope it’s the latter!

Post Hurricane Reflections

ocean.jpegAs a New Yorker who is lucky enough to not have suffered any damage or lost power due to Hurricane Sandy, I want to just say that I have been pretty amazed by people who don’t live in the Northeast who have no clue about how badly people are faring.
I’ve been watching wall to wall news coverage – much like I did after September 11 and it is truly heartbreaking. From the family who shared their harrowing story of escaping from the burning home in Breezy Point, NY (over 111 homes have burned to the ground so far) to the woman sobbing as she shared with Governor Chris Christie that she had lost her husband and her son and now she lost all the memories of them since everything in her home has been completely destroyed. It was so tragic to see the faces of complete devastation.
People have been on gas lines for hours. Beach communities like Long Beach have no power and are about to have their water turned off because it has been contaminated. And a lot of our friends are without power and have no idea when it’s going to be turned back on because telephone poles with transformers attached to them fell, crashed to the ground and blew up.
So what do you do if you don’t live near here and can’t relate to what people are going through? Don’t dismiss it as if everything is fine. Unfortunately, it’s not. The aftermath of this storm is continuing – fires are starting due to gas leaks, water is still being pumped out of subways, tunnels and homes and you can’t even drive into Manhattan unless three or more people are in your car.
Did I mention that over 50 people have died — including the children of a poor mother whose babies were swept away when she tried to protect them from the storm? Another couple died while they were walking their dog. And two young boys were killed when a tree hit the home they were seeking shelter in.
This storm is not a laughing matter and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Homes and businesses have been destroyed. Lives have been lost. It will take billions of dollars to repair the damage. So please, take a moment and think about the people who have been directly affected by this tragedy. You may be safe and sound in your home but unfortunately, weather is unpredictable and every corner of our globe has experienced devastation in its wake. The northeast and its residents were the latest victim and all I can say is, if you don’t live nearby and weren’t home hearing the wind, water and fire rip apart neighborhoods, then say a prayer, make a donation and trim your trees!

Death by Coffee Mug

imgres.jpegJust when you thought you had to keep your kids safe from guns, knives and other dangerous weapons comes a news story that literally had me rolling with laughter yesterday. It’s the story of Lois Goodman, a US Open tennis umpire who was just arrested for bludgeoning her husband to death with a coffee cup!
The 70 year old woman in question bears a striking resemblance to Dr. Ruth and Shirley Maclaine and she seemed pretty perturbed that she was brought into custody right when she was going to start calling double faults at Arthur Ashe Stadium. According to her neighbors, Lois is quite the crab apple — or Farbissina Punim (sour puss) as someone with a basic grasp of Yiddish would prefer to call it. The bottom line is this: Lois must have been pretty annoyed at her husband to have conked him over the head with a coffee cup and then literally left him for dead.
While I was talking about the case today with my mother — who happens to be the same age as Lois Goodman, we both admitted that sometimes, we would like to throw a coffee mug at our husbands. My mom in particular has been married for 50 years so I would totally give her a pass if she got pissed off one day and decided to hurl Dad’s favorite New York Yankees mug in his direction. Of course, she’d never do it, but when your spouse drives you to the point of insanity, sometimes you just want to throw something. In this case, the woman should have thrown the mug at the wall instead of at her husband’s temporal lobe. Then maybe she’d be back on the courts doing what she loves — which according to some of the biggest players on the circuit is make tennis players pretty miserable. According to news reports, in her more than 30 year career as an umpire, the woman has traded barbs with John McEnroe and Andre Agassi among many others. Who knew that being a tennis umpire could be such a thankless and bitter profession?
While I’d never want to see anyone lose their life after being bludgeoned by a coffee cup, I do have to say, this is one murder case that would make a great Lifetime Movie. Here’s hoping Shirley Maclaine throws her hat into the ring and shows the world what really went on behind closed doors in Lois Goodman’s house. I guess her husband would have been much safer if they had switched to tea.

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

envelope.jpgWhen I was getting my son ready for sleep-away camp this year, I made sure he was aware of some important things – like how to turn on the shower, where to find his socks and how to make his bed. I had heard horror stories of kids who never showered at camp because they weren’t taught how to do it by themselves so I was determined to ensure that my 10 year old wouldn’t be that kid.
I thought I had everything covered. And I did…except for the letters.
A few days after he arrived at camp, we started receiving letters home from him with our address written on the back flap. While the card still found its way to our mailbox, we never told our son where to write our mailing address. Somehow, I must have thought that part would be instinctual – except my son decided that it made the most sense to write all the addresses down on the wrong side. Plus, he also lost the entire page of addresses I had typed and printed out for him before he left, so I had to re-send it via bunk notes so he could write his grandparents. Ironically, they received their letters in the same condition with their mailing address on the back flap.
When I ran into a friend of mine and confided his letter writing faux pas, she revealed that when her son first went to sleep-away camp, he told her he had sent her a ton of letters but she never received them. A few weeks into the case of the missing camp letters, she finally solved the mystery – her son was putting his own mailing address on the front flap so the letters kept going back to him!
And here’s another doozy – we were out to dinner the other night with friends and they told us their son received a letter from one of his best friends who was away at camp. He was so excited to hear from him that he ripped open the envelope only to find a letter that read:
Dear Mom and Dad,
I’m having a lot of fun at camp and haven’t cried yet….
It turns out, his mom had armed him with pre-addressed envelopes. All he had to do was write a letter and then put it in the right one and voila, mail it to out. Easy, peasy. Except he didn’t read who he was sending his letter to and thought this one was going to his parents.
I guess in this age of technology, parents have taken letter writing skills for granted. But let that be a lesson to all of us. Sending email is easy – but nothing beats receiving a good old fashioned letter from your child – no matter where they write the address — as long as it gets there and we’re able to read through his practically illegible handwriting that he’s having a great time, then all is right with the world.

I’m Officially a Fire Walker!

url.jpegWhile I am the ultimate dreamer, I have always managed to stop myself from achieving my goals because I am afraid of failure and don’t like to take chances that could scare the bee-jeezus out of me. Which means when my husband and kids will hop aboard roller coasters, scream machines and will even bungee jump, I typically wait on the sidelines cheering them on. But not last week. Instead, I faced my fears, changed my state of mind, took off my shoes and socks, looked up at the sky, chanted the words “cool moss” six times and proceeded to walk on hot coals!
You see, last Thursday, I was lucky enough to attend Tony Robbins’ UPW Conference (Unleash the Power Within) and from the moment Tony took command of the stage, he proceeded to get the audience on their feet. Within minutes, we were dancing, jumping, chanting “Yes, Yes, Yes,” introducing ourselves to fellow conference attendees, massaging one another (just karate chops and a little neck massage) and mentally taking ourselves back to our past where we relived the most memorable moments of our lives. Tony also managed to make an emotional breakthrough with a few people from the audience who had the courage to share their story with the crowd. Tony managed to instantly deduce what was going wrong in their lives and offered strategies on how they could change their mental state so they could make a positive change in their careers and their relationships.
For 13 solid hours, Tony Robbins talked, joked, cursed, danced, cheered and inspired a room full of 5200 people that consisted of entrepreneurs, single moms, daughters, magazine editors, film and TV stars and even one network morning show host who was deathly afraid of walking on fire. For the record, I walked across those coals solo but did get a big hug from my boss when I arrived safely on the other side.
Though I was scared out of mind at the prospect of fire walking (did I mention the coals were 2000 degrees fahrenheit?), Robbins encouraged and inspired us to face our fears head on. And after I took my final step and was back on the cool pavement, I found the experience to be one of the most exhilarating of my life. Sure my feet were tingling afterwards and I did manage to wind up with a few blisters because I failed to follow Tony’s final directive – “Wipe your feet,” but all in all, I am on my way to changing my outlook for the better.
More importantly, I feel like I am now armed with new tools as a parent that I can use to help encourage my kids to pursue their dreams and not be afraid of rejection. All it takes is a life changing experience to make you realize that even though you may have prevented yourself from pursuing your wildest dreams, you can be the catalyst that helps your kids realize their full potential and achieve their ulitimate goals. Nothing like walking on fire to put life and parenting in perspective.

Good Grades or Good Manners?

09vL19M8coeHq_3258-300x210.jpegThis week, I attended an incredibly eye opening event hosted by NBC Universal called “Power of the Purse.” The brunch, which took place during advertising week in New York City was targeted to moms and featured one of my favorite Role Mommies of all time…Sarah Jessica Parker. SJP was on hand to react to findings of a new study about what is truly weighing on the minds of today’s busy moms.
While the survey shared many important results – including the fact that moms want to be accurately portrayed in the media and feel we’re not or that fathers secretly long to switch roles and become stay at home dads, the statistic that struck me most was the fact that 77% of moms surveyed said they’d rather have a kid with good manners over one with good grades. Even SJP has this to say about her own son, James Wilke:

Untitled from beth Feldman on Vimeo.

Screen shot 2011-10-08 at 8.05.43 AM.png
As someone who went through life striving to achieve good grades while having good manners along the way, I have to admit that as a mom, I have witnessed embarrassing behavior from my own kids and from other children too. When either of my kids do something that is inappropriate or rude, we call them out, make them apologize, or take something away from them so that they know we’re not going to stand for that behavior. However, most moms I’ve seen simply cave in so that they don’t have to deal with their kids’ despicable behavior.
Just last week, I was waiting for my daughter to get a haircut, as a woman walked inside with her three children. The kids’ ages ranged from 3-6 years old and as I sat trying to read a magazine, the whine factor was driving me nuts.
“Mommy, why can’t I get something? I never get anything,” wailed a three year old boy.
“What do you mean sweetheart? We just came from the supermarket and I bought lettuce and bananas and all kinds of good things for you and your sisters,” his mother responded.
“But you never get me anything!” He wailed louder and then burst into tears.
Never get you anything? For Pete’s sake, you were in the supermarket with your mother. Every time you step into a store doesn’t mean you’re supposed to get something!
Fast forward to another incident when a mother confided that she didn’t want to take her daughter with her to an important event because she knew she would just be annoying, would complain about being there and frankly, she just didn’t want to deal with her attitude.
Seriously?
Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve been in those situations when my 12 year old doesn’t want to spend time with us, but at the end of the day, we still make her go. And you know what? When she does, she actually has had a pretty good time. The more we cave into our kids’ demands, the more we are going to find that we are truly raising little monsters. Entitled kids who tell us to jump and we bow to their every demand and ask, “How high?”
Frankly, I don’t want to play that game anymore. I want my kids to do the right thing. To respect others. To look out for one another and to stand up for those who aren’t being treated right. But the more that parents continue to put up with the whining, the demands and complaints without sending them to their room to reflect on their deplorable behavior, the more that behavior will only get worse. Fast forward just one decade and watch what is currently unfolding in the workforce.
If you’ve been working for more than two decades like me, I’m sure you’ve begun to notice that there’s an entire generation of college grads today who have some of the worst manners I have ever experienced. Raised with a sense that they could do no wrong, many of today’s millenials continually question authority or blatantly tell their bosses that they don’t agree with the direction they’ve been given. Sure, we’ve had years of experience under our belts, but in the eyes of many kids who came of age in the world of Mark Zuckerberg, we are dinosaurs who have no clue. Frankly, many of these kids have bad manners who are singlehandedly taking down successful businesses with their laissez faire attitudes. If they don’t like a job, they quit within a matter of months. If they don’t agree with their boss, they will argue until they think they’ve been heard. And if they believe they have been treated poorly, they will gossip and complain to anyone who will listen.
I don’t know about you, but frankly, I don’t want to raise a child who disrespects authority, has no regard for others and is so ego driven that they never look out for anyone but themselves. I want my kids to get those good grades, but more importantly, I want to raise my children just like Sarah Jessica Parker – I want them to be good citizens.
I do have to say that this year, I had a really nice conversation with one of my son’s teachers. We were at “Meet the Teacher” night and it just so happened that my daughter had the same teacher just three years ago. I remember her being lovely and supportive and my daughter truly enjoyed being a student in her class. As we gave one another a hug, she said something that truly made me smile.
“I don’t know what you’re doing Mrs. Feldman, but all I can say is keep doing it. You’re children are such nice kids. It’s truly a pleasure to have them in my class.”
Now if that’s not an instant A, I don’t know what is.

Hit and Run by a Porsche SUV

imgres-24.jpegThere is nothing more frustrating then riding along in your car, minding your own business, only to be rear ended by the car behind you who rather than playing the part of good samaritan so you can exchange insurance information, tears off like a bat out of hell so that he doesn’t have to pay the price for the damage he’s just caused to the back of your Volkswagen Tiguan.
Such was the sad state of affairs that unraveled yesterday afternoon as my husband, son and I attempted to visit a dear friend in Queens. We were stopped at a traffic light, I was engrossed in the new Jaycee Dugard book “A Stolen Life” – when out of nowhere, my book hit the dashboard and I jerked forward. My son let out a yell from the back and my husband, turned his head and instantly whipped into action. He quickly exited the vehicle and when he informed the other driver of the SUV that we were fine, the guy agreed to pull over to the side so we could exchange insurance information. But just as we were making our way to the curb, he took off. But not before my eagle eyed son and husband memorized his license plate. In case you like to play the license plate game and happen to see this one during your travels, please give us a shout out:

NYC Plate
CGM-8534


Turns out that after we did a police search on the plate, it’s a gray Porsche SUV – yes, a ridiculously expensive car that pretty much demolished the back of my Tiguan – completely missing my bumper, but mangling my license plate, crushing some metal and destroying my rear camera. Incidentally, after calling 911 five times – they don’t come that fast if everyone is perfectly fine – a police car finally arrived at the scene nearly two hours later to file a report. Now here’s the real kicker – the guy in the gray porsche with the license plate #CGM-8534 won’t even get a ticket if he’s caught. Since no one was hurt, the case would head to civil court and we’d have to sue him for damages.
Honestly, now is about the time I would call in John Quinones and his ABC show “What Would you Do” and see which people would flee the scene and who would stick around and do the right thing. I mean, I’ve heard stories of people who left a note on someone’s window to call them after they’ve accidentally damaged their car. Not so in my case. My bumper got an unexplained beating from someone who hit and ran when I wasn’t there; I’ve had more car dents in my doors than I care to discuss; and this past week, the hood of my car was pelted with hail during a freakish storm in Westchester County. Guess you can’t sue Mother Nature so I’ll have to make due with paying our deductible in order to get our car back in top shape.
I guess I should be grateful that we were safe. Simply an inconvenience rather than something far more life threatening. What I’ve learned from this experience is that people show their true colors during tense situations. In this case, a creep whose car is registered to someone in Balboa, New York decided to take off for the hills and not own up to his responsibilities even though he was driving a car whose price tag is higher than most people’s annual salaries. I have no idea if it was in fact that man’s car or if he was simply going on a joy ride. Either way, I say Kharma is a bitch. Hey CGM-8534 – bet you never thought that your hit and run would hit the blogosphere. Well, think again. Here’s hoping our insurance company will find you and make you pay for the damage you caused to our car. And if they don’t track you down, well hopefully one day this little incident will catch up with you. Doing the right thing speaks volumes. Doing the wrong thing gets you called out on my blog.

How Independent is Your Nine Year Old?

iStock_000010889847XSmall.jpgI’ve been contemplating writing about that horrific story of the little nine year old Hasidic boy who was abducted by a deranged man in his community and senselessly murdered.
What hit too close to home for me was that the child was nine – the same age my son is now. The boy, who was doted upon by his protective parents, asked them to give him the chance to walk home from day camp by himself for the first time in his young life. His parents agreed and his mother showed him the way before letting him do it by himself. Unfortunately, when the boy became disoriented and asked for directions, his innocence was taken away by an unstable man who abducted and killed him and then mutilated his body so that no one would find evidence of his disappearance.
When I think back to my own childhood, I remember walking home from school in the fourth grade and letting myself into my home while my parents were at work. I was a total latch key kid. In my situation, I knew exactly where I was going, traversed the route hundreds of times and oftentimes walked with friends back to my home. In the case of my nine year old, I am ultra protective and would never dream of letting him walk alone without an adult or a friend by his side. In fact, just this year, we gave our 12 year old daughter a cell phone and she now knows that the moment she leaves our house and reaches the bus stop, she must stop whatever she’s doing and call us to let us know she’s arrived safely.
My nine year old doesn’t own a cell phone and he won’t receive one until he’s ready for middle school. While he can technically walk around the corner to school on his own, we choose to accompany him so that we know he arrives safely. Truthfully, that decision is not motivated by the prospect of him being kidnapped, but the simple fact that there are reckless drivers in our neighborhood who race up and down our streets without paying attention to whether pedestrians are in their path.
If my nine year old were to ask me if he could walk home by himself, I would say no. In fact, I said no to my daughter for nearly two years. As much as she wanted to assert her independence and walk to school on her own, I just didn’t feel comfortable – especially since she had no way of getting in touch with us to let us know she arrived safely.
While the Hasidic community installed security cameras that inevitably led to the killer’s arrest, I truly believe as a parent that if you decide to give your child some freedom, in this day and age, they should be armed with the tools they may need to protect themselves in the event they get lost or are approached by a stranger. A cell phone can truly be a lifeline for a child and may have played a role in saving that poor little boy’s life. Please know that I am not passing judgement on his parents and their actions that day. My heart aches for their loss. In fact, having seen this story unfold in the news only makes me want to hold onto my nine year old just a little bit longer each morning, hoping that my hugs will serve as protection while I’m at work. May this experience give people a wake up call. Even if your child asks you to do something, you don’t necessarily have to do it. You are the parent and it’s okay to say no.
As far as my own son, he won’t be walking by himself until he’s in middle school and has access to a cell phone. As long as he has a device in his possession that he can use to call me, his dad and 911, I’ll have peace of mind knowing that while he may be out of sight, he’s only a phone call away.

Children Under Three Not Admitted!

iStock_000000250295XSmall.jpgI have to come clean about something on the Role Mommy front. Now that I am a mom with kids who are well behaved at restaurants, movies and libraries, I have to say that parents with little ones who erupt in places they shouldn’t be in the first place, really irk me.
Case in point: This afternoon, my husband and I took our nine year old son to see Kung Fu Panda 2, which incidentally, is just as funny as the first film and features even more enjoyable characters this time around. We’ll share our review in a separate post, but for now, let’s focus on the topic at hand – bringing toddlers and babies into an environment where they just don’t belong.
While laughing out loud during the film, we started to hear some whining noises coming from the front of the theater. As we tried to pay attention to Po and Master Shifu, the whining began to turn into full fledged crying. Now if this were a four or five year old who was acting out during the film, I totally would have given the parent a pass. But this minor, who was throwing a tantrum during one of the funniest animated films of the summer, had to have been under two years old. In fact, I’d be surprised if she was more than a year.
Now parents, I know you want to keep your older kids entertained, but bringing a baby into a movie theater when you know full well they are like ticking time bombs who can explode at a moment’s notice? I’ve even seen adults bring their toddlers along to late night movies – figuring they’d fall asleep while their mom and dad caught the latest R rated action film to hit theaters. Big mistake.
Here’s the deal parents of babies and toddlers: If you can’t get someone to watch your child while you take their brother or sister to see an animated film, then wait until it comes out on DVD or order it on pay per view. Trust me, when they finally do reach the age where they can sit still in a movie theater, you too will be annoyed like everyone else when you see a parent bring a baby into the movie that you paid good money to watch without any interruptions from the audience.
Personally, I feel that movie theaters should not allow parents to bring children under the age of three years old into a film even if it’s rated G. Movies cost a boat load of money and when you bring your little one into a theater and they spontaneously combust, you’ve just ruined the experience not only for yourself, but everyone else. In fact, we were tempted to hunt that woman with the baby down and ask her to give us our money back. By the time the film had ended, she was nowhere to be found.
As for restaurants my advice is simple – stay away from romantic restaurants until your child is at an age where they won’t throw their food or scream every time you attempt to have a conversation with your spouse. Better yet, find a sitter and go out without them. They’ll be happy because they’re not confined to a high chair and you’ll be psyched because you’ll actually have some time to yourselves. If you can’t find someone to watch your child, then head to a kid friendly restaurant with decent food (our personal fave is California Pizza Kitchen), give them crayons and a placemat and have them go to town.
Trust me, the movie and restaurant experience gets better as your kids get older. The only thing that gets worse is having to decide whether a film is appropriate for your child – but that’s a can of worms we’ll tackle another day.
Now it’s your turn. Do you mind when people bring babies into movie theaters or quiet restaurants?