Everyone is going crazy over tennis player, David Ferrer who lost a point and then hit a ball directly into the stands where a baby was screaming and crying. I think Ferrer’s behavior was childish—and can you imagine if the baby got hit by the ball? Ball aside, I don’t think a baby belongs at a tennis match and Ferrer was right to be annoyed.
When I was living in NYC, pre-JD, I had a friend who got free tickets to the US Open every year. I went to a couple of matches. My friend and I sat there in silence and turned our heads to follow the ball. We erupted into cheers when appropriate. Tennis players need silence to execute their skill—this isn’t a football or baseball game where the crowd is always and supposed to be loud.
But who knows the circumstance of why the baby was there. Maybe he was there with his single parent who really wanted to go, but didn’t have a babysitter. From my own experiences, I always weigh out the pros and cons of taking JD places when I know there needs to be order and silence or when I have to get something done. Like, if I need a dress for an event, I don’t take JD with me, because he’ll want a pretzel, to visit the pet store and stop at every, single cart in the mall. But, I mean, as a single mom, I often have to take JD everywhere with me or skip out on important appoinments/events. Once he came to the OB-GYN and told the nurse the model vagina was "a monster's face" -- LORD. (My mom got sick and couldn't watch him. During the exam the nurse took him out of the room.) That said, at 3-years-old, I wouldn’t take him to the US Open (he wouldn't sit in silence), but I can say that JD is (woo-whooo!) attending his first Yankees game this year and is allowed to get rowdy and eat hot dogs!
As for other places that are deemed inappropriate to take babies and kids—a bar. This is more of an urban thing I think, because people who live in the city or Brooklyn can WALK, not drive to a bar and grab a beer or cocktail with their baby/stroller in tow. Do I think it’s OK? I think if your baby is teeny-tiny and unaware of what’s going on/sleeping/well-behaved, then yeah. But I wouldn’t bring my 3-year-old into a bar because it’s not an appropriate atmosphere for him (and I don't really like to drink around him because I need to be on and his mom). People are drinking, having adult conversations, on dates—ya know? The occasional afternoon cocktail at a café or nice bar where there is outdoor seating is fine, I think, but I feel that parents need to respect the fact the grown-ups at the grown-up place—the bar, are allowed to act like grown-ups. I mean, no one drinks beers at the indoor playground I take JD to, ya know? Is it wrong to take your kid to the wine store?
As for other public places like planes, subways and dining establishments—I think people need to RELAX. Babies and kids are going to occasionally meltdown. It’s just a fact, but that doesn’t mean they should be banned from an airplane—it just means that the parent or parents need to be proactive about preventing or lessening that meltdown. We fly with a portable DVD player, a hand-held computer toy, cars, crayons and coloring books, magnet toys and tons (I mean tons) of snacks. JD, so far, is a perfect flyer. Read Single Parent Travel Tips.
How do you feel about Ferrer’s behavior at the tennis match? Was he right to blow up? How do you feel about babies and kids in bars?