Martine Rolls: Let happy babies be

3 comments


We have another record on bayofplentytimes.co.nz.

On the website and Facebook combined there are more than 160 comments, and counting, on our story about a family that was booted out of a Mount Maunganui cafe because their baby was making noise.

It makes some interesting reading and I was surprised that most commenters seem to agree with the cafe. The baby was not crying, screaming or running around. She was just making a happy noise on and off for about 10 minutes.

I worked in hospitality for many years but I can't recall ever being bothered by the noise of a child. This was before I had kids, so you can't say I was immune to it at that stage.

Mind you, I definitely don't think cafe staff should tolerate children running around and causing havoc but if a baby is cooing happily, what is the problem?

When I go out, the only things that annoy me is when I get bad service, tasteless or overpriced food, bad coffee, or when the tables next to me get put together to accommodate a large group of brawlers.

Happy babies shouldn't be a problem anywhere. When kids kick up a fuss, I'm sure most parents will either settle them or take them outside before being asked to leave.

There are only a handful of establishments around town where I will take my two kids. I think you just have to know where to go to avoid embarrassing situations like this.

The family in the story was from Auckland, so no one can blame them for picking a place that is not child-friendly. If you look at the comments on the website, which include some made by the cafe's owner, you'll see my point.

I have never been asked to leave with my children but I have definitely had some looks when my two started fighting and yelling at each other, and that was here in Tauranga.

Once I even grabbed them both and left the place before our crepes and drinks arrived.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

I hope it taught them a lesson.

Many of the comments made online were amusing but there was one that brought back painful memories. It said: "Have you tried being on a bus when some child yells or squeals or is being plane noisy?"

The words "plane" and "noisy" were the ones that got me. It wasn't the fact that one of them was spelled incorrectly, as that happens quite a lot on our online message boards. It was the fact that it reminded me of a horrific long-haul flight I was on a few years ago, when my youngest was just 18 months old.

Ever since my little darling was born, he's been making good use of his strong lungs. His screams could get so loud that he could easily take the Greerton fire station siren's place.

My little man, who hated being taken out of his normal surroundings at the best of times, screamed his head off as soon as we boarded the plane in Auckland. He didn't stop until we reached Los Angeles.

The hustle and bustle of LAX had a soothing effect on him for some reason, because he finally fell asleep.

But when we continued our journey a few hours later to Amsterdam, the screaming started again.

He didn't exhaust himself until we landed safely on Schiphol Airport but at that stage, I was crying myself.

In a mere 24 hours flight time, my baby managed to put at least 10 years on my face.

Being stuck on an international flight with a child that is incredibly upset and cannot be settled is an awful experience.

First I felt sorry for my baby, then I felt sorry for the other passengers on the plane, and in the end I just felt very sorry for myself.

The point is I think that people are getting increasingly intolerant, and also more inconsiderate. Babies are babies.

If they are unruly or upset, do what you can to sort them out but if they are happy, let them be.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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