The XX Factor

It’s Summer, and People Are Tired of Your Kids (Again)

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I’m trying to work up some outrage about the restaurant in Pennsylvania that’s banned all children under age 6. Or the Twitter hashtag #youngkidsshouldbebannedfrom, which one blogger, writing for Feministe, calls “anti-child bigotry.” “Substitute any group of people for the words ‘young kids’ in that hashtag and then tell me it’s not bigotry,” she writes fiercely.

But I’ve got nothing. I burned it all last summer, writing about the more than half of fliers who wanted kids confined to a (preferably fenced and soundproof) section on airlines, or the restaurant that angrily nailed up the Screaming Children Will NOT Be Tolerated sign (which I found to be as rude as the screaming children themselves, although I’m still considering a similar sign for my car). It’s summer. Most of our nation’s kids are out of school. They’re on vacation. They’re in airplanes, in restaurants, riding their little bikes down the street careening into the passers-by. And people, by which I mean childless people, or people who have not had children yet, or people who have a babysitter for their children and think you should have one for yours, are hot and edgy and intolerant.

And that’s fine. It’s not anti-child bigotry. It’s blowing off steam. It’s one restaurant amid plenty of more welcoming places. I can’t buy the argument that “children are so often erased in our culture,” as the Feministe blogger writes. Much of our culture—including four or five of the top movies this weekend and mulitple television channels—revolves around kids. There are playgrounds in malls and airports now. Kid activities in museums. Hotels and cruise ships catering to families. As a mother, I think we’re all set. We don’t need to eat at McDain’s Restaurant and Golf Center, and it’s all we can do to get the airplanes to give us seats on flights that are close together, so I’m not losing any sleep over their figuring out a way to cordon us off. I just hope we can get through August without someone trying to ban kids from the pool—except during Adult Swim.