Everyone in the nation experienced a collective moment of terror when they learned that a three month old baby was one of the injured from the shootings in Aurora, Colorado. It’s the scariest thing ever. I think everyone in America hugged their kids at the same time. The moment after that moment surprised me a little. People on twitter started asking ”who would take a three month old to a midnight movie?” Apart from the fact that victim blaming is disgusting- I really disagree with the idea that you can’t take an infant out with you late at night.
Who would take a three month old to a movie theater at midnight?
I would. Babies aren’t Gremlins. You can take them out (and feed them too!) after midnight. The first time I took my daughter out with me late at night she was 9 days old. I went to a neighborhood tweet-up, at a bar.
I did what? Yeah, I went to a bar with a 9 day old. A dive bar at that. I just put her in her baby carrier and went out (I was responsible and brought my non-drinking husband as a designated baby wearer for so I could enjoy a drink). Babies like to be on their mothers (or fathers). It doesn’t matter where the mother is. You can take a baby with you wherever (and whenever) you go.
When my daughter was 5 months old I packed up some diapers and a tummy time mat and the two of us plopped ourselves down right outside of an Apple store on an iPad2 line. Before you judge me for putting my infant daughter through waiting on line for an iPad, you should know I bought one for her too (she did after all, wait in line).
Now that my daughter is a toddler, taking her out with me is a lot harder. I have to drag a potty seat around, and bring snacks, and entertainment. I have to get a babysitter if I want to go out and have a good time. She’s also a little too old (and a little too big) to sleep in my arms comfortably for an entire evening. Now she talks and runs around and yells and throws things (and generally acts like a toddler). I almost long for the days when she used to sleep all the time and I could go to a movie with her.
It’s easy to judge mothers and their parenting decisions. I hate to admit but I’m guilty of it sometimes. I remember getting looks when I arrived at “not baby friendly” events with a baby. It’s hard to ignore it, but you have to. While I’m not exactly qualified to dispense parenting advice, I genuinely believe that my daughter is (relatively) well behaved at traditionally ‘adult only’ settings because she had so much exposure to them as an infant.
My point is that infants are durable little things and as long as they have their mommy and some milk, they’ll be fine at a movie. Baby is content and mommy gets to pretend for a little while that the life she had pre-child isn’t completely over.
Rachel Figueroa-Levin is a soapmaker, cofounder and educator at Urban Babywearing, a hyperlocal Inwood blogger and organizer, a political/life/religion/parenting satirist, and all around trouble maker. She is also the creator New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Spanish-speaking alter ego @elbloombito. You can reach her via twitter @Jewyorican.