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Saturday 16 December 2017

The Devil Wears Diapers? Sometimes, but the child-free need to get over it

Toddlers have to travel, and parents are entitled to bring them on airplanes.

Toddlers are entitled to be part of their parents' daily lives, so they are entitled to visit supermarkets.

I'm not saying that other airline passengers are going to enjoy being right next to a large family of under-6s, each of whom wakes and fusses at different points in the flight, some of whom scream like banshees in response to changing pressure in the cabin.

I'm not saying that everybody else in the supermarket is going to be delighted when a child in the throes of the Terrible Twos flings their yoghurt on the floor of the supermarket and themselves after it, yells defiance at the world but more particularly at their mother, and drums their heels on the ground.

Those long past the child-rearing phase of their life don't like the experience of being on a plane with small screaming kids, but, short of getting so rich that Business Class is an option, them's the breaks.

The screaming kid can belong either to a couple who seem to have been absent the day that parenting skills were handed out, or to a couple who are doing their level best and who shoot apologetic glances at everyone else in the plane, in agony over the misery their offspring are causing.

It doesn't matter. They bought tickets. Everybody else bought tickets.

The tickets sold to the other passengers did not specify that they would be in a zone free of screaming children, although that's something long-haul operators might usefully consider.

screamers

Let us never suggest the creation of a separate screaming-kid ghetto, but assembling all of the screamers in one area might be an idea.

Child-free folk who complain about vocal kids in their supermarket need to suck it up. It's irritating in a supermarket queue, but in real terms, a supermarket queue is self-limiting, and five minutes next to a screamer is not going to cause a terminal headache.

Now that said, the notion that a child should be brought to a major fashion show is quite simply outrageous.

It's outrageous, first of all, from the child's point of view. Children love routine. No child's routine normally incorporates a catwalk, blaring music, competing perfumes, bright shifting lights and all of the other characteristics of a fashion show.

This may explain why Kim Kardashian's daughter, North, threw the mother and father of all tantrums in the front row of one of the big events in New York last Thursday.

North's tantrum seems to have been an epic production unappreciated by the world famous fashion folk present.

One of them was Anna Wintour, whose rigidly controlled personality inspired that the character played by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada.

Wintour's reaction to North's display of temper suggested that if she were making a movie of it the title would be The Devil Wears Diapers.

If Anna Wintour pursed her lips, folded her arms and did her level best to get away from the toddler meltdown, she wasn't alone. The editor of Elle Magazine, Anne Slowey, allegedly voiced the obvious question: "Couldn't they leave it backstage?" Another major figure at the event described the episode as "typical celebrity crap."

noisy

Not really. Some celebrities, including film stars, never inflict their children on the world.

They keep them at home where they should be, rather than bringing them to events and locations where they're going to be unhappy and noisy about it.

But then, there's the other kind of proud parent. The ones who want the world to change, to make room in the wrong place for their toddler. It's not going to happen. Someone should have a word with them - a quiet one.

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