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stuff & nonsense

Ordered a new battery for the R75/5 (in the background). Finally.

Watched a bit of LJ drama from the sidelines. I'd link it but the drama itself was deleted to protect the guilty and side-discussion is friends-locked.

Watched a bit of convention drama (again, the discussion is friends-locked) from the sidelines. A convention in another time-zone that shall remain nameless just had a minor implosion on one of its web boards because a pair of folks decided that the convention wasn't doing enough to be "kid friendly" or "family friendly."

This kind of started with the head of the children's programming track asking for ideas for next year and quickly devolved into a few folks whining about how their needs as parents not being met was the reason the con is shrinking.

Now I know some of you with kids are probably less than happy with how I phrased that, but let me give you a bit of context.

One of the parties was stridently lamenting how with her children she and her husband can't have the same sort of con experience they did before the kids. Having parent-supervised kidspace wasn't an acceptable answer. "What if my husband and I both want to go to two different panels at the same time? We can't do that!" It's the con's responsibility to make this possible again by providing babysitting or daycare.

It's not so much a parenting issue as a "the world owes us" situation. As Susan Sto Helit said "Sometimes I wish there was a test before people were allowed to have children... well at least besides the practical." Raising children requires compromises of time, budget and lifestyle, and the fact that someone has a second or third child without ever accepting that is really scary.

Then again, there are a lot of consumer-fans without kids would rather beat their heads in vain against reality than learn to live in it...


Feb. 1st, 2005 09:55 pm (UTC)
Kid friendly conventions and the like
Alright, I know y'all just knew I'd have to weigh in on this one (being that we're one of our few friends with kids and we attend the occasional convention). A couple of points here, since I'm chattily-inclined.
Life IS different before and after you have kids (and we're expecting Abigail, fully forewarned that life changes even more radically from 1 to 2 than it did 0 to 1, wild as that may sound). Anyone who goes into parenting thinking that they're not going to be able to have as much fun after they had kids, or won't be able to have the same experiences they did prior to kids, is, imho, woefully misguided. Our kids add to the mix when we have them around us, and alter our perspective even when we don't.
That having been said, we found out (sometimes the hard way, but we know now, going into round 2) that not every event is child-friendly. Teas are not a great place to take a 3 year old. Conventions are iffy, frankly (lots of breakables, unknown quantities in the crowds, bored and accordingly noisy kids at panels). But even if a convention provided child care as a perk, personally the idea of leaving my child with a stranger in a hotel somewhere away from home so that I could go off and play like a grownup seems risky at best, potentially catastrophic.
So what do we do as parents and costuming/fandom, Jay and I? We choose our events carefully for whether Katie would have as much enjoyment in attending same as we would. We try to take other people's expectations of the event into account as well. We expect that our experiences in that regard will be tinged with her perceptions, and try to go with it. Sometimes we tag team the cutie-pie if we just need some down time (don't think we limit this to events either - who do you think is reading to Katie about Arthur's underwear while I'm busy typing here?).
It's important to us that you note, however, that we did not give up our adult lives as a result of parenthood. We do go to adult-only events: parties, Guild teas, balls. We can carry on coherent conversations that don't involve playdate politics or the merits of DragonTales vs. Elmo. But you can be darned sure that we make sure we know who we're leaving Katie with to go to our grown-up functions. When there's an event we want to go to, and there's no child care available we're comfortable with, and the event isn't child friendly - we punt. We take Katie with us to a movie (we did dinner and a movie - a "date" if you will with her once and had a blast, frankly!), to a park, to somewhere else - and have just as much fun as the new kind of family we've become that we would have had in our old shoes "before," and hopefully without beating our friends and neighbors about the head and shoulders with same unless they're consenting as well.
Hm, sounds like maybe your friends have their priorities mixed up. Maybe they need a good playdate with other fannish parents. Or just a time out in the corner.
Regards -
Feb. 1st, 2005 10:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Kid friendly conventions and the like
There are very few parents I interact with on a regular basis who aren't capable of finding solutions to allow themselves to retain some aspects of their adult lives. It's all part of finding a balance.

My friends, though, are the people on the con-com who are trying to find solutions without murdering the dweebs.
Feb. 2nd, 2005 12:55 am (UTC)
Re: Kid friendly conventions and the like

But as parent of 2 happy congoers and novice costumers (now ages 10 and 14), I still think adding the 1st child to our family mix was by far the most traumatic. Adding a 2nd one was not nearly the "trial by fire" that the first one was, since we had already learned to accommodate dealing with the logistics of young-un added to our lives. It just increased the workload, not instigated drastic change.

There's only been a very few times we've utilized some kid-programming at cons, when the kids were old enough to deal - like the "kid care" / costuming room at Mil. Philcon, where the elder could keep eye out on the younger (and was old enough to handle that responsibility.)

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