God, I hate other people’s children!
My own are well-behaved and we don’t take them to age inappropriate places. But clearly, we’re the exception.
Long ago, I learned a single sentence that sends obnoxious juniors away from me as fast as their little legs will carry them. Here it is:
Lean over to the child’s watcher and, as politely as you possibly can, just say,
“According to the terms of my parole, I’m not really supposed to be this close to children”.
Mom, Dad, or whoever they pawned off their hell-spawn onto will immediately grab the little devil and exit your presence!! I’ve done this about a dozen times and it always works. When you speak the magic words, say them as normally and friendly as you can muster and the resulting freak-out effect will be even greater. I like to look into their eyes and touch their arm when I say it. The moment when the meaning of the kind-sounding words penetrates the brain is totally priceless. Even better tho is the undisturbed silence that follows. No Muss, no Fuss, all Wuss!
Any other adults around will be just as relieved by the restoration of peace as you are. If the remaining adults give you a funny look, just smile, wink, tell ‘em it ain’t really true and that the irresponsible guardian shouldn’t have brung their undisciplined brat to an adult event in the first place. An eyeroll from the wife also helps smooth things over. Most simply chuckle and are just grateful the screaming baby is now doing it somewhere else.
Keep in mind that location is the key to this strategy. It works great where kids aren’t supposed to be, such as a nice restaurant or movie theater. However, if you’re at McDonald’s or the movie playing is Shrek and you try casting this kid negation spell, expect a visit from Officer Not-So-Friendly in the near future (of course, you won’t be in any real trouble since it’s not true, but who wants to waste time explaining at the police station). In other words, it is a perfect anti-kid charm when children are where they probably shouldn’t be but don’t try it where kids can naturally be expected. I assure you that anyone who brings a two year old to an R rated movie at 9 o’clock on a weeknight, will NOT be calling the cops. But even if they do and even if you were actually a paroled sex offender, you still have a right to go out in public (just not to the neighborhood playground). A beat cop doesn’t know what the exact terms of your parole are (like how many feet away exactly), so how can he be expected to enforce them. His likely solution would be to separate the child from you just to be on the safe side and sort out the details later. Since this is what we wanted all along, it’s still a win.
(This article went to at least #4 on the Reddit front page, and was the second most viewed article in ThisIsBy.Us history. It has been blogged about in the New York Times, and Wired magazine).