27 April 2007

baby loves disco

When I saw this article a while ago, I thought, "Hey, what a cool idea: renting out a club on a weekend afternoon to hold a dance party for kids! I wish they did this in Rochester." And that was pretty much all I thought about it until Newsweek ran this article about it recently. Then I found that a blog I read occasionally had linked to the Newsweek article, appalled by the idea*. And almost all of the comments on this blog's post were in agreement.

I found this really weird. Now, you can think whatever you like about clubbing. I like it once in a while -- I love to dance -- but I can see that some people don't like loud music, flashing lights or sticky floors. But I think the articles make it clear that Baby Loves Disco is about translating the clubbing experience into kid-friendly terms -- kids' music at a reasonable volume, kids' snacks, bubbles, balloons... it sounds to me more like a party, just held in a space made for playing music and accomodating lots of dancing people. (There is alcohol available for parents who aren't driving, but please, tell me that you could be in a room with dozens of hyperactive small children for a couple of hours and not want something to drink.)

Some of the people on the blog post I mentioned expressed concern about this sort of thing leading to early drinking or pushing kids to grow up quickly. I think critics of this idea are taking their preconceptions of nightclubs and applying them to toddlers without stopping to think that no reasonable parent is taking their child dancing at a club in order to replicate the adult clubbing experience. I'd take my kids to this type of event in a heartbeat, and I'm sure Greg would be on board, too -- I think it would be a great way for all of us to do something we enjoy, together as a family. Music, dancing, snacks, lots of other kids... it sounds like my boys' idea of heaven. Just because it's held in a place normally used for adult entertainment and recreation doesn't mean it has to have any relation to adult activities in any way other than location. Besides, who doesn't love disco balls? I'm not sure my kids have ever seen one, but I am pretty certain they'd love it.

There were a couple of parents on the blog post, too, who mentioned that the fake tattoos available at some of these parties are just going too far. That just made me laugh, because, seriously? Temporary tattoos are a negative thing? I guess I'm a worse mom than I thought, because my kids have been wearing tattoos practically forever. For them, tattoos are like stickers that don't fall off.

Anyway, I spent a while looking at the group's website this afternoon, and I'm really disappointed that nobody's doing it around here. Maybe I'll look into it for the next time we're in Seattle, because the more I read about it, the more fun I think it would be.
*I'm not going to link to this blog because I don't want to put up for ridicule or criticism a blog that I often enjoy reading, but happen to disagree with on this topic. You can read some people's complaints and criticisms in the two linked articles.


kim said...

There was actually something like this at a local club recently (not Baby Loves Disco, but the same idea) but it unfortunately coincided with nap time. It sounds like fun and I'd certainly consider it.

The criticisms on the articles you point out remind me of the controversy about play groups where moms have a glass of wine while the kids play together. This came under fire because critics feared that the moms involved didn't know the difference between having a drink socially and being falling down drunk when they're supposed to be caring for their kids. And the criticism with the clubs seems similar - that somehow parents don't know the difference between activities that are appropriate for children and those that aren't (and granted, there are lots of parents out there who don't know the difference, but to indict everyone who participates in a child-centered activity that resembles an adult activity is really painting too broad a brush stroke). They aren't taking their kids to actual clubs; they're taking them to a safe, kid-oriented activity where parents are continually present.

Will anything that doesn't involve playground or a petting zoo come under fire?

karen said...

well, I'll be honest - I don't know how I feel about the part where alcohol is served, especially considering these gatherings are typically offered between 1 and 4 p.m., BUT:
a) this is my view, and doesn't have to be anyone elses,
b) this is a feeling I developed after watching a father down cup after cup of beer at a baseball game...which he was at with his two young sons,
c) speaking of which, it's not like parents can't be in other sorts of public places with their kids and having drinks
d) the greater majority of parents are there for their KIDS, not for themselves (which the article implied)
e) all necessary precautions have been taking - including the volume of the music
f) I think it's a GREAT idea!!! Parents are out with their kids having a good ole' time with eachother, and having the chance to socialize with others - I would SO be there!

I think the individuals attacking this idea are missing some major points - failing to consider the fact that this is a child/family-oriented activity, that it is a fun and safe activity (and waaaay better than some alternatives) - failing to realize that this really isn't any different than establishments like FunZone (or whatever they're called) - the word "club" just carries all these negative connotations for them, and they assume that parents are there to indulge themselves and spread all these horrid morals and set terrible, drunken examples (which I take offense to, and I'm just a baby-sitter, not even a parent!) - maybe, just maybe, parents are there to spend time with their kids - it's like going to the swimming pool, but going to a venue with a dance floor, instead.

But that's just my take...

Samay said...

yeah, if they called it something other than "clubbing" people wouldn't think twice about it. And the drinks thing is ridiculous, since people get drunk with their kids around all the time, like the baseball game mentioned above.