theater seatsDate nights are a precious thing once you have kids. Ask any parent. It's not just about having the energy to do it. A lot of planning is involved. If you both have busy careers, it's about coordinating schedules and -- more importantly -- booking that babysitter well in advance.

My husband and I were long overdue for some one-on-one time. So I was super excited that I was able to get a sitter for both Friday and Saturday nights. We didn't have anything crazy planned. We were looking forward to checking out two hot, new restaurants and catching a couple flicks that everyone else but us had seen.

Both nights, the food was fantastic. The wine was great. The movies, well, not so much. And it wasn't because of the actors, directors, or storylines. Nope, our rare double-header was ruined by kids -- somebody else's kids.

At both movies (Hunger Games the first night, The Avengers the next) there were babies and toddlers in the theater. Crying babies and singing toddlers to be exact. Everyone was beyond annoyed.

More from The Stir: A Movie Theater Is No Place for a Baby

It's not like we were watching a Disney film or some other animated flick you'd expect a whole family to attend. No, these were violent, action packed scenes. But to be honest, the inappropriate subject matter is not what I take issue with. (I remember being horrified when I saw a dad come into a screening of Precious with three kids under 10 and these movies were nowhere near as sexually explicit).

I have a problem with the fact that some parents don't care if they ruin the film for everybody else. There was crying, whining, and at some point I swear I heard a verse if a Barney song. I kept trying to will them to get up and leave. They didn't.

Now as a parent I sympathize with the desperate need to get out of the house and engage in some kind of activity that has nothing to do with Play-Doh or The Fresh Beat Band. And babysitters are expensive. But is it fair to spoil the film for other patrons?

When I can't find a sitter (which is often), I stay at home and rent a movie from cable or Netflix. Why can't everyone offer the same consideration? At the very least, they should exit when the wailing starts. These parents threw out a couple of "shhhs" but otherwise seemed relatively unconcerned, just staring at the screen as if it wasn't bothersome.

I've read message boards where parents have discussed the best time to take their tot to a movie, trying to sync it up with the sleeping schedule. But come on. Does that ever really work? What baby is going to stay asleep while the Hulk screams and pounds his way through a two-hour film?

Should parents bring babies into movies that are not for children? Is it rude to other moviegoers?

 

Image via Max Wolfe/Flickr