Friday, January 9, 2009


Remember all those "My Mama's for Obama" toddler tops back in October? Or the "Obama 08" onesies? Well the president-elect apparently doesn't. Otherwise why would his inauguration planners be making it quite so hard for Moms to attend his swearing-in ceremony on 20 January? 

Just to stress the point that taking your baby along for the ride will be no picnic, Congress issued a special "advisory" aimed at making Moms feel less welcome than a vegan at a Texas barbecue. It pointed out that the day will be cold - "normally 37F at noon" - involve many hours of queueing and any infant incapable of walking will have to be carried - all day - because strollers are not allowed. Oh, and the only restrooms are portaloos and you can bet they won't be squeezing in any of those special diaper changers. By the time you're done "celebrating" you'll be cold, tired, hungry and probably wet because umbrellas are banned too. And your child will probably have pneumonia.

Bet you're not feeling quite so sore about not scoring one of those 240,000 golden swearing-in ceremony tickets now, huh? If you're a parent that is. The draconian I-day rules have sparked a big debate among DC Moms about whether they dare even venture out of the house on 20 January let alone anywhere near the Capitol with a small child in tow. The day will be a logistical nightmare. 

Slightly better news for those Moms just hoping either to catch a glimpse of the inauguration parade down Pennsylvania Avenue or to watch the ceremony from one of the giant TVs that will be scattered across the Mall. The stroller ban applies only to Capitol Hill. That means the other 1.25 million people predicted to cram into an area barely 1 mile by half a mile can bring all the strollers, umbrellas, rucksacks and diaper bags they desire, although presumably there still won't be anywhere actually to change a wet nappy. Or push a stroller. 

That said, I still want to take Louis. Even though he now weighs more than a small Alsatian. (It's all that veg puree.) I'm just waiting for the special inauguration souvenir baby slings. Maybe I should design one and cash in. 

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