Should I being my toddler to the Obama rally?
October 3, 2012 11:09 AM   Subscribe

I am fortunate enough to have a VIP ticket to tomorrow's Obama rally in Denver. Should I bring my 2 year old?

The main reason I want to go (and take time off work) is so I can hopefully take a photo of my 28 month old daughter with Obama in the background. I think it would be a great photo memory for her.

She's a pretty average toddler. Not that timid, not that brave. I recognize that it will involve quite a bit of hanging around. But hopefully not too frantic a crowd. (I think the VIP bit just means that we'll be near the front.)

I've never been to such a rally before. I would hope that she can just sit on my shoulders, cheer and clap--there's music (Will-i-am). And hopefully I can bring in a backpack with snacks and diapers--otherwise I'll have to stuff my pockets. I'll probably have to spend some time covering her ears if it's too loud.

Anyone who's been to a similar rally, is this crazy? Great? Obviously I know my daughter--I just don't know what to expect at the rally.

I can only get one ticket (or at least VIP ticket) so my wife won't be coming.
posted by NailsTheCat to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
I was apparently breast-fed during a Reagan rally in Ohio in 1984 and was just fine. He probably had less then though.

It will be great for you to get a photo of her with Obama in the background. Hopefully she won't go the way I did, and decades later be horribly embarrassed at a picture of infant her appearing to support someone directly opposite her later political beliefs.
posted by olinerd at 11:13 AM on October 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Crazy but doable if you're up for it.

Stuff your pockets but make sure you can pull out your keys for the metal detector. You won't be allowed bags like a backpack in, but a small plastic (clear) bag with obvious dipes and wipes can be searched and approved as you go through the metal detectors.

for drinks, take disposable sippies, you will be made to discard everything before you enter the venue proper, but volunteers will hand out waterbottles. You can get ear protection for her at a gun shop or Home Despot.

You will be in line for hours - make sure you can stand it. I'd take disposable bags for the dipes (there will be trash cans) and a small towel for shade / emergency diaper table.

If there is seating in VIP, you will be on chairs or bleachers way up on the side or front. If it's just a standing room only, It will be MASSIVE CRUSHING MOSHPIT CRAZY.

If you don't get a shot you can likely go to the nearest Obama office and get a pic of her with the cutout of President Obama.
posted by tilde at 11:15 AM on October 3, 2012

Not crazy at all! After all, there's a reason that one of the popular tropes of politicians is that they love to have pictures taken of them kissing babies. FWIW, there's a bunch of pics and videos of Obama and little kids at rallies, and as you can see, some of them are really cute and hilarious.

Unless, of course, you're Fox News, in which case the headlines make it sound like he consumes children's limbs for sustenance (I wish that was a parody site).
posted by zombieflanders at 11:47 AM on October 3, 2012

I recently took my 11-month-old to an Obama rally. She's mobile but small enough to carry and to be easily entertained. We waited for hours in a crowd of standing people. It rained part of the time.

It was hard and crazy, but yeah, kinda fun. We had everything in our pockets - a diaper and some wipes and a ziploc with Cheerios, a jacket for the kid, ponchos for us. And my kid is young enough that she took a nap and was otherwise mostly happy to just hang with us and make faces at the people around us.

Basic thing to consider: can your kid handle hours waiting in a crowd?
posted by thirteenkiller at 11:59 AM on October 3, 2012

Took my then 20 month old daughter to outdoor concert festival (Dave Matthews headlined). Tens of thousands of folks in football arena. She did great.

I think it is a function of three things. One, her personality. Two, the weather and her overall physical comfort, and three, the loudness and how packed the people are around you.

I ended up with about 10 volunteer "baby sitter" types all making faces and talking to my daughter to entertain her. She had a bag full of cheerios, toys, stuffed animal, 2nd favorite blankie (don't want to lose #1 blankie. Ever.) and coloring stuff.

The most important thing we had was ear plugs and over the ear sound mufflers (like the workers on the tarmac of an airport wear.) We painted them pink before hand and had her wear them once or twice to get used to them.

I would also bring a stroller or some way to carry her without you having to literally hold her for several hours.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:28 PM on October 3, 2012

I've been to two Obama rallies in the past two months in Cincinnati. The first was to see the President in Eden Park (Sep. 17) and the second was to see Mrs. Obama at the Convention Center (just yesterday!). Your ticket should tell you whether or not bags will be allowed (they were allowed at both of the events I went to, with "airport-type security). If your ticket doesn't give you information (in tiny, tiny print), the official email should.

You'll probably be allowed to bring a bag, but just bring the bare minimum of stuff in any case, to make getting through security easier. You'll be standing in line for hours. Generally, the doors/gates open two-to-three hours before the President hits the stage. At the President's rally I went to, I saw lots of strollers but none near the front. Be prepared that you may be required to leave it near security if you bring one.

That's all I can think of right now. Memail me if you have any other questions. As far as I can tell, the rallies are being run pretty similarly around the country.
posted by cooker girl at 12:34 PM on October 3, 2012

They said "no bags" but were allowing purses in, so a small murse of diaper supplies they can peek in should be fine.

Everyone who brought chairs, strollers, umbrellas, etc were required to leave them outside (I've been to a few political and presidential rallies in venues from 5,000 to 50,000 attendees.
posted by tilde at 1:00 PM on October 3, 2012

We're taking our 4 year old to the rally he's having tomorrow afternoon here in Madison. We've always taken the kids to rallies, no matter their age.
posted by thanotopsis at 1:30 PM on October 3, 2012

I went to one a few years ago (15K people at an arena in Minneapolis). As tilde said, chairs, strollers and umbrellas had to get left at the door, as did opened beverages, I believe. I think they let me in with an unopened bottle of water. Small bags were okay and had the "airport security" type screening. The wait was horrendously long, and was moving very slowly the whole time, so we couldn't really plant in one spot while waiting to get in. But everyone was in a good mood and it made for great people-watching. Have fun!
posted by JannaK at 2:55 PM on October 3, 2012

I just want to point out that if you're taking her in the interest of making a memory for her, she's very unlikely to remember much, if any, of it. My now-nine-year-old daughter can remember things from when she was about four, but not before that; my sister can't remember anything before about eight; I can't get back much before kindergarten. This is a (possibly) interesting article about memory formation in small children.

If you'd just like to have her with you, totally take her, if you think she can deal with the waiting and the crowds. If you were hoping to make this a memory for her and were taking her for her sake, you might want to give it a pass this year, go and enjoy yourself, and try again next election cycle.
posted by MeghanC at 4:46 PM on October 3, 2012

Yes, I know she won't remember but I wanted her to have the photo. That's why I was trying to coin the clumsy phrase "great photo memory".

Thanks so much everyone for your helpful answers! Wonderful! (And no less than I expect from MeFites.)
posted by NailsTheCat at 5:21 PM on October 3, 2012

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