On the subway, our sympathies and antipathies are on full display. So too are our overly precious attitudes toward children.
The other day, for example, my friend Svetlana and I were on a Brooklyn-bound D train when a family boarded with their son, who looked about six. The mother kept staring and rolling her eyes at us for not giving up our seats to her child. She testily said aloud: "Don't worry, sweetheart, someone will get off soon and you can have a seat." Huh? Really? The kid looked hearty and healthy to me—and very pleased to be standing on his own two hoofs. When someone nearby finally got up, the woman rushed her son over to the empty seat as though he desperately needed it.