Now that my
younger daughter has reached the ripe old age of 3, I’m optimistic that our next
plane ride will be uneventful. Oh sure, there’s no question I’ll still have to
constantly feed, water and wipe her, not to mention sing, dance and generally
play the fool so as to amuse and distract her from the fact that she’s
involuntarily strapped into her seat for four hours. No, I’m just crossing my fingers
with the hope that she’s beyond that phase where she bawls just for the sake of
Mind you, she
still cries plenty. However, with the maturity of a preschooler, I’m somewhat
confident that she will opt not to embarrass herself in the company of an
entire airplane in the event that something doesn’t go her way. Should that not
come to pass, though, and she conducts herself as she has on her past seven or
so flights — which is to say, like a rabid raccoon — I plan on popping a
Xanax or four. Because, really, what can I do.
Yes, you heard
me correctly: What can I do. There’s no question mark there because it’s
rhetorical. The answer, of course, is NOTHING. I can do nothing. I can parent
until I’m blue in the face, the cows come home and all sorts of other clichés.
But you try to make a tired and
uncomfortable preschooler behave like an angel in a confined space and then
we’ll talk. Heck, try and make a tired and uncomfortable adult behave well under the same circumstances and I’ll give you a
The only thing
worse than a crying child on an airplane is the people who think the parent of
the crying child is somehow at fault, as opposed to, say, the cabin pressure,
popping ears, takeoff delays or the lack of available age-appropriate
entertainment. No, it’s all Mom’s fault, of course. So by all means, be sure to
glare at her every time her bleary eyes are caught in your crossfire.
As the mother of two children, let me be the first to say that no one is more annoyed or distressed or inconvenienced than the crying child’s parents.
watched “The View” in ages, but clearly I need to start again. One of the new
co-hosts, Nicolle Wallace, summed up the misery of
traveling families best on a recent show when she said of people who are vocally and visibly annoyed
with crying babies on flights: “You don’t need anyone to tell you to make the
child be quiet. This tantrum wasn’t my idea, bitch.”
Yes, crying children
are an annoyance to everyone. But as the mother of two children, both of whom
delighted in being miserable on airplanes for far too many flights to count,
let me be the first to say that no one is more annoyed or distressed or
inconvenienced than the crying child’s parents.
Judge all you
want. Play armchair parent and whisper loudly to your seatmate about how you’d handle the situation differently
and better. Maybe even give the parents of the crying child some advice —
because certainly they could use a good laugh at how you likely know what the
problem and solution are for a child whom you’ve never met.
Or maybe, just
maybe, before you judge, give the evil eye and sigh so loudly the pilot has to
ask you to keep it down, you can think back to the fact that you were once a
baby too. Unless you have documented proof that you were, indeed, an
impeccable infant, it’s best to simply stick in your ear buds, sit back, relax
and enjoy the flight knowing that the crying child a few seats away isn’t your
problem. And if someone else’s crying children is your biggest problem, well, then, life must be pretty good.