Because the U.S. doesn't demand enough of its parents—Don't take your eyes off your kids. Your child doesn't belong here!—moms and dads are finding new tasks to burden themselves with in order to make peace with others for the fact that they went and had a baby.
And dared to live a normal life with them.
We're seeing that in the form of traveling parents who put together little something-something as a way of acknowledging that their little ones may not stay silent for an entire flight and so please don't judge me or get mad over the fact that they might go ahead and, you know, be kids.
The trend is kinda nice, kinda frightening.
"As I was boarding a flight from EWR to Orlando today, I noticed most people pass up two rows of seats about half way down the plane. As I got closer, I found one row with a father and his 18-month old daughter and the other row with his wife and the daughter's twin. Because I don't mind children (and knew I had my headphones for later on, just in case) I opted for the window seat next to the father and one of the twins. The rest of the passengers boarded and the middle seat in between us was eventually occupied. Before the flight took off, the parents passed around these goodie bags to the other passengers around them. Such a thoughtful, simple act of kindness that I am so happy to have experienced. And for the record, the twins were the most adorable and well-behaved little girls ever!! I never had to reach for the ear plugs once -- the only time I opened the bag was to have a piece of chocolate. I hope this family has the most wonderful vacation!"
The person who posted this on FB, Christina Galese, is grateful and thinks this is a wonderful idea. It's thoughtful, she says, and she loved the chocolate. Though she brought her own headphones like sane travelers do, so she was set from the get-go.
Others commenting on the post point out how the rest of us feel: parents are under no obligation to curry favor with fellow passengers. If your ears are sensitive to the sound of babies and toddlers crying, well, be sure to pack your headphones! There are really great noise-cancelling ones on the market these days. If you don't like being around toddlers or babies, then definitely don't have one. Also, definitely don't think your adult self (1) didn't go through a baby and toddler phase and (2) that your presence and travel needs somehow trump others'—including toddlers who may not have even bought a ticket! (Ashley and Abby have six more months to ride out freebie flights—go forth and fly, young girls!)
As any parent who has flown with their young babies and toddlers can attest: there is no discomfort on the plane greater than that of the mom or dad stuck taking the heat for their kids' worn-out and overstimulated behavior. There is no drug on the market that safely knocks kids out for a flight, nor should their be. Circle of life, it's a free country, there but for the grace, all that.
This is how the world works. It requires procreation and childhood, which begets future pilots and flight attendants for your winter retirement trips to Arizona. Only in America do parents get to feel like crap about keeping on keeping on. Only in America are goody bags on flights even a thing.