Sunday, September 9, 2012

From the Mom of the Screaming Toddler in the Back of the Plane

DH and I recently embarked on a cross country plane trip with my flock of kiddos, including DS, not quite two. 

Now I have flown before, with my girls when they were little, one at a time, for short trips, but little girls are different than little boys.  Little girls sit nicely in your lap with a book, little boys do not. 

Little boys
....   squirm    and    wiggle     and     arch their backs       and      cry     and         fuss....

 and since Little Buddy is currently hooked on Swamp People I will compare his wiggling to an alligator on a hook,

 if you haven't seen the show, or something similar, when an alligator has been caught and trying to escape, they spin ~ fast and powerfully ~.  This is what I felt like as I was trying to contain my toddler in the 1.3 cubic feet of space between myself and the passengers adjacent to me.  Luckily I was surrounded by patient, understanding, or at least long suffering passengers. 
   But to those moms who aren't so lucky, I offer some thoughts I had while wrestling my little alligator.

1.  if YOU are miserable, so is the parent...(and the child for that matter)
Remember that if you are annoyed by the screaming/crying infant/toddler on your plane, then I guarantee you the mom (or dad) is more annoyed.  The best hold on the child puts their mouth in your ear drum... which means the sound you get above the noise of the engine and the cabin pressurizer is going directly into their ear drum.  And with all the wiggling the parent is getting hit and kicked in the process.  Plus they are dealing with the shame, frustration, and embarrassment of knowing their child is causing discomfort for the entire plane.
2. Plane tickets are NOT cheap
Meaning the parents are totally stressed out.
3.  Neither Business nor Pleasure
Don't assume they are traveling simply to make your trip difficult, I wasn't putting my family into wads of debt simply to take them swimming at some warm beach.  Some trips are neither business nor pleasure, they are FAMILY obligations. 
4. The Magic bag of tricks suddenly loses it's Magic!
Parents do come prepared, as much as limited carry on space will allow. 
Diapers, wipes, snacks, candy, toys, books, etc. 
 But after so many hours, and the exact number is unknown, the bag of tricks loses it's magic and the toddler is no longer interested in anything you have to offer.  Pretzels and Juice from the stewardess only distract so long.
5. The child is behaving poorly, because they feel poorly.
Refer to #1, the child is miserable as well.  Take offs and Landings are hard on their little ears.  They aren't sleeping well in their portable crib, they aren't eating their normal food, they aren't getting regular naps, and they don't understand why they are stuck in one spot without being allowed to move about.
6.  Don't Despair
Infants and Toddlers that scream while on the ground may be bored and enjoy take off and landing and the actual flight.

7. (or Rejoice)
Infants and Toddlers that are content on the ground may not be so once they are in the air.

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