When I was preparing to take our first flight with Lil O, I like every dutiful parent and traveler, asked the Lords of Google what I should do.
And you know what I was looking for? How to ensure that my child doesn't bother all the other travelers. I was worried about others. Not me, not BK and definitely not as much about Lil O. I packed every sort of entertainment, teethers, toys that do not make too much noise but just enough to hold her attention, books, food and lastly, as a last resort a bottle of Baby Benadryl.
So I began looking around to see what travelers without kids are being told by the Lords of Google. You know what they are told? Pretty much nothing and just enough to tell them to avoid any sight of children and parents with them.
For all parents traveling with kids. You have the right to travel without being shunned, eyes rolled at, smirks, grumbled about and complained about.
These notes are for those folks who all parents have been trying so hard not to offend. Let me take the pleasure.
1. You are welcome. We do our best not to bother you. Extend the courtesy please.
2. Imagine a child who knows nothing much, being strapped to a chair in a metal tube with some windows that look out to pretty much empty space and then being hurtled at intense speeds through the skies without any guarantee of anything? Not the same as being tossed in the air playfully by a loving parent, is it? Try and understand.
3. There is this incredible device called "Head Phones". Through it miraculously lovely music can be enjoyed, books be heard and all sorts of things. When was the last time you were read to? Come on, try it. Even if you do not like it or want to.
4. You are better off than atleast 1 other person - the parent of the wailing child. You can shrug it off, roll your eyes and shut them, turn around, move seats, anything. Apparently we are not allowed to disown or toss the child out of a moving flight, moving anything actually. So we are stuck trying to deal with it. You are definitely better off.
5. You were a child once. And if you are complaining about the crying or yelling child and creating problems for us, then I am afraid you were raised without any compassion for others. That's not good.
6. To those who were parents to toddlers once - you know what it's like. Don't pretend you do not. Squeeze my arm in support. And NO, please refrain from any unsolicited advice. Please.
7. To those who are planning kids - no, this is the worst of it. The happier times are incredibly awesome. Also if you are being mean about it, the karma is going to hit the ceiling on you.
8. To those who hate kids. I guess it looks like they don't like you much either.
9. You can complain about my child as much as you want to and to whomever you want. Know this, noone can boot us out now, I mean we are in mid air. And noone can do anything much about it....except ME. That's right. You just pissed me off. So calming that child has taken a lower priority.
10. No, we dread giving any form of medication to induce sleep. But you feel free to use it and knock yourself out.
11. Yes, there are several things you can do. First and foremost, ignore us and pretend nothing is going on. If not, then offer us the window seat for a while. Or give us some fascinating gadget or book that you have. No, we parents are fearful of damaging other people's things and will not ruin it.
12. Do not offer me or my child candy. The sugar crash is worse. The hyperactivity from the sugar is crazy.
13. Do offer me a drink.
14. There are very very few parents who will ignore a troublesome child and let them bother other travelers. That is most parents' nightmare. So yes, we are doing 'something' about it. Infact we are doing 'everything' we can about it. If you do not agree, feel free to babysit, b!tch!
15. When you travel, please be realistic. The world's population is not booming by people not procreating and without children running around. Plan for it. Get a good pair of headphones, books and eye masks. Get Prozac and share it with me. Get a chartered flight to take you or me to our destination. I don't know, you are the one who is irked. You figure it out.
16. Please don't be mean. I am stressed about flying. I am stressed that I may have forgotten something for the baby. I am worried that the child will catch something that you may have bought onto the plane. I am worried that the flight will crash. I am afraid that someone will hijack the flight. What? You are worried now too? Puts things in perspective, doesn't it? But I have to do this with a screaming, restless child in my arms. So let's worry about getting there in one piece, shall we?
17. Sorry but yes I do HAVE to get up so many times. All those last times were to get water for my child, change diapers, stretch her legs. These few times are for me to empty my bursting bladder or wet my parched throat. So, I am really sorry that you have to move your legs or let me pass. And no, it has NOT been a 'hundred times already'!
18. It's just a spill. Clean it and move on. Who doesn't pack an extra pair of pants or tee these days? Gosh, for pete's sake. You are worse than my child!
19. If my child took something of yours and if I haven't reacted yet, it is PURELY because I didn't see it. I promise. If you politely tell me, I will move heaven and earth to give it back to you immediately and undamaged. Please do not start with the 'poor parents' and 'lack of discipline'.
20. We too paid full fare for this flight. If we could have, we would have avoided this trip completely. Noone in their right mind would pay all that money to fly with a restless, cranky child or two or more. So we are not in our right mind. That's not good for you. Please stay out of our sight and way.
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