She walked onto the plane with her adorable sweet baby held in her arms. “What a little angel,” I said to no one in particular. Uh oh. The little angel’s mom slowed down, stopped, and looked up at the seat numbers. She then proceeded to sit down in front of me. My next thought was that I would get absolutely no sleep on my long transatlantic flight. Oh how I rejoice that those years are over for me and my sons!
When traveling with a child who is at the age of infancy through toddler years there is one major rule. This rule can be summed up in one sentence: care for your child as if you have won the mommy award, otherwise you will create hours of misery for your child and everyone around you. When you break that rule, you become the bane of your flight. Heck, let’s face it, even if you are the perfect mother, your child may decide to turn into a monster when you least expect it. Your fellow passengers will be more supportive if you at least try. Think about how junior feels. On second thought, let me tell you how he feels!
Here are your child’s thoughts on air travel.
1. Do not believe I will sit on your lap for two to six hours straight without any entertainment whatsoever. If you believe this then you are out of your freaking mind.
2. Bring the baby books, and yes you may have to read them over and over and over.
3. Airplane food is gross, you’d better bring my junk food. Cheerios, milk, some of those vacuous puffs and maybe something with a little substance will do.
4. I’d like to run now. Do not let me do this on my own, I’m YOUR child, I do not belong to the passenger sitting in row 33F.
5. I do sometimes like to be held instead of just restrained. I’m kind of tired now. You may rock me to sleep. NO! Crying it out is NOT an option.
6. You did remember to bring some toys right? Please bring my pacifier, my doll, a plastic spoon, whatever I like that will entertain me. Oh…and you. You need to entertain me. Yeah you can leave the book in your purse.
7. You will be judged by other passengers. Screw them. You’re a mother, you will be judged for the rest of your life. You can thank me later.
8. My ears may hurt. Please give me something to drink or chew on. I may spit it out, please love me anyway and try something else. I need you. If you don’t help me I will scream my head off. If you do, I may scream my head off.
9. If the passenger behind you is playing peek a boo with me, just enjoy it. Have a sip of wine, I’m loving this attention! By the way, I need to be changed.
10. Bring your singing voice, I love the sound of your voice, it soothes me. I really don’t care if you’re tone deaf, it’s all about me.
There you go, thoughts from your child’s mind. Life will be so much easier for you, your child and your fellow passengers if you prepare for these moments. Sometimes there will be nothing you can do. The mother in front of me? She has deployed every trick in the book and her baby is now sleeping soundly. We only have two hours left on our flight, two out of eight hours and that baby has been as quiet as a mouse, but mom has worked hard. I do have some good news for you. If you have additional children, air travel improves. They can entertain themselves, spill soda all over their laps and get motion sick on the plane’s descent.
My only consolation for you is that they may have kids of their own one day.