I love being a mom. I don’t mind wiping runny noses, packing lunches for school, and missing an episode of Breaking Bad for a competitive game of Candy Land. But I can’t stand boarding a plane with a baby.
Because I know that there’s a 50 percent chance that I’ll be that mom on the plane. You know, the one with the drool-flowing, tear-stained, high-pitched wailing, inconsolable child.
I also know if said child is cutting a tooth, has a tummy ache, is too hot, too cold, soaking wet or starving that a crying infant is practically a sure thing.
Count me out. Been there.
Let’s just say that 1995 was a great year for me on many levels. The Internet was privatized, Mel Gibson starred in Braveheart, and Western Washington began using the new 360 area code. I gave birth to a healthy baby girl and was sleeplessly fighting my way through diaper changes and colic.
My three month-old daughter, Macey, also hit a major milestone that year by creating her first atomic poop on a flight from Denver to Houston.
I was totally prepared for Macey’s first plane trip – or so I thought. I had packed pacifiers, a rattle, teething keys, an Elmo snow-globe, and mini liquor chocolates (for me). I had a bottle on standby; ready to soothe an ear-popping infant.
During take-off, I thought it was odd that instead of crying, my daughter started to squirm. In fact, she squirmed a lot.
Suddenly, I smelled the aroma of spoiled milk with a hint of rotten egg, and soon realized my daughter had soiled her diaper. And as I sat her up in my lap, I was horrified to see green poop all up and down her backside trailing into her curly hair.
I heard a muffled gasp from the seat next to me. The passenger sitting on my right was making a scrunchy face with one hand over her mouth and the other pointing at my shirt.
Can’t you guess why?
With a weary whimper, I looked down to find my red, cashmere sweater covered in poop from my shoulder to my hand! I discretely draped a baby blanket over my arm. Thankfully no one else had noticed, and we quickly made our way to the bathroom.
Flying with babies, especially without a significant other to help with the load (no pun intended), isn’t a walk in the park. When babies get upset, mom is usually trying everything in her power to stop the crying. To make matters worse, there is always that one bullying passenger who makes a rude comment to add to the stress level.
I recently heard a fellow traveler turn around and tell a lady to “shut that thing up”.
I’ve never understood the purpose of lashing out at a passenger, especially one trying to calm their crying baby. An observant parent is already tense enough knowing their crying baby is bothering others.
Unhelpful comments only make the situation worse.
On the other hand, the majority of us have been around those parents that honestly don’t care if their child is disruptive on a plane, and seem to take little or no action at all. Wouldn’t it help to say anything to those folks?
In my travels, I’ve seen passengers come to the aid of a parent with a crying baby. I have heard others offering to hold the baby and even offers of medication to drug the baby. Lollipops tend to be the gift of choice. It’s a nice gesture, but the message it sends is still pretty obvious – shut your kid up!
When I was a child, our church had a “cryer room”. If a baby started crying during the service, you could simply get up and sit in the sound proofed room so the sermon would not be disrupted. It would be nice if airplanes could have such a room for passengers to calm crying babies without the extra stress of comments and stares.
I was fortunate in my poopy situation that the passenger sitting next to me was taken by surprise and had no words. If this had happened today, I’m certain my daughter’s nuclear poop meltdown would have been kindly filmed by some random passenger and burned up the Internet.