Jenster's Musings

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Flying With Small Children

I’m sure by now everyone has heard about the family with the three-year-old daughter who was kicked off their flight because the child was throwing a tantrum. According to an email survey at Good Morning America, my opinion is in the distinct minority. The overwhelming majority was on the side of the airline.

I do understand that the plane cannot take off until everyone is buckled in their seat and apparently, the little girl was having none of that. I also understand that it’s the pilot’s prerogative to remove anyone from the plane before take off who is being disruptive. I get all that.

I guess the problem I have is with the attitude of so many people who made such ridiculous comments as, “If the parents can’t control their child they have no business on a plane,” or “Obviously the brat needs more discipline,” etc.

People, please. I don’t care how good a parent is or how well-behaved a child is. Somewhere, sometime that angel is going to have a fit. The rare tantrum is not an indicator of bad parenting. Of course, when your child does this in a public arena you feel the need to explain, “This never happens! He/she is usually so well behaved! I really am a good parent!!”

Getting on an airplane with an infant or toddler is, at best, a crap shoot. So many times the change in cabin pressure is painful on their tiny little ears. Also, I think it’s hard for them to understand that just because there’s room for them to run around, they have to stay in the seat. And depending on circumstances – sometimes beyond the parents’ control – if the child is hungry or tired, well, fuhgetaboutit.

I know nothing about these particular parents or child. For all we know they may spoil her relentlessly and her conniption was a common occurrence. By the same token, however, this may have been a one time deal and the poor baby just chose the wrong time to throw it.

All this brought to mind a time when I was getting ready to fly to California with Taylor. Todd had gone to a conference the week before and Taylor and I were meeting him there and staying with his parents. Taylor was 14-months old.

I was in the bathroom getting ready and he was in my room, playing quietly. That in itself should have been cause for alarm. Instead I just thanked my lucky stars he was being so good and continued with my preparations.

My packed suitcase was lying opened on the floor, waiting for the last bit of toiletries. I had a jumbo, family pack of tampons in the suitcase and when I walked out of the bathroom, there was Taylor, sitting on the floor, holding a tampon and smacking the bottom of the applicator so the tampon would shoot out of the top like a rocket. There were tampons all over the place.

When I called my mother-in-law before we left and told her about it she suggested I take a bunch on the plane to keep him quiet and occupied. LOL

My children both flew several times by the time they were three or four – Taylor first at 14 months and Katie first at 10 months. My memory says they both behaved very well on the plane, but it’s possible I’ve wiped away anything humiliating and created my own reality.

Mused by Jenster :: 9:50 AM :: 11 People musing:

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