So I’ve been doing my damnedest to catch up on my blog reading, while also preparing for my new job, while also spending time with Hubby and Monkey, while also trying not to get too overwhelmed by something as innocuous as blogging. And what do I find but this lovely post from Allison at Motherhood, WTF, wondering how shocked she should about the following Facebook status update from one of her *friends*:
Note to all you parents out there: if you can’t get your baby to stop crying for more than 30 seconds at a time throughout a 2 1/2 hour flight, maybe you should hold off on flying because people like me hate people like you. On an unrelated note, I think it’s about time for a vasectomy.
I cannot begin to explain how much this post frustrated me. Hubby and I have flown with Monkey four times. Three of those four flights, he was a perfect angel. In fact, he slept peacefully in his car seat nearly the entire flight to Tenure-Track Town (TTT) a few weeks ago, waking only shortly before landing and quietly enjoying a quick snack of Cheerios and Goldfish crackers. Accordingly, we received glowing compliments from flight attendants and neighboring passengers.
A few days later when we flew back home, it all fell apart. Due to an abbreviated afternoon nap, we arrived at the TTT airport with a sleep-deprived baby for an evening flight. Monkey’s exhaustion made it impossible for him to sleep (go figure), resulting in a hyperactive baby instead of the peaceful mini traveler we had grown accustomed to. After a couple of meltdowns (both lasting longer than 30 seconds) when I tried to strap him into his car seat, and a couple more (also longer than 30 seconds) when he refused to sit in mine or Hubby’s lap, we eventually gave in and allowed Monkey to bounce back and forth between his window and Hubby’s aisle seat.
I’d like to say the only victims of Monkey’s hyperactivity were me and Hubby. Unfortunately, Monkey repeatedly bumped the seat of the lady sitting in front of him with his feet, car seat, toys, and books. As much as I tried to convince myself that one annoyed passenger was better than many, I couldn’t help but feel guilty. To make it worse, I got an irritable eye roll in return for every “I’m sorry” I offered. I kept reminding myself that I would have gotten an equally piercing look had I forced Monkey into his car seat and let him cry himself to sleep. After all, “people like that” hate “people like me”.
By the time the wheels hit the ground in Postdoc City, I felt absolutely lousy. Then I read the above post from Allison, and my guilt turned to anger. Hubby and I did everything we could to prepare for a peaceful flight. We lugged a huge load of toys, breast milk, breast pump, formula (just in case), books, binkies, and blankies onto the airplane. We’d never had a bad travel experience with him. We had no choice but to fly with our little guy, and we did everything we could for three hours to keep the maximal number of passengers around us comfortable. Yet we still failed.
I wonder if the above-referenced Facebooker realizes how unpredictable babies are. I wonder if he understands a crying baby’s parents are probably much more anxious and frustrated than anybody else around them. Of course, I’m sure he has no idea, because until you have a baby, you don’t know what it’s like to worry about your baby AND everyone else around you. When the Dr. O family goes out in public, Monkey can be a perfect sleeping angel, playfully entertaining, or a screaming ball of fury. Hubby and I refuse to simply stop living our lives in order to make other people more comfortable, so we try our best to be prepared and keep several plan B’s in our back pocket.
Unfortunately, when it comes to air travel, all the plan B’s in the world may fail, leaving behind only a trace of patience to make it through intact. On that flight back home a few weeks ago, patience is all we had, and I think Hubby and I did a damned good job mustering our reserves together.
So Allison, I say you should be very shocked. Unless like me (I’m somewhat ashamed to say), you have Facebook friends who you haven’t talked to in ages. In which case I would just de-friend this asshole and move on.