Dec 29, 2006

You Against Us

That was me. I was the mother with the crying baby on your flight from Oakland to JFK last week. And you know what? I was a wreck about her fussiness until you started to glare. Once I saw the nasty disapproving look on your face I really stopped caring. And I'm from Ohio--that's saying a lot. In fact, it turned out to be just about the best gift you could have given me because it changed my whole attitude. My fear that her crying might upset people turned into joy that it was upsetting you. I think I even laughed. Remember when I met your unhappy gaze with sparkly unbothered eyes? That was your fault. My eyes had been panicked until that moment. I was having detached feelings about my baby, actually wishing her away, until your decision to cast a disgusted glance my way turned us into a team. You against us. Person who could sit and read (and listen to live tv in your headphones for chrissakes!) vs. Madonna and child. Yes you heard that right. Jesus probably cried at some point when he was a baby, and you might have too.

What were you thinking? Were you thinking that a look in my direction would magically improve my parenting skills? Were you thinking my 17 month old baby would grow self-conscious under the weight of your stare and comply and sit quietly and eat tiny marshmallows and miraculously find peace with her cubic foot of space for the next 5 hours?

You might be thinking that it wasn’t a voluntary response, and that looking at me was sort of a knee-jerk response to an upsetting noise. If you’re thinking that giving us a mean look was just a way of releasing your steam then I’d like to invite you to consider that you’re not a whit more mature and in control than my steam-releasing, involuntarily knee-jerking unhappy baby girl.

Grow up. Be happy that soothing this baby isn’t your job. Be happy that you won’t have to find out whether or not it’s possible to change a poopy diaper in an airplane bathroom that doesn’t have a changing table. Be happy that you can respond to every flight delay or other thing that doesn’t go your way by diving deeper into your paperback. Take notes, doodle, order things from Skymall. Live it up.

This isn’t an ‘I left my kid home with a sitter to enjoy this movie so why should I have to listen to your kid cry’ kind of thing. This is air travel. It’s for everyone. Really.


JM said...

I am so with you on this one! I have 3 and when I get the stares, I think at least you get to leave when the flight is over, my parenting this child continues 24/7! So I totally commisserate (sp?) with you! Once I had to change my daughter right in the seat next to me (it was empty, BRs full and just a wet diaper). The woman in front of me loudly proclaimed that I should use the BR for that type of thing and that it smelled horrible. I tapped her on the shoulder and told her the smell was coming from the BRs that were right next to us, not my daughters diaper. She seemed surprised that I was really addressing her, even though she did not try to lower her voice in what she was saying about me! She apologized in a huff! LOL

Anonymous said...

I think that is really selfish and shortsighted. I fly commercially and I appreciate it when parents try to calm their children. And you know what? I have kids 26 months and two months. I know it can be done. So does my husband so don't say that just because it was a man, he doesn't know. Fathers parent, too. Don't turn one person's expression into permission to have your child shriek for an entire flight. Or even part of it. There were probably more than just you three on the flight, and you did a dis-service to all parents, passengers and flight attendants. Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

He gave you a dirty look because you're quite obviously feel as though you are entitled to be a bitch because you're a parent.

You chose to A) Have children and B) Bring them on a plane. No one else made that decision for you, nor did they say hey, you know what? Today I want to listen to children screaming because parents don't know how to keep their children quiet. People shouldn't have to be disrubted by your children, they don't have to be nice when they are either..