Friday, March 27, 2009

Adventures in flying part 3 - crying babies

No one wants to be stuck on a cross country flight with a crying baby anymore than the baby's mother does. So, I have to wonder, why would mother with a child under the age of five, board an airplane for a cross country flight with nothing to feed the child or entertain the child?

The cute little boy was not yet two years old. His mom looked about 20. She brought her blackberry for her to use (what else can they do besides make calls or email - neither allowed on our flight). But the little boy was just held in her lap- staring at the back of the seat in front of him.

He became very fussy upon take off. Helllooo, didn't she think that his poor little ears would pop and hurt. A bottle, a drink, yawning games, anything would have eased the discomfort. No, she just kept repeating, stop! Stop! I said stop!

He settled down some after the plane leveled. An hour into the trip he starts screaming- again. They are sitting on the isle seat; I am directly across. No one is sitting next to them, but a business man is in the window seat. Mom tries to give child a drink of soda, he flings it out of her hand into the business man's lap. The man has long since had headphones on. He jumps and to his credit, tries to help the mom get things cleaned up.

At this point, the lady behind me passes the boy a little box of sugar pops cereal. The boy is delighted and takes one at time to eat. Mom puts the tray table down and he plays a couple of games with them, arranging them different ways over 45 minutes. Then they are gone. He gets fussy.

He looks at mom and plays with her hair, which she doesn't like. He tries banging his hands on the tray. That gets boring. I play peek-a-boo until he tires of that game.

I dig in my purse. It has been a long time since I carried 'emergency toys' in my purse. I find a little change purse, empty the change and put some Teddy Grams in it. After asking mom if it is okay to give it to him, he happily takes it. He is not as interested in the Teddy Grams as opening and closing it. It has a little clasp, that apparently, he has never seen before. He spent the next hour figuring out how to open and snap it shut - mastering a new skill.

That gets boring too. Hey, he has the attention span of a two year old. Mom is obliviously to his needs or disruption to other's passengers comfort. He starts crying. My guess is he is wet and even though he has had a handful of cereal and 4 little Teddy Grams, I would think a two year might get hungry or thirsty in that long of time.

At this point, adult passengers are cranky-even the flight attendants can't wait for this flight to be over. We have been packed in like sardines and it is hot and uncomfortable. I am about ready to crawl out of my skin. I brought an Ipod and that usually helps me focus and relax. The child's screaming, however, overpowers any music or the audio books. I have a splitting headache and am exhausted.

In desperation, I take the white barf bags and and pen. I draw a face on the bottom crease and make the flap open and close for him. He is gleeful. I hand him a pen and a new barf bag to draw upon. He is entertained until we land.

This was not the child's fault. The mom was self absorbed and should have planned ahead to have things to entertain him (or at least interact with him). She did not even make sure his basic needs were met; dry diaper, food, water.

Getting off the plane, several passengers smiled at me or said thanks. The mom, of course was still oblivious. I feel so sorry for the cute little guy.....


  1. I feel sorry for you and the other passengers! Yikes!

  2. oh man I hear your pain... you handled it very well, must be the mother in you