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Airplanes: Not Always Child Friendly Zones

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Guest blogger Dani Klein Modisett: "I took my toddler cross country on a plane and discovered some people really don't like children."

kid misbehaves in plane

"Thanks, thanks," I said over my shoulder while balancing a backpack on my back with a nebulizer in it, my computer bag on my shoulder and a shopping bag in my hand bursting with cheese sticks, Cheerios, fruit leather, bananas, a milk bottle and diapers.

I was carrying all this and leaning over trying to collapse my street-friendly MacClaren stroller for storage under the airplane when another passenger grabbed the backpack which was about to fall and knock over my 15-month-old son precariously balanced on his own two feet. He was holding my knee ready for take off. Last week he figured out how to walk and it has quickly become his favorite past time.

Another insane, overachieving f**&king idea of mine, I thought. Taking my son to NYC with me. I had to go for work and I wouldn't even consider leaving him with my husband and a babysitter.

I learned several surprising things during this trip from Los Angeles and back. Turns out marching up and down the narrow aisle of an aiplane for five and a half hours is no fun. I don't know how stewards and stewardesses do it without strangling people or at least breaking whichever finger passengers use to call them.

Also, there are some people who don't like children. Even tiny ones in tiny jeans.

Gideon walked up and down the aisle no less than fifty times each way. He would stop at every person, laying a chubby hand on their thigh or their tray looking each of them in the eyes, whether they were sleeping or not. Most would pull one side of their earphones from their ear and say, "Hi!" before Gideon lost interest and moved on. But some people would just not acknowledge him. He's relentless though, if I hadn't pushed him forward he'd have worked on these people until we landed. He'd have stalked then to baggage claim, "Anytime you want to smile at me..." his eyes would say, "I'm waiting!"

"No honey, that man doesn't like children," I said the fourth time we passed a man who refused to look up.

I was hoping he didn't hear me. Or was I?


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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
ashley November 18, 2008, 8:27 AM

I just don’t understand how people can’t look at a chubby little face with bright eyes smiling at them and not smile back. My little 17 month old girl is the same way to people, she will bug someone until she gets a response. Anyhow, I was on a plane last January when she was 6 months old. It was a very short trip, Dallas to OKC. Before we took off I heard the guy in front of me on his cell phone saying, “Yeah there’s a baby in front of me. I know. She better not cry the whole time.” I wanted to smack him in the back of the head. Anyways all I had to do when she did cry was flop out a boob. I wonder how all those businessmen liked that.

Robin November 18, 2008, 9:07 AM

Yes, a child is adorable the first couple of times you see them walking the aisle. But I am not responsible for keeping your child entertained on a flight as you walk the aisle 50 times each way as this author says she did. I’m not obligated to stop my nap or stop reading my book or listening to my music everytime your child needs attention, no matter how cute they are. Find another way to keep baby happy and leave me out of it. Unless of course, you want to pay me for my babysitting services. And just so you know, I am the mother of two little boys and when we fly, which is not often, we take a portable DVD player and headphones to keep them occupied.

Linney5680 November 18, 2008, 9:10 AM

i just don’t get how people don’t like kids!! they are so cute and fun. people forget they were kids once and did these things too. some people need to lighten up. i try not to let my son bug everyone, but it does happen.

Me November 18, 2008, 9:44 AM

I love children. I have two small ones and teach preschool. But even I get tired of saying hello to a child in situations like this! Perhaps the author should have planned things around nap time, brought plenty of toys, or left the child at home. Not interacting with your child fifty times (by her own admission) does not equal not liking children!

Cheryl November 18, 2008, 9:46 AM

I’m a mom who had my son flying by the time he was four months old, so I can somewhat understand where this author is coming from. However, she states that “Gideon walked up and down the aisle no less than fifty times each way.” What?! Why on earth would you let your toddler roam the aisles of a plane? This is wrong on so many levels, not the least of which is for reasons of safety. Unless your little one needs to use the restroom, he should be buckled in his seat at all times.

Uly November 18, 2008, 12:48 PM

You know what? I like kids. Love ‘em. But I don’t feel like talking to a 15 month old when I’m on a plane. If I did, I’d get a 15 month old of my own.

Find a way to entertain your kid *without* imposing on the kindness of strangers. It’s not *our* job to take care of *your* kid.

And yes - stay in your seat. If that plane were to hit turbulence while you were walking, you and your son could’ve been seriously injured. Not to mention, those people who need to go up and down the aisle - say, to get to the bathroom? They’d like to do it without shoving past you.

ame i. November 18, 2008, 5:38 PM

I LOOOOVE my own 2 children. There are others I adore, like, tolerate, detest.
I would say Hi back to a cute toddler, a time or 3, but after that his/her visits would begin to bug the crap out of me.
Well before I had children, I learned to never play peek-a-boo with a child sitting nearby. Some parents are oblivious and don’t or won’t realize when a stranger gets tired of entertaining their kid.
Dani, get a clue, sweetie. Allowing your child to approach and even worse TOUCH strangers is NOT okay.

Ju February 26, 2009, 3:17 AM

When my daughter was around 6.5 mths, I was flying alone to Korea. My daughter sat in her carrier and was quiet. When she was older and could walk, again I was returning to Korea with her. I walked her down the aisle when the flight attendants were done and most people were napping, just to take bit of restlessness out. I ALWAYS stopped her if she tried to touch people. I am blessed with a wonderful travel-toddler. I don’t mind saying hello to a chubby-faced cutie, but really, you shouldn’t bother other passengers. It’s rude.

Wrapping Ideas For Baby Shower Gifts December 11, 2010, 8:51 AM

Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it’s a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.

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