Listen up, idiot in seat 24D. Kids don't come with volume controls.
Vivian Manning-Schaffel: We were flying home from Florida the other day and man, we thought we had it right. For her first time flying out to see her grandparents, our youngest flew like a champ. I, thinking I was slick, offered to take the seat next to our 2-year-old on the ride home, thinking she'd pass right out (as she has the propensity to do in any other moving vehicle) around her naptime like clockwork. And I'd score two nonstop, luxurious hours to peruse a book that wasn't crafted out of cardboard.
So we taxi. I hand her a sippy cup to prevent ear-popping and we take off smoothly. Her eyes begin to droop, and I mentally pat myself on the back. Score! But once we get to our target altitude, the kid loses her everloving mind.
Girlfriend is wailing. And I mean WAILING. I ask if it's her ears a few times, and each time she nods "no," without so much as pausing to breathe.
I read every Elmo board book I have. I put on "Dora" and stick headphones on her. No dice. She's overtired and passing her "nap window," and it's anyone's guess when she'll decide to settle.
The nice man sitting behind me goes to fetch some snacks. No animal cracker, Terra Blue chip, or Cheddar Bunny will silence her. It is abundantly clear to anyone witnessing this display that I am pulling out all the stops to soothe her. And after a mere five minutes of this tirade, do you know what the 60-year-old gentleman across the aisle says to me?
"Do you think you can do something about her? She's really annoying."
Turns out the nice young man burdened with sitting in our row had a 1-year-old of his own. So he let the jackass have it. "She's a BABY. C'mon!"
I pipe in. "You were two once, too. And I'm sure you cried like this on occasion."
"Hippos Go Berserk" does the trick for about a full minute, but as soon as it's done, she resumes her hysteria. I hold her. I rock her. We walk the aisles. And as soon as we sit back down, she flips a switch and it's back-into-banshee-dom. And short of pulling a muzzle out of my ass (admirable trickery, but sadly there is none), there's nothing I can do.
To add to my misery, I overhear the jackass lady sitting one row in front of the first jackass ask the flight attendant if there is "anything she could do" about my kid!
I wanted to say this at the time, but I was obviously busy, so I'm saying it now:
"Lady (I mean, raging idiot), no one on earth longs for her silence more than I. But if kids came with volume controls, the need for pacifiers, earplugs, whiskey, and Xanax would be virtually obsolete. So unless you are prepared to offer me one or more of the aforementioned solutions, do us all a favor and shut the f*** up."
And if it's not blatantly obvious, I'm being facetious. Sort of.
My husband eventually pulls out what we call the "big guns" -- his iPod. An hour and a half after take-off, with a mere half hour left of the flight, she passes out to the soundtrack of "Yo Gabba Gabba." Ah! The solution. Who knew?
I'm sure you've been the parent of "that screaming kid" at one point or another. Short of slipping her a mickey, what's a parent to do? Do you have a trick to share that works in times like these?
|Vivian Manning-Schaffel has written for Babble, Parenting, The Advocate, The New York Post, Business Week and a variety of other publications and lives and works in the heart of breeder Brooklyn with her husband and two kids. She authors two pop culture blogs: The Mad Mom and A Hag Supreme, and is on the web at vivianmanningschaffel.com.|