You know, *those* parents? The ones with the kid on the plane that everyone is annoyed by? Yeah… that would be us last Sunday. It was absolutely us.
Scott has some business to take care of this week back in our old stomping grounds, so we took off on a 2.5 hour flight to DC from Dallas at 8:30 in the morning. I’m not even going to go into detail about how hellacious it was to actually get there, or tell you more than we got there just in time, but our baggage was delayed by a couple hours. No biggie, if that had been the worst of it, I would have been fine. But, of course, it wasn’t.
Unlike my last flight with Kendall, this one was actually terrible. Granted, it was longer, and he’s stronger, but it also seemed like a much more hostile, tense environment. Very judgy. I was edgy from the moment we walked on after we were greeted by a chorus of sighs and groans and eye rolls when they saw my HAPPY child come aboard. We didn’t opt to buy the extra seat for him because, well, we’re cheap like that (even though I did struggle with the safety issue of it). And, honestly, I think the only person who would have benefited from the extra seat would have been Scott because it just would have meant that his lap would have been freed up, not that the noise Kendall was making would have stopped. In fact, had we brought his car seat on board for that extra seat and strapped him in, I’m pretty sure it would have been worse.
Here’s the thing, though, it’s not like Kendall screamed and cried the entire flight. Not at all. Sure, there were a few moments of frustration that came to a boiling point, followed by brief outbursts, but this was certainly not how he behaved even 20% of the flight. I knew it was going to be a long ride when, after only 10 minutes, the frat boy in front of us started huffing and puffing and audibly rolling his eyes every time Kendall would say, “Uh Oh!” and laugh. Sure, he was loud. My kid does not have volume control… or at least I’ve yet to find it, but he wasn’t screaming in this guys ear either. I finally leaned forward and said, “Yeah.. we get it… Uh huh… we gotcha… you’re annoyed.. point made.” He looked shocked that I would even say anything, turned around and said, “Well… it’s not that… it’s just… he keeps waking me up!” To which I replied, “We are doing our very best to keep him quiet,” and not another word or glance was exchanged between us from that point on. It was going to be too long of a flight to put up with his passive aggressive bull shit, so I’m glad I said something early on. And we were trying very hard.
We had a bag of tricks. It was full of all sorts of new toys and books and snacks galore. Each time Kendall got loud about something, we did our best to distract him. I’d say this worked pretty well for the first hour and a half. Well, what worked the best was the snacks. We just kept feeding him, which of course made the judgy woman to my left give me all sorts of snide looks. Yeah, that’s right. I’m stuffing my kids face to keep him quiet. Judge me. I even gave him two lollipops while on board. Sure, you think I’m that parent that over indulges my child and gives in to his every whim. How wrong you are. The thing is, *I’m* fine with hearing him scream and whine. *I* listen to it ALL DAY LONG. I have no problem telling him NO, but something tells me *now* is not the time to discipline a toddler.
It was exhausting, literally. We busted our asses to keep him entertained and as quiet as possible. And you know what? I am proud of him. I am SO proud of him for the way he behaved. My nearly 18 month old, who is used to tearing around my house and Gymboree and the park from 8:30 to 11 every day, sat on his father’s lap and didn’t even have an all out tantrum. And if he had, I would totally understand. That’s what was killing me. All these people and their sighs and their eye rolls, they had no idea how GOOD he was being. And since when does a Sunday morning flight = right to complete silence? It is unreasonable to expect a toddler to be silent or even quiet for two hours, and it’s unreasonable to expect that you will be on a plane with no toddlers.
So, yeah, I guess we were “those parents”, but I really don’t know how we could have avoided it, short of tranquilizing him, which, TRUST ME, the thought crossed my mind many times. We are already dreading the flight back home, and wondering what on earth we can do to make it easier on all of us.
Kendall is 17 and a half months old