I’m sure Sam and I are not the only parents who feared their child’s first flight. We read up on ways to sooth Evelyn during take-off and landing. We found a cute idea of passing out ear plugs, candy, gum and a little note to passengers around us. We did everything we could to make the flight enjoyable for everyone. I don’t expect that all parents do the same thing, but I’m sure there’s at least a little anxiety and at least a little forethought on the possibility of a completely melt down. With that, I have compassion and patience with parents of crying babies on flights.
On my most recent trip to Texas, there were a few babies on the flight. Two of which were with just their mothers, alone. Both of these babies had little spouts of whining and crying, which to me was completely normal and expected. Apparently, the woman in front of me disagreed. During landing, one of the babies was crying for about five minutes when she literally shouted in a very demanding tone, “PUT YOUR THUMB IN YOUR CHILDS MOUTH ALREADY!” I was furious for the poor mother.
1. Don’t you think she knows that her child’s ears are hurting him?
2. Do you honestly think she enjoys hearing her own child crying?
3. If you have helpful advice, offer it in a helpful manner.
4. Don’t you see that she’s frantically trying to calm him down in every single way a mother can think of – if he doesn’t want to suck on something, you can’t make him.
5. Who are you to speak to anyone in that tone, let alone demand parenting techniques to strangers?
The whole thing baffled my mind and if she were to say that to me, I’d politely apologize for my child’s pain and thank her for her patience (let’s be honest, this would accompany a stern look and a less than pleasant tone). Instead, the frantic mother kept trying to calm her child while covering his mouth in hopes of muffling the cries. If she didn’t rush off the plane so quickly, I wanted to reassure her, she’s a good mom. No one deserves public humiliation when you’re main focus should be centered on taking care of your child.
As a traveling parent, I have sympathy to distraught children on planes. Not only are their schedules messed up, the different sensations of a plane ride can do a number to their little tummies, their ears may not pop on their own at different elevations and the idea of being up in the air could be extremely terrifying. Sticking your thumb in your child’s mouth (in most cases) is not going to be the answer to soothing a terrified child.
Come on folks let’s show a little bit of compassion, or if you really can’t handle a child’s cries, come prepared with ear plugs, headphones or better yet, a sedative. Thumper could help us all out in situations like these, “if you can’t say something nice .. don’t say nothing at all.”