It doesn't take much for a parent to get thrown off an airplane these days. Just recently, an Atlanta mom and tot got booted from an Oklahoma bound flight because her three-year-old son insisted on repeating "Bye-bye plane!" before take off. He wasn’t having a meltdown or anything, he just wouldn’t stop talking. Is it her fault the kid is precocious? You’d think there’d be a warning on the
Brainy Baby DVDs.
Whatever the case, if that's how airlines roll (fly?) these days, I’m definitely in trouble. Each of my kids has the gift of gab and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. My oldest came out of the womb reciting Langston Hughes poetry. Her younger siblings, while currently only fluent in toddlerspeak (or pigeon English, Farsi or Mandarin, depending on the day) are quickly working their way up the precocious scale as well. I’ll admit it’s (mostly) adorable, but I can totally see how someone sitting near us on a plane might be tempted to reach for their stun gun.
My kids aren’t the only little ones that won’t stop talking, Manhattan’s got thousands just like them (they’re thick on the Upper West Side but you really can find them all over). So maybe it's time that airlines try and make flights more kid friendly (not banning sippy cups might be a start ) and begin thinking of ways to keep every passenger — including parents — sane.
Instead of glaring at children while the plane taxis before takeoff, flight attendants could give out crayons. And would it kill them to provide some stickers? At the very least, the latest B-movie — that no one under seventy is interested in seeing anyway — could be replaced by pixar hits that both parents and their offspring can enjoy (there’s only so much Sandra Bullock one can take).
In my mythical friendly skies, there'd be a "kiddie class"— sectioned off by a curtain (that’s preferably sound proof). Nursing moms could feed without wondering if Barbara Walters is going to lean over and say something she could have saved for The View. Chatty toddlers could chat, fussy babies could fuss and whiny children whine while we enjoy some chardonnay. All moms would get complimentary neck and shoulder massages as the kids watch Dan Zanes videos. And let’s not forget the free juice boxes.
But alas, genteel breeders, the entire world does not cater to the needs of the sophisticated, young family . We should probably just shut up and be thankful for Baby Loves Disco and Ikea. Of course we could complain, but it would be pointless (and besides, if everything was designed for the 21st century family…what would be left to complain about?). By the time the airlines give us a break, our kids will be way past the pull-up stage, anyway. At that point, we’ll be back to our old jet-setting ways, skipping off to the south of France while the tweens are off at summer camp.
Yeah, as it turns out there’s not only life before the kids, but after them, too. Unfortunately, we can’t get there with frequent flier miles…but I’ve heard it’s worth the trip.
On Friday my posts also appear as an online column for Time Out New York Kids. Visit them at Time Out New York Kids for more city-specific parenting tips and diversions. The regular column is called Not the Nanny, which pretty much answers the crazy looks I sometimes receive when I'm out and about with my rosy-cheeked son.