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Awkward: Stressed out Father Lectures 6 Month old Baby on a Plane

planeMost of us who have had taken a baby on a plane have experienced the looks and stares from other passengers when they realize that you’re the person who is going to ruin their little plane ride. I’ve only flown with a baby or toddler three times, and I got those looks all three times.

On my last plane ride with Vivi a fellow passenger glared at me as I carried a jabbering Vivi down the aisle towards our seats. When I realized the guy was glaring at me for daring to bring my toddler on a plane, I glared right back at him. Memories of staring contests rushed to my mind as I stared at that old dude sitting in his aisle seat with his arms folded. He looked like he wanted to shoot laser rays out of his eyes at me.

Although it seemed like the moment lasted for minutes, it only took the guy five seconds or so to realize that I was no longer walking and that I wasn’t going to look away from him. I had absolutely no guilt that I was bringing a toddler onto that plane, and I wasn’t going to have any guilt if my toddler cried for all three hours of that plane ride.

Toddlers and babies get to fly on planes and people can deal with that little fact, or they can choose an alternate form of transportation.

And I’ll do what I can to keep my child as quiet as possible.

When I flew back to the United States from Mexico, I watched as another father received those same glares from fellow passengers. His seat was located directly in front of my seat. Sitting next to him was his 8ish-year-old son and next to his son were his wife and 6-monthish-old daughter.  His in-laws and his 4ish-year-old son were all seated in the row of seats in front of him.

The 6-month-old baby was in the middle of teething, and she was tired (I know this because the mother talked about it loudly to nobody in particular, but probably in the hopes that it would give some kind of an explanation to the other passengers as to why her baby was constantly crying). For the first one hour and 15 minutes of the flight, the mother sat there with the crying baby while doing everything she could to keep the baby from crying. The father didn’t hold the baby once, nor did he really do anything to help with the baby.

I was a bit disappointed with what I saw, but once the one hour and 15 minute mark of our trip hit the father had no choice but to take the baby, because mom needed to use the bathroom.

The mom handed the baby up to grandma to watch the baby. Thirty seconds later grandma needed to use the bathroom too, so she handed the baby back to a reluctant dad. The dad stood up with the baby and tried to bounce her into submission. He tried forcing a pacifier into the mouth of the baby, but no dice. The baby kept spitting the pacifier out of her mouth. Eventually the dad got frustrated and he began to lecture the baby about spitting out the pacifier.

I’m not writing about what I saw as a way of pointing out bad parenting. I’m sure the dad is a fine parent and there were valid reasons why mom handled most of the responsibilities. I’ll bet the dad doesn’t take to lecturing his 6-month-old baby all that often either, because I think the vast majority of parents realize lecturing babies is completely pointless. I’m writing it because I can all but guarantee that the dad resorted to that behavior because he was too worried about angering the other passengers on the plane. The stress on the faces of the mom, dad, and grandma was very apparent. They looked worried like the other passengers were going to somehow toss them off the plane and demand that the baby never fly again.

Too many people have complained about babies flying on planes. It makes parents worried and stressed about flying with their kids and they shouldn’t be. All the stress and worry only makes things worse and leads to more crying–and not always just from the baby, just ask Casey. None of the worry and frustration is necessary, though. Those babies and kids have every right to fly on planes and hopefully parents who fly with their children at some point recognize that and let all that stress and frustration melt away.

Photo Credit: Flickr

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