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Traveling with LM (or, I don’t really want her to scream, either)

October 14, 2010

So DH, LM and I returned from a trip to Illinois last night.  I flew out with LM 10/4 and DH joined me on 10/8.  It was a nice trip, and LM has never had problems flying before, but I realized that we’d always had morning flights previously.  Now we were leaving around 6:30 pm and going backwards across two time zones on a 3 hour flight.  And DH wanted us to sit together but the only two seats available together were in the VERY back row…you know, the one that blows because the seats don’t recline.  So LM was a wiggle monkey/fussbutt the entire flight.  The (big) gentleman in the window seat clearly felt he had landed in purgatory, because there was a baby of almost identical age in the window seat right in front of him as well.  Various people kept shaking their heads or muttering to their seatmates about the fussing of both babies, and I got to thinking about what I’ve heard, that some surprisingly high percentage of people favor “family” zones on airplanes, or even child-free flights.

Now, the babies weren’t screaming or shrieking excessively; they were fussing the way tired babies do when every time they start to drift off, someone walks down the aisle to the bathroom and catches their attention.  I was never a fan of crying babies on airplanes (or anywhere else) before I had LM, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say babies should be banned from certain flights or areas of the plane.  Kids and babies are people too!  And the people around those children act like the parents planned the travel with the sole intent of disrupting their travel.  Hel-LO, I don’t want my baby to scream or cry either, because she is two inches from my ears!!  I am not here to ruin your day, I am just trying to take my baby to meet her uncle and grandpa.

I was thinking about what has gone wrong in our culture that people are so hostile to children, and I think it is two-fold.  1) I think people are more selfish then they used to be, and children require a lot of attention (and care and money) that people would apparently rather spend on themselves, engaging in such fulfilling activities as watching TV.  And 2) because lots of people have children that they don’t pay enough attention to (DWTS is on!!), those children do not have structure or discipline and then behave like wild animals in public.  Babies are a little different because you can’t discipline a baby, but then you use common sense and you don’t take babies to places where disruptions are not socially acceptable (movies, fancy restaurants, the reference section of the library).

Our culture has really pushed the very young and the very old out onto the fringes of society, and that is a shame because all the generations have something to learn from each other.  The elderly are the past, and they can remind us of lessons once learned and forgotten again (Great Depression, anyone?).  Babies and children are the future, and what are we saying to them if we don’t want them around?  It is one of my goals to make sure LM knows that she was wanted from her very conception, and loved by her family and the world into which she was born.

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