Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Babe In Flight

I heard the screaming child before I saw her. In the arms of her dad, thrashing about.

"Oh, boy," I said to myself. "I sure hope my seat on the plane is located completely opposite as their seats."

It wasn't.

The couple sat in the seat directly in front of me. With their screaming kid.

During the 3 hour flight.

Surrounding passengers seemed to be handling the cries of the wee babe well enough, yet I somehow felt they were deeply irritated.

Like me.

As a mother of three, teacher to thirty, I definitely sympathized with the couple. I've been there, once or twice. But I was hoping for some much needed solitude right about then.

Since there was no getting away from the screams, I began to reflect on how the parents must have felt.

Embarrassed. Overwhelmed. Confined.

I overheard the mother tell the father to "stop!". I'm pretty sure he was setting the child on the floor, between his feet, to hopefully muffle the babe's piercing cries. Listening to the mother he, once again, placed the child on his lap.

"Is she hungry?" a kindly steward asked.

"I think it's her ears," the mother quietly answered.

"The seatbelt light is off. You can walk her up the aisle. See if that helps," he offered.

The mother did just that.

I could hear the screaming until I couldn't. Maybe she went into the bathroom. Or maybe she was pacing in the rear of the plane. Not sure. All I knew was that it was finally peaceful.

About 20 minutes later, the mother returned with a sleeping babe in her arms.

Sleeping for an hour or so. Then the screams began once again.

I choose to remain calm within, even though my headache was escalating. I sympathized with the child. All she knew was that she was in pain and simply didn't know what to do about it except scream.

After what seemed like forever, the flight ended. So did the little girl's screams. She was smiling. Happy. Her dad raised her up. Keeping her entertained. She looked at me. Smiled. "DaDaDaDaDaDa," she said to me.

"Hello. I am so glad you are feeling better," I told her, knowing she didn't understand my words but, I am pretty sure she did understand my smile. Her mom turned, looked at me, and smiled.

Headache still present, I felt it was not much compared to the babe's pain.

I walked off the plane, looking for some Advil.


  1. Never fly without the stuff. Btw, they usually travel back to the galley. Sigh. You're a class act Daph, but I knew that already. :)

  2. it was so nice of you not to make comments or give nassty looks directed toward the parents.

    I worked in the travel industry and we would tell parents of young children to give them gum to help the pain of their ears. But there is nothing you can do for a baby. It's painful for babies and they don't tell parents this enough.

    I myself don't have children but always hate to see other passengers giving dirty looks or sighing or making the parents feel worse. There isn't much they can do.Back in the old days when people went to travel agents they were told these things and given some tips. Baby benadryl but ..... :-)

    I'm sorry you didn't get your rest! I hope your flight back is without incident and is quiet.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. All I know is I sure wouldn't want irritated looks when there is nothing I could do to help the child. I prefer a calm attitude rather than working myself up.

    Kelly and Peg..... Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  4. I appreciate your compassion for the baby. I don't know about that little one, but I am a white knuckle flyer and if I could cry like a baby in flight - I would! Nice story.

  5. Your kind of response is a gift to the world! We need more of that kind of patience.

    Speaking for the Dad, I say "Thank you"!

  6. Thank you beachlover and mike... It's nice to know that kindness is still recognized. Happy Thanksgiving.

  7. I have been that mom and I know the sadness involved. I think your kindness is the very most those parents could ask for under the circumstances. A binky would have helped, maybe, but some babies just cry. We bottled fed hungry babies from take off and tried again just before descent. It helps a lot of they are sucking. Too late for that advice! Anyway, you are remarkable, and we all knew that already.