Monday, July 23, 2012

Tiny Passengers

One of the least inspiring lessons I've learned as a new mother is that for some folks, behavior during air travel is how your parenting capabilities are measured.  It doesn't much matter that you have a happy, thriving child.  Can you keep that child's face-hole shut on a plane?

Earlier this month, Devin and I traveled eastward for some family time.  At 6 months old, it would be Oscar's first flight.  Of course I was nervous.  How could I not be?  I'd been on my fair share of flights with inconsolable babies.  I'd avoided making eye contact with the distressed mother as she paced the aisle of the cabin, bouncing and shushing her wailing bundle of joy.

Nobody likes a baby on a plane.  Babies sitting in supermarkets: delightful.  Babies on the beach: adorable.  Babies on planes: death stares.

I'm pleased to report, we did okay.

The first flight was a short burst from LA to Vegas.  He slept most of the time. And the time he was up, he smiled and did the cute-baby act.  The old woman sitting next to us was enamored and reminded us to get a picture of this important First.

During the short layover, he stayed in good spirits, amusing the group sitting across from us as the gate.  Though, we were in Vegas and they appeared to still be drunk so I think would've been amused by anything.

Oscar even wore his Syracuse shirt in honor of our trip
Later, he would have a massive poop-splosion and the shirt would arrive in Syracuse sealed in a plastic bag, buried in our carry on
When we seated ourselves (we were flying Southwest) on the second, longer flight from Vegas to Albany, we encountered our first real baby-on-plane haters.  We shuffled our way in to our seats, and were getting ourselves situated when the guy in front of us took a good look at who he was dealing with: a demon disguised as blue eyed 16-pounder, quietly and contentedly playing with a water bottle.  The horror!  He got his wife's attention, motioned toward us, and then they quickly got up and moved several rows back.

Here's where I learned another, better lesson as a new mom.  When people do stuff like this, you don't care.  If he didn't want to sit near us, fine.  Seeing as I had no idea what was in store, he may have had the right idea.  Who knows?

Eventually a very nice woman sat in the aisle seat of our row.  She didn't mind that she had to get up a dozen times as we made bathroom trips, or that Oscar kicked her in the arm when he was trying to get comfortable in my lap. 

By the way, I need to figure out the math on this, but somehow there is an effect of pressure, airspeed, or wing contour that causes a baby on a plane to triple in size for the duration of the flight. 

When we landed in Albany at 1am local time, a few of our fellow passengers commended us on doing such a good job and having such a good baby.  I wasn't sure how I felt about that kind if compliment, but I took it anyway.  And I sort of hoped the guy who switched seats overheard it.  So, okay, maybe I do care.  A little.

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