By Jocelyn Jane Cox of The Home Tome
Dublin, OH– 3-year-old Liam Scanti recently flew with his parents from Newark International Airport to Columbus International to visit family in Ohio, but he was so quiet that most passengers didn’t even realize he was on board.
“There was a toddler on this plane?” businessman Bret Harold said with shock when we questioned him afterwards at baggage claim. “I didn’t hear him say a thing.”
“Yeah, I saw him get on in New Jersey and thought, this is going to be a long and loud flight,” said architecture student Rosie Smythe. “I figured the family must have had an emergency before we took off and de-planed because I didn’t see or hear of him for the whole two hours.”
We caught up with his mother, Jackie Scanti, while they were waiting for their rental car. The secret, she told us, was stickers. Thousands of them. In fact, they packed so many pages of stickers that they were unable to fit anything else in their carry-on luggage.
“There wasn’t room for snacks, or a change of clothes, or tissues, even.” Only stickers, and blank pieces of paper to stick them on. “I just have my ID and my ticket in my pocket,” she added, patting a huge duffel bag, presumably filled with stickers.
Scanti explained, “Look, it doesn’t bother me when other people’s kids are loud on planes – after all, the whole experience makes all of us feel a little bit like caged animals – but it does bother me when my kid is loud.” She continued, “And we have no problem with screens. In fact, I handed Liam my phone mid-flight so he could play a game… and it got completely covered in frog stickers in about 4 seconds.”
She held out her phone, the screen of which was, indeed, likely ruined by amphibious adhesives.
Flight attendant Victor Hartsell observed, “Frankly, I’ve never seen anything like it. You know how hummingbird wings flap so fast that they’re a blur? That’s how fast this kid was putting stickers onto paper – you couldn’t even see his arms in motion. But no complaints from me or other passengers: from what I just witnessed, we should probably be providing kids with stickers instead of ‘wing pins.’”
Scanti explained, “He recently got the hang of peeling them off the page himself. And since then, it’s been one big sticker fest.” She exhaled. “I suppose stickers are made of paper, and I don’t even want to think about how many trees we just killed, but traveling with a kid is… difficult. I figure you have to seize whatever they’re currently interested in and run with it. We’ve been making this flight to see family since he was born, and this is the first time I didn’t have to do a whole dog-and-pony show for the entire time. You know what I did instead? I flipped through the in-flight magazine. It’s not like I got to actually read any sentences or anything, but still.”
Liam’s father, Tom, lifted the flap of his messenger bag, which was full to overflowing with several reams of standard issue copier paper speckled haphazardly with dinosaur stickers, construction stickers, star stickers, puppy stickers, bug stickers, fish stickers, and even medieval-themed stickers featuring knights. He said, “It doesn’t really seem to matter what’s pictured on the stickers; it just seems to matter if they… stick.”
Their checked luggage? Also filled with stickers for the flight home. “We’ll probably purchase some more while we’re here, too, just to be safe,” Mr. Scanti said.
His wife added, “I know kids go through phases. I just hope he stays in this one for one more week through our return flight. Or I’d be fine with this for the rest of his childhood.” As she said this, she extracted a sticker from her hair.
Related Post: The Sticker Report
About the Author
Jocelyn Jane Cox is the mother of a toddler, a figure skating coach, and a nap-time writer with a weird penchant for decorative mushrooms. She is the author of The Homeowner’s Guide to Greatness and blogs about the adventures of parenting and home-ownership at The Home Tome. She can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.