Newark, NJ — You know that crying child sitting behind you on the airplane? She and her parents actually have nowhere of importance to be.
She is there for the sole purpose of making your flight unbearable.
This reporter went undercover to crack open a conspiracy that people with no capacity for empathy and large sticks up their asses have suspected for years: that there is never a reason for a small child to fly on an airplane. They are planted there by sadistic parents to make your flight as miserable as possible.
After 40 weeks of building my credibility within this group of twisted parents, I finally got accepted as one of them and witnessed first-hand the sick pleasure they got from ruining other people’s peaceful flights.
They hold secret meetings where they laugh maniacally about how much their children’s mere presence tortures the other passengers. And so, with courage, cunning and creativity, I managed to record one mother as she broke it all down for me.
What follows is an exact transcript of her confession:
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Kids don’t ever have to fly on planes. They never have to attend a grandparent’s funeral in another state. They are never invited to be a flower girl or ring bearer in a relative’s wedding. Their parents never want to take them to family reunions or on special vacations or to get second opinions from faraway doctors. We say that stuff to get some sympathizers on our side. That’s the fun of it — to try to fool the whole plane into thinking we’re really earnest parents trying our best to keep our kids quiet, occupied, happy, and still.
We bring snacks and iPads and new toys onto the plane, and we blog about toddler travel tips just to throw mainstream society off our tracks. We pretend that we’re stressed about an upcoming flight and go over our checklist of supplies obsessively only for the benefit of others.
We may appear to be frazzled as we bounce a crying baby in the rear of the plane, but we’re not. We secretly love when our child kicks the back of your seat. We are overjoyed by the dirty looks we get for nursing or pumping at our seat and feel satisfied when we get just as many scowls when we occupy one of the smelly bathrooms to do it in private.
We have most of our fellow travelers fooled, but there’s always that one person who’s on to us. Typically, it’s someone who doesn’t spend a lot of time near children and has outdated or absolutely no experience raising one. They’re always quite surprised when flying isn’t a spa-like experience. Honestly, though, the guy farting in 11B and the woman eating a tuna fish sandwich in 19A really should have tipped them off to the fact that flying in coach is more like a glorified trip on a city bus.
They feel compelled to tell us all of the ways our child disrupted their flight. Most of the time they wait until the very end of the flight to do this, so they can scurry off and savor the last word, and that’s fine. We’re obviously aware of our kids’ annoying antics, since we secretly egged them on. We choreograph the entire event and run through flight simulators prior to boarding to really perfect the timing of shrieks on overnight flights and poopy diapers during turbulence. Still, it’s fun to hear it recapped, to know that our efforts didn’t go unnoticed and that the children were just as terrible as we’d hoped.
If you are as disturbed as I am by this account, here’s what you can do to put an end to this cruel and unusual sport:
-Resist your desire to give dirty looks; the parents feed off of these.
-Completely ignore parents who are attempting to keep their children calm and engaged. It will totally ruin their day.
-Compliment parents when their children rebel against their disruptive plans and sleep or sit quietly. It will break their resolve.
I urge you, don’t let these parents win. Cut them the slack they so desperately don’t want.
About the Author
Rebecca Lang is a contributing writer for San Francisco Moms Blog and has been published on a variety of parenting sites. She writes about stay-at-home moms, preschool and the playground but swears she can talk about non-mom stuff in real life. Follow her at BeckyRebecca.com and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.