Before Stu and I had Beckett, we traveled quite a bit. I collected new destinations like coins in my pocket; I carried the memories of each one everywhere I went and liked the way they sounded as they clinked together. Paris. London. New York. Clink.
Adding new ones made me feel rich. Basically the only thing we had to think about when preparing for a trip was which AirBnB looked the prettiest and how much Stu was going to hate me in the week leading up to the trip as he has a severe phobia of flying. In other words, traveling was a piece of cake (for me)!
As it turns out, hopping on a flight, whether it’s 8 hours or 45 minutes (we have braved both), looks a lot different when you have a baby in tow. It brings a new set of challenges, but actually is not impossible. The first time we took Beckett on a plane, he was 6 weeks old. I was concerned, but not so much about how he (or Stu) would fare at 30,000 feet. I was worried about my fellow passengers.
As a childless person, I have flown on many a plane and rolled my eyes at many a screaming baby (and the stressed-out parents accompanying them). I understand that it is not a treat to be seated next to these people, but recently have come to understand that it is even less a treat to actually be them. So this is my disclaimer. I understand why people feel this way about flying babies, because I have actually been one of them. Not a flying baby. A flying baby hater. But now that I have been enlightened, I can write blog posts like this one that is sure to unite both sides and create peace and harmony on airplanes worldwide henceforth. I would also like to say that my fears have (so far) been unfounded, as on each of the 8 (yep, 8) airplanes we have been on so far, our seatmates have been nothing short of lovely. So thank you, wonderful seatmates of the world!
I follow a page on Facebook that allows people to make discussion posts to seek advice on a variety of travel-related topics. Recently, a lady posted a question asking for tips regarding traveling to Europe with a 10 month old. The first responses were not little nuggets of wisdom shared by fellow parents who have been through it and wanted to help her out, but rather, simply stated, “Leave them at home” and “Get a babysitter”. LOL!!!!!!! I love these types of responses because they pack a double punch of both wit and insight. You really can’t ask for more.
Immediately, I started to imagine all of the responses I could make to these jokesters but quickly realized that arguments in the comments section of a two-week old discussion thread are far less rewarding than those I have in my own head. This is because in my make-believe arguments, I always, always win. So that’s what I’m going to share with you now.
WHY BABIES SHOULD NEVER TRAVEL ON AIRPLANES: MY IMAGINARY ARGUMENT WITH A MAN ON THE INTERNET
Man: Babies should never travel on airplanes, and I am here to tell you why!
Me: Please share your opinions with me. I can’t wait to hear them!
Man: I want to enjoy a hard-earned getaway, which I have been looking forward to for a very long time!
Me: I also want to enjoy a hard-earned getaway, which I have been looking forward to for a very long time.
Man: I want to make happy, lasting, memories with my family/spouse/friends/dog/fellow Internet commenters and I don’t want a bad trip on an airplane to spoil them!
Me: I want to make happy, lasting, memories with my family/spouse/friends/dog/fellow Internet commenters/baby and I also don’t want a bad trip on an airplane to spoil them.
Man: Babies hate airplanes and it isn’t fair for you to put them through such an ordeal!
Me: You know what else my baby hates? Naps. His carseat. Cottage cheese. But since I am the parent and he is the baby, I get to decide if he is going to try these things or not. Also, you know who hates airplanes more than my baby? My husband. And yet, here we are.
Man: Why don’t you wait until your baby is older so that he can actually remember and enjoy this trip with you?
Me: By that logic, I suppose I shouldn’t feel guilty if I cancel trips to the pool or stories at bed time as my child is too young to currently remember or enjoy them. But on the off chance that he might find a trip to the beach enjoyable, I think that now would be a good time to go as I am currently on maternity leave, which means I don’t have to book off vacation time or wait until Christmas Break or summer vacation (which just happen to be the most expensive times to travel). Also, would you like to go ahead and put your travel plans on hold for another 8-10 years? Yeah. Me neither.
Man: Babies should only travel by air if it’s absolutely necessary, like for a funeral.
Me: So, what you’re saying is that I should only let my long distance friends and relatives see my baby if they are dead, and not before then.
Man: Isn’t it a lot of stress and work to go on a vacation with a baby? Wouldn’t it be nicer for you to just stay at home? Or wouldn’t traveling by car be easier?
Me: Actually, the staff at the airport and on the airline have been incredibly accommodating and helpful. Thank you for your concern. Traveling with a baby can be a lot of work, but it definitely pays off in the end. Believe it or not, it is far easier to travel on an airplane than it is in a car, as we can actually interact with our baby and keep him entertained, which we try our very best to do in order to avoid temper tantrums on the plane. If you are concerned for the well-being of parents and their babies on your airplane, feel free to offer a hand, or even just a smile! This can be very encouraging and helpful.
Man: Remember what I said before? Just leave the baby at home and enjoy yourself!
Me: You’re right. 24 hour childcare is both readily available and inexpensive, so I will definitely pursue that option. If I am unable to find someone to care for my child, perhaps I can ask the kennel where my cats are staying if they would provide a reasonable rate for my baby as well.
Man: You have made me see the error of my ways! I now understand why parents take babies on airplanes. I am sorry for the stress and pain I may have caused you. I will now retire from making hilarious remarks on the Internet.
Me: Please understand that I am not angry. We can all be friends on the Internet and the aeroplane. Let us all go enjoy a celebratory beverage together, as comrades.
Man: Only if I’m buying!
And there you have it! Another victory to add to my very extensive list of imaginary Internet arguments.
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