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Sam Dobson Writes: Mind Your Children

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mind Your Children

Good Morning and Happy Champagne Friday Everyone!

I hope you had a good work week, or if not good, at least uneventful. Mine has been nice and calm. Now that summer is over and the kids are back to school, vacations are limited and our seasonal business has slowed down quite a bit. It's a welcomed relief after what has been a chaotic and nonstop summer. Nevertheless, I did find a little time to take a vacation.

As I mentioned in my last post, I went to Disney World in Florida. Not exactly your lounging on the beach with margarita in hand kind of vacation, but it was a lot of fun. My family goes every couple of years and this year worked out to be an adult only trip, meaning no fussy kids and no waiting hours on end to meet Mickey or ride It's a Small World over and over again. This was my first trip to Disney World and I could hardly wait for everything, except the plane ride.

Like most scaredy-cats, I don't like to fly. In fact, I sometimes get anxiety about it, especially when there is some sort of delay. But I always suck it up and get my butt on that giant death capsule to get where I am going. The only thing that can make a flight worse for someone who is already so nervous they can't stop biting their nails is a screaming baby or toddler. Anyone who flies at least once every couple of years has had the honor of sitting near a relentless child.

I don't want to come off as one of those childless women who thinks she can raise her future children better (although I kind of do, a little bit), I've just seen enough good parenting to know when someone else isn't doing their job diligence. I've been around plenty of babies and have grown a pretty solid tolerance for the array of noises they can make, but a human being stuck inside a skinny airplane can only take so much. It would only make wicked sense that on our one hour flight from Orange County to Phoenix there would be nothing but the comforting noise of the engines working properly, but we were not so lucky on our four and half hour flight from Phoenix to Orlando.

The thing about crying babies on a plane is that they usually sneak up on you, so you haven't really prepared yourself for it. While getting on the plane, stowing your carry-on, and getting situated, the baby is silent and you don't even realize it's there. After take-off, the baby discards it's well-behaved disguise and the screaming commences. This is exactly what happened on our flight to Orlando, only multiply that by two. Yes, sitting one row behind us on the adjacent side was a single mother, no older than late twenties, and her adorable and unwavering crying twins, no older than two years.

When the screaming had continued on past an hour, my initial reaction was not simply annoyance, but anger. I turned around awkwardly in my seat to get a good look at the culprits only to see the mother completely ignoring one of her little girls. As she held one on her lap, she let the other scream and scream without so much as a comforting word. Now I felt terrible for this little girl. It went on for so long that a woman two rows up, with two teenage kids of her own, went to the neglecting mother and asked if she wanted help. You would think that a stranger coming over to help you with your tantrum-throwing child would be a wake-up call to be a better parent, but instead the mother accepted the help. The other woman sat in the seat next to the mother while lifting the ignored child onto her lap. The poor toddler immediately stopped crying. All she wanted was to be comforted! After a while, the woman got up and went back to her own kids and the little girl started crying again. The crying again escalated to screaming and the woman again got up to help. It went on like this for the entire flight.

Fast forward to yesterday while I'm browsing through Yahoo News, I come across an article about two new parents from San Francisco that had to fly to Washington DC with their three month old twins. The couple was so nervous about how the twins would handle the flight and did not want to annoy other passengers with nonstop crying. So, they made "apology bags" filled with candy, ear plugs, and a note "from the twins". Although the twins didn't make a sound during the five hour flight, the other passengers were grateful for the parents consideration.

This story restored my faith in the parents of America. This Champagne Friday, I will be toasting not only to these parents but to considerate parents everywhere! You are not only saving the sanity of the people around you, but you are also saving your children. Being ignored and left to cry for long periods of time (especially in public) can't do anything good for the kid's self esteem and well being. It's just bad parenting, and quite frankly it's mean.

Cheers to attentive parents!




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