You can't ban families with children from flying the friendly skies. I agree that, at times, kids don't make for the best travel companions, but I oppose any thought of grounding families like mine. With that said, I do believe it is the parents responsibility to do anything possible to control their children at the airport and on the plane. My husband and I travel with more than enough snacks, toys and coloring books to entertain our only daughter during a 4 and half hour flight. We make every effort to keep our little girl from screaming, crying or kicking the seat in front of her. After all, we remember how annoying it was to get stuck on the seat right next to the toddler before we had a child.
Well, my patience and understanding for a fellow passenger with kids was tested last Thursday when we were coming back from Puerto Rico. A mother boarded the plane with 2 little girls (both under 5 years old). The youngest screamed bloody murder non stop during 3 and half hours. At first, other passengers were sympathetically looking at this mother traveling alone with these girls, especially because she had the younger one on her lap. That was until we notice that this woman had no snacks, no books, no entertainment for either of the girls. She expected these children to sit for almost 5 hours staring at the seat in front of them. Actually, it seems she just expected the rest of us to deal with her daughters behavior because we never heard her trying to control the kids.
After 3 and a half hours, a mother of 3 sitting in front of me couldn't take the screaming anymore, and being a better person than the rest of us, she stood up and took the little girl away from her mom. She was about to show the child an iPad when gave her my old iPhone full of preschool friendly videos. The little girl was quiet for the rest of the flight. When we were told to turn off all electronics, a wave of panic swept all of us at the possibility that the screaming could start all over again. That's when I gave away my daughter's lollipops to both kids.
"Mama, what are you doing?" asked my incredulous but well behaved traveler/daughter.
"We are solving the problem, Amelia!" I replied.
The clueless mom never thanked the stranger who helped her with her 2 bored daughters. I did, I thanked her on behalf of the entire plane and of parents who understand that it is our right to fly with our children, but our responsibility to make sure they are in their best behavior. I also thanked her for showing me that, instead of complaining and passing judgement of fellow mothers, we have to help each other out, without expecting anything in return. Ay Mama!