If you hail from the planet Earth, you have probably read at least a dozen news stories and/or blog posts about this story of a woman and her toddler being kicked off a plane for committing acts of atrocity such as actually being a child. Don't even get me started on the attendant implying that this woman actually sedate her child with Benadryl!
Until today I was just generally enraged by this, but after reading a post authored by a supposed "intellectual"- on a network that is supposed to be for enlightened women... well, I nearly threw a clot.
This person did agree that what happened in the particular instance was horrible and unwarranted. She did agree that she has suffered all sorts of indignities and shocking behavior from other people while traveling, but she said that this behavior is no more bearable when coming from a child.
Her suggestion- to paraphrase, if I may be so bold- is that we should treat the shared space of an airplane much as we would treat a library, concert hall, museum and that it is not acceptable to bring out our worst behaviors while on a plane.
Though I agree with most of her (obviously childless) opinion, my opinion differs because having been a child myself and having had 2 children I have noticed a thing or two about the idiosyncrasies of ankle biters. AND though I agree that we are all responsible as humans to be on our best behavior while out rubbing elbows with the other 6 gazillion inhabitants of this planet, I believe there are just some things you cannot completely control.
If you are a reasonable adult and parent, try as you might, there are just some situations in which a child might act out. Like in the instance of a plane suddenly rocketing forward and/or said plane entering g-force factor 2, or the noise of take off increasingly becoming a high pitched roar... well, I would expect that some children might babble out of nervousness, screech out of fear, cry because the ear pressure is too much to take.
I would imagine that the only possible way to keep your TODDLER from acting like a toddler in this situation is to use tactics like threatening your children with physical harm and establishing a cycle of abuse to ensure that your child is adequately afraid of you. Hello- I've been there , done that. If you've been reading my blog for awhile now you know my opinion on child abuse, since I am a survivor.
So what should we do with these troublesome children? Should we institutionalize them all so that the older, disapproving or childless can be more comfortable? Maybe we should put them all on an island- a Kid-centration camp, if you will.
Better yet, why don't we just sterilize the whole planet so we can be rid of the nuisance of loud chatter, fruit punch stains, and the occasional projection of body fluids.
This reminds me of when Anna was just 2 weeks old, and we were out to eat breakfast with my mother before she flew back to Maryland. Anna started to scream because she was having a horrible bout of colic. An older woman in her 60's turned to her friend and said loudly that her "grandchildren never acted that way, and we should be ashamed to have the whole restaurant disturbed... if we were decent people we would take our screaming child out so people could eat in peace". I can't tell you how angry this made me.
I'm no hypocrite. Sure, when I was younger and before I had children, these things annoyed me. Yes, having a child stare at you while you are trying to eat a quiet meal out is annoying. As is having the back of your seat kicked, or having your ears bleed from the sonic boom of a new born, or being stuck with a crying baby on an 8 hour flight.
Now that I am a mom, I know better. And I would expect that being humans, that me and my children have just as much right to eat at a nice restaurant- whether or not they behave like model citizens- and enjoy a meal. You can't kick me and my child out of a restaurant, a library, or off of a plane just because my child is still honing their skills in appropriate behavior.
Well, I suppose you can, as evidenced by the latest news... but it's not going o be without ME making some noise about it too.
Though I am a believer of following through with punishments, there are just some things that we need to accept as ADULTS and human beings. Though I believe that we SHOULD teach our children to be considerate of others and to respect the sanctity of places such as libraries and museums, I think that we need to accept that on some level kids will be kids.
Yes, we are responsible for them and we are supposed to teach them basics like being quiet so that everyone in ear shot can enjoy their meal- including the parents who rarely get to enjoy their own meals before they have gotten cold. I agree that we should teach our children to respect others, and to respect the quiet of a library, and that common courtesy is the way to go.
BUT! As long as this world continues to make children, we have to accept that parents cannot control everything that their children do. Babies cry, toddlers chatter and children fuss. THAT'S WHAT THEY DO.
Further more WE are the ADULTS. As adults we are responsible for exhibiting good behaviors as role models such as patience, kindness and self control, are we not?
Can't we all stop being self absorbed idiots and just get along?