Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pedophobia... it's everywhere

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?


wolfbaby said...

the way i heard it this was beyond normal child antics. now me i know my kids are little rambunctious ankle bitters trust me... but if I can not get my kid to sit still in car seat or on plane trust me we ain't goin no where. thats just safty and my understanding is that was the situation on the plane...

don't get me wrong i totally agree people should be more tolerant towards children

but i also think parents don't pay near enough attention to there kids now days nad if they did they wouldn't be having some of the problems you hear about.

so i guess what im sayin is i wasn't there so i can't be completly up in arms cuase i don't know just how bad those kids were doin..

if they were doin like i heard and not even sitting in the seats for take off then yeah i agree with the actions of the company.. i wouldn't leave my driveway if my kids weren't in there car seats.

but if they were just being a bit loud then i agree with you..

Mert said...

The 2 or three sites I read about this incident said that this toddler kept saying "bye bye plane" on the flight. that was it, and then the attendant got upset and told the mom to "shut that baby up" then said something to affect of "it's called baby benadryl".

I didn't read anything abou the the toddler standing up.

I do agree with you that there are parents that ignore their children when they are being bad... I'm just saying that I am irritated with this overall attitude from old people, singles and the childless that any childlike behavior is bothersome to them... thus justifying kicking a toddler off a plane for just doing what kids do.

I do totally agree that the kids should be in their seats and the parents are responsible for keeping their kids calm. But sometimes there is only so much a parent can do.

Jeff said...

Yea I was pretty enraged when I heard about this. Especially the whole "Baby Benadryl" thing.

I agree people need to try to be more tolerant of others. When my children are misbehaving, I do my best to control them but kids will be kids. Heck, just as I'm typing this I had to tell my son to stop farting on my daughter.

Jeremy said...

I never got to the ww post cause this stopped me. I agree in general with your comments, but traveling as frequently as I do I have noticed that some parents are oblivious to what could be controlled behavior.

Trust me though I see more adults act like children and making other passengers mad than I ever see children. Some passengers have little or no tolerance for kids and even though I have two my last nerve may get tromped on after two weeks of city to city trip I am flying red eyed next to a family with a 4 or 5 year old who screams because she can't touch the light, or close the shade, or because she keeps slamming the table on the seat rest in front till the passenger has to ask the parents to intervene.

At that point I belive we move BOTH parents and children to the left side playground on the plane, with the smokers....

You know, out on the left wing. :-)

wolfbaby said...

ahh well if that is all the kid was doin then your totally right... like i said i wasn't sure what exactly had happend. I have heard several different versons though ya know?

with my little munchkins i totally get the times that they are just... all over the place!! the other day cookie was asking someone to take her toe nail polish off to put on her toes... and like goin up and touchin her toes (little flags on her toe nails) Im like cookie personal space darlin.. please

i get it i really do. love my kids but gosh wow can they pull crazy stunts :P

hope i didn't offend you any ok.

wolfbaby said...

dumb me i finally followed your link durrrr

ok that was bogus seriously i had heard a bout a different incident then this one and got them mixed up...

those people should publically apolgize and refund money seriously.. just from a kid talking? get real

Mert said...

Wolfbaby, no you didn't offend me at all sweets! I just thought maybe you had heard a different version than me.

I agree, mt kids are a handful too, just last week I was talking about them acting like animals while we were out.

I guess it just gets me steamed up when people lump all children in the same category- which is that they are all trouble makers and little beasts, and that all children misbehave 100 % of the time.

Also, it irritated me that this woman was posting that besically we should treat the inside of an airplane as someplace almost sacred... I was like give me a freakin break. Anytime you put a child in new surroundings they are most likely going to get antsy, not to mention if it involves something terrifying like traveling through the air at 500 miles an hour on a extremely bumpy and noisy bus in the sky... the whole while being forced to sit in one spot with a seat belt on.

I'm sorry, this circumstance is not at all like going to a museum or a symphony. Kids are gong to cry and scream and want their mommy and they don't understand why they cant get the hugs and kisses they normally would... so that probably makes it all worse for them.

But the woman that wrote the post today, well, she doesn't have kids so she expects them to be prefect little angels and sit quietly like they are at mass or something. It's totally unrealistic.

Don't get me wrong, I KNOW there are kids out there that don't know how to behave any other way but to misbehave. I think that pulling the hair of the person sitting in front of you or screaming in their ear to see them jump is a lot different than a sweet little 19 month old boy not being able to contain his excitement or agitation, and kept saying "bye bye plane".

Also, before I get off my soap box... LOL! It infuriates me that people that don't have children feel as if children should be seen and not heard, and totally take for granted that they are people and feelings too. I think sometimes single people see kids as nothing more than a nuisance, and I have had those people look at my girls with disdain for giggling a little too loud. Ummm, that's what little girls do, you grumpy old poop!:D

OK, I'm done... don't worry, I'll say again, I wasn't upset with you at all. I totally saw your point of view.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully we can agree to disagree on this one, ok?
I think when people are in an enclosed space, like a library or a concert hall or a plane, it's especially important to be respectful of each other's space. This means not being disruptive, not being a distraction, not being loud or rude. No matter HOW old you are. Whether you're one or ninety-one.
Politeness is getting more and more rare these days, and it's a shame.
I don't think it's too unreasonable to expect peace and quiet aboard a plane, or in a library, or in a museum.
I realize you disagree with this, and that's ok.
We can agree to disagree. :)

Mert said...

Anonymous, you certainly are entitled to your own opinion... that's what is great about blogging.

I think my point is being missed here, though.

Everyone, young and old , should be able to behave with politeness and concern for those around them.

It absolutely IS the parents job to instill these values in their children. However, it's simply not always possible for one's children to be well behaved 100% of the time.

You can't tell me that a 12 month old has the ability to control themselves all the time... we aren't born with good manner or self control. These things have to be taught and learned.

I am simply saying that infants and toddlers are learning and we can't expect them to act like little adults. Try as a parent might, we cannot control our children every second of the day. They are not machinery that we can program and we cannot turn them on and off.

There are lots of parents who DON"T care what their children are doing and what havoc they wreak. I'm not one of them. I'm just saying that there is a difference between an obnoxious child and a toddler who is just being a toddler.

In other words, if I may be blunt- shit happens.

What i can't understand is when children all of a sudden became creatures that are supposed to sit silent and not utter a sound. I guess it depends on a child's personality , but for the most part remaining soundless go against their nature.

Any reasonable person would understand this. I think in this particular case, the child and the mother did nothing wrong. She paid for plane tickets just like everyone else on that plane.

I'm certainly not going to stop traveling with my children just because another person has a bug up their butt. I will do the best I can to keep my kids calm and entertained, that's all I can do.

By the way, lets not forget about all of the noise that adults make... talking loud enough that they can be plainly heard 5 tables away... the racket that people make while talking on their cells no matter where they are... the amount of indiscriminate cursing that goes on right in front of my children.

I find that on a regular basis that adults are just as rude, loud and obnoxious as some children- and then some.

Modern Mami said...

All he said was bye bye plane?

I cannot believe this poor woman was kicked off just for that.

I have a 19 month old girl and she says stuff like that over and over.

It's cute, it's her learning to speak, it's her learning to express her feelings and connecting with the world.


Modern Mami

Not So Anonymous Michelle said...


I think that people need to be more understanding and I also think more parents need to learn how to handle their children. I think the plane situation is DEFINITELY a case though where the flight attendant was WRONG!

I think that there are a lot of parents that don't care if their kids are rude, I'm not one, I do my best to always control my daughter as much as possible and if I'm in a quiet place where I can take her to the bathroom or out of the area, back of the church, etc. I do whatever I can to try to minimize the damage if you will. But, people have to travel, we have to share spaces sometimes that are tight, where other people's behavior, young and old, is going to annoy us and we can't do anything about that. Sometimes there isn't a corner to sneak off to with an upset child. And in this case it wasn't even an upset child, sounded to me like a sweetie just learning to talk and as a proud parent I would have to say I think the parent and child should have been left alone and allowed to stay on the plane.

We had glares from an uptight guy in a family restaurant once when we were in England and it took everything in me not to slug the guy. Emma was just finding her voice, she was just 11 months old and learning, jabbering, saying mama, daddy when we'd leave the table, not screaming or crying, etc. It was a loud, crowded FAMILY restaurant and this man needed to go elsewhere if he was in search of a quiet meal. My husband made the mistake of telling me that when I was not at the table the guy said to him "can you quiet your baby down?"...OH MAN! I told my husband that it was a family restaurant and the guy can stick it if he doesn't like hearing a happy child...all the while glancing periodically at this jerk who wouldn't look my way. It took everything in me not to bitch slap him!

There are extremes in both directions, both sides to the story, I hate overgeneralizing and get really annoyed if my child is assumed to be TERRIBLE TWO or anything else. Same goes for any overgeneralizing that gets done about adults. It's just not right.

Holly Schwendiman said...

It's always the extremists that make me punchy. Minorities gain so much power these days. It's one of the reasons I'm not as conservative on my political views. I think it's sad that more often than not kids are trampled under the feet of ignorant adults.


Virginia, like the state! said...

Hmm, seems like there's a division between the mommies and the an extent. I admit that I've been annoyed by a child kicking my seat on a plane or running around a restaurant and bumping into me. In these instances, I always wait to see what the parent does. If they at least make an attempt to quiet him or her, my annoyance level pretty much goes away. Because you're right. Kids are kids. They fidget, they cry, they run around. That's to be expected.

I can't even begin to imagine how hard it is to be a mom. It requires a lot more patience than I think I possess at the moment! I've always told Jason that to be on the safe side, our kids aren't going anywhere until they're old enough to go to school! :) Otherwise, God help my little critters if they catch me on a PMS day! Hee...

Slackermommy said...

I totally agree with you. This story really hurt a nerve with me unlike the other story about the child having a temper tantrum. In that case it did appear to me that this child didn't have many limits or expectations of good behavior.

We travel by plane often with all 4 of our kids. All of them have flown since babies. I fortunately have had mostly positive experiences. Most of the flight attendants were helpful as well as nearby passengers. We flew 2 weeks ago and as I was getting everyone situated in their seats my 18 month old started crying. The woman behind me made a comment that it was going to be a long trip. My baby stopped crying once I had her settled with a drink and snack. She was perfect the rest of the flight. The woman who made the rude comment? She conversed with her companion in a loud annoying voice the entire flight. I found it highly irritating especially while I was trying to get the baby to fall asleep. At the end of the flight she made a comment about how good my children were. Do you know how bad I wanted to make a sarcastic comment about how annoying and rude she was?!

My kids know how I expect them to act on the plane and there are consequences if they don't. I bring plenty of snacks and things to do. But when they are babies you can't control their crying or laughing. I do my best to keep them happy and comfortable but like you said I cannot control air pressure, turbulence, etc. Just like a person with a cold who coughs or clears his throat the ENTIRE plane ride. That's annoying but am I going to make the person feel bad about it or have them kicked off? Of course not. If people are that sensitive to the cry or babbling of a baby then bring ear plugs. I have never heard a baby cry an entire plane trip. They usually fall asleep from exhaustion or finally find something to comfort themselves. I HAVE been on flights where an adult coughed, sniffed or talked loudly the entire plane ride.

The biggest reason this particular story hit a nerve with me is because my oldest has Tourette's syndrome. My daughter currently doesn't have a verbal tic where she repeats phrases but it can happen. When she's nervous her tics worsen. What if her tic was to repetitively say "Bye Bye plane" during take off? Once calm she would stop but I hate to think that if that would ever happen we may be kicked off. Would they kick off an adult with Tourette's? Where's the tolerance? In my opinion if you choose to fly then you are choosing to put up with some minor annoyances that come along with flying. There may be a crying baby, giggling kids, coughing, talking loud, someone listening to music you hate, body odor, a large person who infringes on your space, etc. Be kind. Most likely the person annoying you already feels bad about it. I think out of control kids really don't happen that often for all families traveling with children to be prejudiced against. My hubby travels nearly every week and sees more adults behaving badly than children as well as my sister who used to be a flight attendant. Give us a break people. Our children are just as entitled as you are to fly on planes and dine in restaurants. Don't judge us all because of a few bad eggs.

Stephanie said...

I would love to see them keep a child behaving - how did you put it? - like they are in a library, concert hall, museum. Do they have any idea what it is like to be a baby or toddler. The hard reality is that at birth we are real living beings with free will and the whole shebang. You can't make a toddler hold still for however long. It just isn't possible. His nature is to explore (surroundings, people, ect.) because that is how he grows.

Now I am not saying that it is OK to disrespect the other passengers or have no regard to their flight.

But how about some regard for the mom who plans out exactly how to keep her toddler as happy and pleasant as possible so that he is merely talking instead of being as explorative or bored as he would have been otherwise.

How about some regard for the toddler who is expected to be pinned down and silent and doesn't understand why.

You have to travel. So do they. If you are in pain or sad or unhappy or hungry I can't just tell you to stop being so and expect it to happen. You can't expect a toddler to either.

diana said...

i can't agree with you more. i think it was an unfair situation for the mom and child on the plane. from what i heard, they had been sitting on that plane for hours. that's enough to make anyone cranky (including the flight attendant).

but people need to be more tolerant of children. like you said, most of the time it's just normal child behavior. let's let children be children.

Emma said...

To start off with, I have two young children, so nobody accuse me of being an intolerant/naive/childless woman.

I agree, the Benadryl incident was very out of line.

I also would have no problem with crying children if there were restaurants and other places that were for adults only - but most often, what I've found is an outraged cry from parents who think their children should be allowed absolutely everywhere.

If parents have a right to complain about the world their children are exposed to in public forum (television and radio included), then others have a right to complain about children in a public forum.

If there were adults-only venues, then those who are annoyed with children will have no room to complain - if they don't like it, they can go elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I personally cannot STAND being around small children, but it is something I have to live with and accept. I realize that parents can't always control their children, and that children scream and cry, and run under foot.

That being said, there is a flip side. There are some parents out there who just don't care to try to curb raucous behavior, or bring their children to mostly adult locations. I understand taking your kids to a family restaurant, but bringing toddlers and babies to poetry readings at a coffee shop, an artsy film, or an expensive restaurant is not acceptable in my mind unless you are willing to leave if the child gets loud and won't stop.

Yes, it is important to expose children to culture, but if the child is screaming and not paying attention, they are going to get nothing from the experience.

Then there are the parents who let their children literally run amok, or the women with baby strollers who push their way through a crowded area without regard to other people. If your children are running around, throwing things at people, and grabbing things off of shelves, you need to leave immediately. No discussion.

Terran N. said...

I hope you people don't plan on mentally attacking me, and I hate to say it, but I have a deep fear and dislike of children.

I'm a normal 15 year old caucasian male. Well, normal besides the fact I homeschool, made myself jewish by name, and am vegetarian. Anyhow, I don't know why, but small children under the age of 6 at minimum scare me to death.

I wouldn't hurt one of course, my sister is 6 going on 7, but I won't go near them. My parents keep fighting with me because I won't watch over my sister or such. I try to love her as I love my parents, but It's...I start getting sick and weak, my head spins, and I start shaking all over. I once almost screamed and ran away when a 4 year old ran up and patted my leg in a subway.

I also have a phobia of clowns, dolls, and spiders, but they are not near to my phobia of children - I don't get any effects, only fright...I worry that people will take this the wrong way, I think you can see how, so I've kept it secret.

Since I was seven or eight, I suffered from something called 'Touretts Syndrome'. I won't explain it in detail, but I had it quite bad. I truly want to get rid of my fear of children, but I can't seem to be able to. Since I don't talk about it, my parents and friends don't understand.

I tried watching horror movies like chucky, but that didn't bother me at all. Only kids in real life.

OH, and the movie Pet Semetary by Steven King...1989 I think, had a 'Ressurected' demon child. It's a good movie...But...Jeesh. I fainted. FAINTED. A 15 year old guy. Fainted dead away...

I can watch any horror movie fine. Anything from Zombies to clowns will be OK. (Though clowns still scare me alot, I'm not affected by the least). I'm not a very brave person, preferring to run in a fight-or-flight situation. As long as I can remember, children have scared me...Do you think any of you could help? Please?

I feel cut off from people, even though I like being a black sheep (Different from others...)

Well, It's 2:27 AM, I'll be heading. I'll check back every once in a while, maybe someone will reply...Hopefully...

And yes, that's my real name.

Anonymous said...

Just came across this. You make some interesting points. But, I am dumbfounded by some of your comments. Why would you choose to take a 2 week old infant with colic to a restaurant? This is your burden, not the burden of the general public.

I have the right to enjoy a meal out without enduring persistent screaming, which by the way, does ruin the experience for most people, fear of children or not. I will never understand why a parent would insist upon their right to be in a restaurant when they are knowingly bringing a disruption in the form of an agitated infant. Of course you won't be able to control the screaming. How very selfish of you to think other people should endure this along with you.

Part of the sacrifice you make in being a parent is to skip some meals out. Infant who won't stop screaming? In a nice restuarant? Completely inappropriate. Thumbs up to the woman who said out loud what others were too timid to say to you in that scene. I would do the same, in hopes that you would make a different decision the next time.

Have you considered that of the many other tables in that restaurant, some may be celebrating, some may be looking for an intimate moment, some may be breaking their budget to do something very special. Think of the many meals and experiences that were tainted, even ruined that day because you insited you had the right. You had options. Order out. Have mom cook. Pack up the meal and take it to go when you realize the screaming won't stop. A screaming, sick baby needs your attention. Not the attention of an entire dining room. Shame on you.

Mert said...

First of all Anonymous... I have a problem with people who make blanket statements as to my rudeness or inappropriateness under "anonymous". Put your name to it! Show some courage! I NEVER post anonymously. But, it is your opinion and you are entitled to it, just as I am entitled to mine.

Second: this post is 4 years old for Pete's sake.

Third: I was a new first time mom and my child had not yet been diagnosed with colic. We had no idea. As a mom of 3 now, my 3rd child having had colic, and I KNEW right away having has some experience under my belt... well we pretty much at at home or got take out.

Again I say... children are unpredictable creatures. If you had read the entire post you would have read :"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?"

I have left a restaurant/store when my child has fussed and I was not able to get them under control (whether it be an infant or toddler). I have done everything that a mom should do.

Shame on me??? Shame on anyone who judges anonymously to avoid backlash. Shame on the millions of adults and old people who act like idiots in public everyday but no one is throwing them out. Since when is it GOOD behavior to assume a person is bad because their undiagnosed child is crying??? Since when is is good behavior for an old fart to basically yell at me for it, under the guise of making a comment to someone at their table?

Go take you anonymous blathers some where else, go troll on some one else's 4 year old blog post.

Just my opinion, naturally.

Mert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mert said...

ALSO, just curious... do you have nothing better to do than to read 4 year old blog posts? I would suggest a hobby... I have a few in mind if you are interested. :) Photography is making a comeback, I am enjoying a bit of that myself. Wine tasting? ORIGAMI!!! I have always wanted to try that though I don't think I have the patience.

Now I'm just giggling. I am no longer upset at your response . I really do hope you enjoy the rest of your day, despite our differences.