Hot on HuffPost Parents:
Kids and planes
As I type this I'm on a plane traveling to San Francisco for BlogHer, and seated behind me is a small boy, sitting between his parents. I'd guess he's somewhere in that troublesome zone between 18 and 24 months, which is to say he's got a fair amount of control over his running and screeching abilities but is clearly still unpredictably Godzilla-esque in his motor functions and generally seems to be, well, let's not mince words: a major pain in the ass to deal with.
He's kicking the seat of the fellow sitting next to me (earning his mother a grumpy complaint: "Hey, can you keep him from doing that?"), he's wailing almost nonstop, he's whining and crabbing and his high-pitched irritating voice is causing all of passengers within the nearest five rows to roll their eyes and shift uncomfortably in their seats.
This is the sort of seating arrangement that has always annoyed me in the past: you pay hundreds of dollars for the dubious privilege of being treated like a frothy-mouthed terrorist as you stagger through various unpleasant security measures until you're finally squashed into your rigid chair, at which point the person in front of you lowers their seat into your lap, you're served a packet of pretzel salt as a meal (if you're lucky), and your flight is delayed several hours, giving you plenty of time to appreciate the screaming snot-nosed rugrat at your side, fully engaged in the activity of making your travel time even more miserable than it already was.
This time, though, I just feel sorry for the parents, and I feel bad for the kid, who's surely bored and cramped and just as uncomfortable as the rest of us -- his only crime is that he's too young to socially conform, to suck it up and sit quietly for several hours while his bladder threatens to explode, his eardrums bulge painfully, and his brain slowly atrophies from boredom without even the benefit of an overpriced gin-and-tonic to help the time go by.
I am, however, unbelievably thankful my own kids aren't with me, and that I don't have to deal with air travel and small kids any time soon. There but for the grace of etc, etc, etc. I'd like to think I could stop my own kid from kicking seats or acting like a miniscule jackass, but, ah, I can't guarantee I could -- not without a straitjacket, anyway.
How about you? As a parent, do unruly kids on planes drive you nuts? Or do you feel more sympathetic now?
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.