This space is for friends, family and sworn enemies alike to bask in and reminisce about parenthood. Discussion is being led by a fellow who enjoys being a Dad but is very much still learning what the job entails.
Hopefully we can have some laughs along the way. If we don't, it's your fault.
Monday, July 7, 2014
Babies on Plane
On the list of top parenting nightmares, traveling with your
child might be the leader.
On this matter, Mrs. Blackwell and I have experienced both
the best and worst of possibilities.
We just experienced a “best” last weekend when we drove
about 420 miles north to our home in Madison, Wisconsin from Mrs. Blackwell’s
Pictured: the boy on our road trip.
I say this was a “best” scenario because we literally
couldn’t have asked for better behavior from the boy. While he didn’t nap (he
usually does for about 2-3 hours in the early afternoon) he did prove to be a
He spent much of his usual nap time sitting silently in his seat looking out
the window watching the rolling hills of the southern Midwest, give way to the
leafy green trees of the northern part of this region.
Mrs. Blackwell sat in the back seat to keep the little guy
company and he returned her gesture by giggling, chatting and, in general, being
really good company.
We were fortunate to have great traffic, which meant that
even my whining was kept to a minimum.
Now, let’s rewind back to last December for our worst-case
scenario. In this instance we were flying.
Here, I’ll ask you dear reader, what is the Number One
complaint about toddlers and infants on airplanes? “Crying,” you say? Well, I
think you’re right.
What might be the Number 2 complaint? How about a crying baby
vomiting a bottle’s worth of milk onto both his mother and father and filling
the cabin with the smell of regurgitated dairy?
Perhaps this didn’t crack your Top Two (maybe not even your
Top Ten) but I can assure you its status is cemented for Mrs. Blackwell and
The frustration for the boy began about the moment we sat
down in the plane for a two-hour trip. In spite of my fingers being firmly
crossed, the crying commenced. It was mind-piercing and inescapable. As any
parent who’s been in this situation will attest, there’s nothing you can do
except grin and attempt to bear it.
Snakes, babies, what's the difference?
Unless of course your baby will cease crying when you give
him or her a bottle. In this instance you give the kid a bottle. But, prepare
yourself for the distinct possibility that its contents will be making
an encore appearance.
And they did.
Thirty minutes into the flight, as my wife was holding the boy, he moved the bottle from his mouth and
proceeded to spew onto his mother’s lap. My initial reflex was to chuckle. My
second reflex was to assist my wife. So, with the half-digested milk pooling
in her lap, I gingerly grabbed the boy from his mother.
While I was trying to touch the boy with as few points of
contact as possible, he returned my effort by again upchucking, this time into
my lap. (Funny, but when it’s your lap that’s the target for the vomit, one’s
reflex isn’t to chuckle.)
Humbled, I grabbed an obscene amount of napkins and
attempted to mop up the mess.
Ninety minutes later when we departed the plane, my son was
wearing a T-shirt and no pants while my wife and I were wearing damp,
dairy-ridden outfits. It was a long walk through the terminal to the arrivals
gate and one that, in retrospect, I believe served as some sort of payment for
the tranquil drive we enjoyed last weekend.
The lesson in all this? I have no idea. Sometimes you get
lucky, sometimes you end up smelling horribly while parading your half-naked (and equally smelly) baby through an airport.