Walking down the plane aisle with a baby, you can actually SEE passengers tense up as you approach their row.
“Please, please, PLEASE don’t let them sit next to me,” they’re thinking. “Gimme the guy with onion ring breath. A woman who hogs the arm rest. The man with the ticking briefcase. Anybody but the people with the freakin’ baby!”
I know they’re thinking this. How? Because that’s what I used to think before having a baby.
Now I’m the woman sharing understanding glances with other parents on-board and flashing apologetic smiles at everybody else. An anticipatory apology, if you will, in the event that my child SCREAMS her head off during the flight. A distinct possibility of which everybody is acutely aware.
This was my experience during Miss Skye’s first flight out of LAX on Saturday. Excited to be en route to see our families, but nervous about traveling with a newborn, Mr. Candy and I slinked to our seats branded with a scarlet “B” for “Baby.”
All of my more experienced mommy friends had assured me that traveling with an 11-week-year old wasn’t the worst thing in the world. They eat, they sleep, they poop and, yes, they sometimes CRY. Toddlers, on the other hand, present a much more complicated set of challenges, as they apparently like to run up and down the aisles and spit in people’s side salads, storm the cockpit with their lightsabers and other things the FAA generally frowns upon. The only way that parents can persuade them to behave is by threatening to make them sit next to the SCREAMING BABY.
The one piece of advice that was dispensed repeatedly: Make sure the baby eats or uses a pacifier during take-off and landing to combat changes in air cabin pressure. The more she sucks, sucks, sucks the better! (That’s what he said.)
So frightened was I that Miss Skye would make a ruckus, that I decided to feed her as soon as the plane started taxiing. My nerves calmed down a bit as she cooperated, eating right on cue. Only the plane taxied… and taxied… and taxied… and… well, at one point I swear the plane took a detour through Phoenix and a few McDonald’s drive-thrus before returning to Los Angeles and finally deciding to take off. I looked down at Skylar, alarmed. I felt like my heart was going to pound right through my chest out of nervousness. Because she was no longer eating. She was sleeping contentedly.
DEAR GOD, SHE WAS SLEEPING CONTENTEDLY!
It was my worst nightmare: the content, sleeping baby during take-off. Nobody told me what to do in this god-awful situation. Do I wake her? Do I make her eat? Do I jam a pacifier in her mouth? Do I let her be and pray for the best? What do I do?!
I turned to Mr. Candy, panicked — only to see (and hear) that HE was snoring. Yes, he was sleeping through take-off, the most nerve-racking part of the flight with the baby! So I did what any loving wife would do — and hit him on the head with my Marie Claire.
“What am I supposed to do about THIS?!” I cried, pointing frustratedly at our happy, sleeping baby.
Mr. Candy looked at her. Then looked at me.
“I really don’t know,” he shrugged helpfully.
At that point, it was too late. We were way up in the air, at the point of no return. I let Skylar sleep. And held my breath…
She barely stirred.
Thankfully, Miss Skye was a rock star throughout both flights — we had a layover in Newark, fun! — sleeping through most of the plane rides AND through the night. We changed one diaper on the plane, right at our seats, by working on her together like a NASCAR pit-crew. One crew member held her. The other undressed and discarded. All in one-minute flat. We were elated; the day was a total success. UNTIL…
Continental Airlines left our luggage in Newark, forcing the three of us to wear our stinky clothes overnight and forgo little things like deodorant and teeth-brushing. *SIGH* Well, things couldn’t go THAT perfectly, now could they? Thank goodness my parents were too high on the sight of their granddaughter to notice the stench. (Or notice me at all, for that matter.)